A WAY TO ENABLE HOLISTIC CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Someone has rightly said: To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.
As a parent, you are bound to see changes in your child at different developmental stages of their life. Despite your good intentions of nurturing, caring and protecting your child, contextual transformations and various other factors can pose a challenge to the smooth transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. It is common for both: parents and children to be confused and frustrated at various points in time.
In the case of young children, issues can arise with picky eating, bedtime arguments, tantrums and risk-taking behaviors. For adolescents (age 10-19 years), there could be issues like being irresponsible, disrespectful, etc.
The solution for overcoming rifts between the parent-child relationship is to be well aware about your child’s development, to be equipped with positive parenting strategies and to practice these techniques for a healthy upbringing of children.
With its focus on the well-being of both: parents and children, positive parenting ensures effective parenting that results in resilient and positive child/youth development.
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
Positive parenting, a set of parenting techniques based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs is the continual relationship of a parent(s) and a child or children that includes caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally. (Seay et al., 2014, p. 207)
By constantly nurturing, empowering and encouraging the child, parents would be instrumental in recognizing their child’s achievements and would be better able to guide them in the future by setting mutually-acceptable boundaries to enable holistic development. This kind of parenting that leverages the positive points of behavior is based on the idea that there are no bad children, just good and bad behaviours. It involves positive reinforcement such as complimenting and motivating children after having accomplished a feat, and positive punishment that requires them to clean up a mess they made on their own.
Positive parenting is all about guiding, leading, empowering children. It is also about providing emotional security, warmth and unconditional love in a consistent way, with a focus on being verbally and physically non-violent.
Besides having regular, open communication with the child, it maintains a fine balance between parental permissiveness and setting of boundaries. By respecting the child’s developmental stage, it is also about being empathetic to the child’s feelings and supporting him/her in every endeavour. This would maintain a healthy parent-child relationship and would have multiple positive effects on the child’s intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships.
There are several ways in which positive parenting promotes a child’s pro-social development. It has major impact on the child’s temperament by enhancing emotion regulation. The ways in which positive parenting encourages a child’s positive development and self-growth are profound:
1. Teaching and leading promotes a child’s confidence and provides them with the tools needed to make good choices.
2. Positive communication at home encourages a child’s problem-solving skills outside the home while simultaneously enhancing relationship quality.
3. Autonomy-styled parenting supports creativity in a child, leading to self-determination.
4. Optimistic parenting fosters children’s belief in themselves and in the future.
5. Providing recognition regularly increases a child’s self-efficacy.
6. Laying boundaries and consequences teaches children accountability and responsibility.
• Supporting exploration by the child
• Involvement in decision-making
• Paying attention and responding to a child’s needs
• Rewarding and encouraging positive behaviors
• Providing clear rules and expectations
• Acting as a positive role model
Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.
-W.E.B. Du Bois
An example of positive parenting could be handling a child who throws a tantrum in the right way. Instead of tempting the child with a candy bar that could only provide temporary respite, a parent could find a long-term solution to the problem with time-outs and effective communication with the child.
Explaining that throwing a tantrum is not an ideal way to behave and a gentle firmness to give in to the tantrum helps in preventing this behavior by the child in the future.
Hence, being mindful of situations surrounding a child’s life and acting appropriately, in other words, practicing positive parenting goes a long way in the life of the parent and the child and would be something that the child today would want to reproduce and practice in the future as a parent!