When I created the event #PositiveParentingDay I wasn't sure what my blogging contribution would be. I thought about it for all week, and yet here I am at almost midnight with no real solid direction to go in.
At first I thought I could site studies that might prove positive parenting is effective, but I felt that might be boring to read, and in a way talking over most parents. I don't know that a lot of us know when a new study is really true, or if it's just science persuaded to support a pre-established ideal. I find most of the people that argue for aversive punishments to discipline children find comfort in doing what they know, and distrustful of new concepts that don't match what they know. So, the idea of quoting experts, and doctors wasn't appealing to me.
Then, I thought that maybe I might find some good quality sites to share about positive parenting. I thought that maybe that might help people who are unfamiliar with positive parenting know what it is, and what it isn't. I couldn't think of a way to make this entertaining, and not just a big info dump. The whole purpose of #PositiveParentingDay is to introduce parents to a different style of parenting that they may not know about, but I didn't want to do this by simply sharing links.
In the end, I have decided to just simply write about what positive parenting means to me, and why I choose to use it with my kids.
Positive parenting isn't a fancy method that I read about somewhere, or heard about on an afternoon talk show. It isn't the way I was raised, and it isn't the same exact thing other parents who use positive parenting. To me positive parenting describes where I am at as a parent of 3 very different kids. The way I have arrived where I am on this journey going on 17 years now is unique,
and so is every parent's way of interacting with their children. The journey, as well as the destination is very individual, and always evolving as the parent to child relationship changes. I have grown, and learned as a mother in the last 17 years. I started out at a different place than where I am now in relation to how I view discipline. I have made mistakes, but the one thing that makes the biggest difference in my children's well being isn't how stellar of a mother I am, but that I always make an effort to notice, and correct mistakes that I make. If what I am doing doesn't seem to be working I try to notice, and change my approach quickly. I don't try to bend my kids to fit my agenda, but rather I try to see the world through their eyes, and meet their needs. It's my job as a mother to put their needs first.
Positive parenting is, in my opinion, just that. Extending our hearts in empathy to meet our kid's needs as best we can. This doesn't mean they always get what they want, or they never get told no. It means explaining the world to them, and letting them be involved in making their own decisions, within reason. I want to be their guide, not their dictator. I want to help them discover their strengths, and mitigate their weaknesses. I see their behavior as a form of communicating to me what they don't have the words to say.
Most of all I want to teach them trust, and respect. I know a lot of parents that think by spanking their children, or humiliating them publicly that the child will be hurt enough in a controlled way to keep them from being hurt by others in a big way. I am not certain that spankings, and time outs really work, but even if they prove to be effective for some kids there are other ways to achieve the same results while still teaching children autonomy. When someone hurts them I want them to see that as not okay. I don't want them to ever confuse pain, and love, as if one has to exist with the other. I want them to trust their own instincts when they think something is wrong in a relationship, and feel confident to respond to it.
It's my job to bring them up, not to tear them down. By giving them the emotional stability, and reasoning ability to work out situations in a calm, fair way I find that they are growing up to be great kids, who will be kind, giving, responsible, and conscientious adults. Positive Parenting is, in effect, just a way to teach kids to trust, govern, and rationalize their own bodies, as well as problem solve. There is no force, but there a lot of guidance, and love.
Check out these wonderful contributions to #PositiveParentingDay:
The Ultimate Goals of Positive Parenting- One Quarter Mama
POSITIVE PARENTING: FUN- Full Spectrum Mama
10 Questions About Peaceful Parenting- Suburban Mamma
Positive Parenting Day #PositiveParentingDay- Mind Retrofit