05 Jun Positive Parenting
We realise how difficult raising a rebellious teen can be, and how tempting it is to react negatively towards consistently negative behaviour. However, it is important that your child – or grandchild – sees you as a source of consistent support and encouragement in their life, and that often begins with learning to incorporate the most valuable aspects of positive parenting into your daily routine.
While each relationship comes with its own strains and unique needs, the following positive parenting techniques may help you communicate with your child or grandchild in a more beneficial way overall. Positive parenting not only helps you and your child but also assists in their relationships with other adults in the process.
Be the Example
When kids don’t receive positive attention from their parents and caretakers, they often start seeking negative attention instead. Think about how your child may describe you to their friends, teachers and even other family members. Would they say you are overly critical and mean? Would they say you are always arguing, stressed out, or simply don’t have enough time to spend with them so they’re unsure?
If so, remember that you are often who they look to the most for an example of positive behaviour, so learning to adapt your behaviour to be more optimistic, even when describing simple things like your day or what you’re making for dinner, is key. We all have our off days, but if you find that you are consistently angry and resentful, remember that that behaviour may be rubbing off on your child and partner as well.
Allow them to Express a Range of Emotions
As easy as it would be to ask the simple questions in hopes of a “good” or “fine” response, your child needs to know that it is also okay to speak to you about the times they are feeling inadequate, depressed, confused, upset or irritated. Allow your child to expand their emotional intelligence by speaking with you openly about both their positive and negative emotions and help them feel listened to.
Instead of opening up opportunities for them to say “no,” try forming your requests into options. Continually saying no is not only exhausting for you, but often makes your child resent you in the process. Come up with clear guidelines when it comes to common tasks like driving, cooking, laundry and homework, but offer options for tasks that don’t need to be so regimented. Set the rules early so you reduce the word “no” in your vocabulary and theirs.
Everyone has bad days, so don’t generalise one negative behaviour, response, action or outburst as a consistent pattern. This goes for parents as well. We all wish we could take back the times we overreacted or reacted poorly to a situation, but remember to be easy on yourself, and your child as well, for minor slip-ups and mistakes that have no effect on tomorrow or the next week. Learn from it and move on.
Parents often assume that teenagers want and need to be left alone the majority of the time, but that is not necessarily true. Respect their privacy but invest plenty of time into learning who they are, how they react in certain situations and around certain individuals, and always make an effort to be consistent in your messaging. By asking them questions that go beyond “how was your day?” or “did you have fun at school?” you can begin learning more about them as individuals and offering the kind of personalised attention they’re seeking.
Talk with them about current events and news stories, and particularly things that they have already shown an interest in, whether it’s the latest tech gadget, sports game or band coming to town. Remind them to show empathy towards those who are less fortunate and they may learn to be an example of positivity for someone they know personally – or don’t – as well.
For more information on positive parenting, get in touch with us today to discuss how you may benefit from our Parental Guidance Workshops