What is positive parenting?
It means building a balanced relationship with your child that allows him or her to acquire self-confidence, autonomy, a sense of responsibility and curiosity. The child will learn to talk about his emotions, to communicate respectfully and to recognise what others feel. This approach is also called benevolent education. It is neither authoritarianism nor laxity. It is an education based on understanding and respect for one's child.
Steps for managing a crisis:
1. Connecting with the child: being empathetic
At birth the child has a right and a left brain. The right brain controls emotions, the left brain controls reason, and this one is not yet mature at birth. This is why the child only functions with his emotions and can enter into "emotional storms". It is up to us to teach him to make his 2 brains work so that he can manage his emotions. Behind anger there is an unexpressed need. Find out what is the need behind his behaviour. The small child does not know how to manage his emotions and he does not know how to express his needs in simple words. Do not consider his behaviour as a whim; instead, listen to your child and try to understand what is going on in order to act calmly and sympathetically without entering into a power struggle. Use empathy to get your child's attention and then give them a message.
2. Set or recall the rule
• Explain to him that there are limits.
• The child needs a frame, it reassures him.
- The toddler's brain still misunderstands negation (ex: When he is told not to run, his attention is focused on the word run, which could encourage him to run). It is therefore preferable to tell him what he can do (ex: instead of saying: "Don't jump on the sofa", tell him: "On a sofa, you sit down").
- To empower your child and reduce his opposition, you can ask a question instead of giving an order. When your child is thinking, he feels big and responsible. He cooperates more
The child is encouraged to make a gesture of reparation. For young children we can off er them solutions. We involve and empower the child. The idea is that the child has the reflex to make reparations. Contrary to punishment, reparation shows the child acceptable behaviour (ex: If he spills his glass of milk, you can say "Oops, there's milk on the floor. What should you do when that happens? " you can then ask him to clean up with you).
Tip: Putting your energy into reinforcing your child's good behaviours instead of managing their disruptive behaviours can also be effective. It is a good idea to praise your child by describing what he is doing right.
But beware, positive parenting is not a miracle cure! With this approach, crises and conflicts diminish, but some remain. Parents must give themselves the right to make mistakes. It is normal to be irritable at times, to be tired of always repeating or to react strongly to your child's behaviour. Even if you are not always 100% positive parenting, that doesn't make you a bad parent. The important thing is to trust yourself and do your best. If you ever yell at your child, you can tell him that you shouldn't have and that you're sorry. This way you show your child that you recognise your mistakes and you become a good role model.
- Positive parenting invites parents to put themselves in the child's shoes to better understand the child.
- This approach leads the parent to educate the toddler by guiding rather than controlling him.
- Positive parenting practices encourage reparation and cooperation rather than punishment.
Source : Naître et grandir magazine, March 2018
Research and writing: Nathalie Vallerand, Scientific
Review: Annie Goulet, psychologist