Positive Parenting: Parenting Hack #1
You might be wondering what I mean by positive parenting and I’ll get into that in a little bit here, but I wanted to give you a little backstory on how I landed on this method of parenting.
As if parenting two growing boys isn’t difficult enough, my oldest son has been diagnosed with ADHD and IED. IED is also known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
This has been a long, hard battle for us. Filled with plenty of parenting mistakes on our part.
IED is marked by unprovoked explosions of anger or rage. Which in our son has manifested as extreme tantrums and sometimes self-destructive behaviors.
In our search for the “solution” I have tried many parenting methods. Ranging from blatantly ignoring the outburst, to time-outs and punishments galore.
None of which have worked, at least not for the long-term. After years of working with different professionals at differing degrees, we have landed on a method of parenting called positive parenting.
Why Positive Parenting?
A little low-down on positive parenting. Positive parenting does not take away from the discipline in your parent-child relationships. This method will be highlighting the positive moments in your child’s day to day life.
I heard something on a podcast earlier today that really resonated with me. In an episode of Therapist Uncensored, called Helping the Intense Child, the woman spoke of how we react individually to different methods of connection or human intimacy.
Some children will view any reaction as positive reinforcement, not intentionally of course, but even negative energy directed toward them will be rewarding.
Some children crave the loud and clear attention they receive, which is often found in our negative interactions as parents. While we’re navigating this difficult path, most of us tend to have big reactions to the negative moments.
Take for example, your toddler walks right up to the lit burner on your stovetop and begins to reach their hand up toward the brightly colored flame with intrigue. You jump up and shout to distract them and remove them from harm.
*Click* Got mom’s attention.
Not that you’re ignoring the child at that moment, but we tend to leave our children be when they’re in a peaceful or concentrated state. Either building with their legos or drawing. We watch intently in amazement at the little creature we brought into this world. But that moment isn’t filled with loud and clear attention. It’s silent, reserved attention.
Some children need to feel attention in a more loud and clear manner. For some children that in turn becomes frequent “misbehavior” in order to receive the strong emotion that follows.
When we take away the negative reactions, we’re left with only the positive. In turn, reinforcing the fact that the best way for a child to get our attention is to do so in a more positive manner.
Positive parenting has a similar approach to the Nurtured Heart Approach mentioned in the podcast.
First Step: Remove the strong emotion when reacting to negative behaviors.
Second Step: Enforce strong positive emotion when your child does something right, or as expected.
Third Step: Set aside quality time with your child where you bring up the positive qualities they have.
This is going to take some time to accomplish and become good at. Be careful not to overemphasize though. Your child will start to view the positive reactions as less genuine. What you’re really looking to do is create authentic, positive reactions to your child’s positive behaviors and qualities.
After you have begun using the positive parenting method for some time you should start seeing amazing results.
Don’t hold back once you get the results you’re looking for though! Positive parenting should be a lifelong task to form a great relationship with your kids.
In my experience, after years of trying different methods, is that this is the only way to go!
I have since seen wonderful results with my son. He no longer gets the fight back when he starts to throw a fit. There is no screaming match. And there is no lasting tantrum.
I have seen improved behavior at home, he now does his chores regularly. With no fight or tantrum.
Don’t expect the system to be perfect though. Your child will slip up. There may be some regression. But hold true to the method and soon you’ll see the benefit as well.
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