Positive Parenting: What Is It And How To Make It Work

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Imagine your teen sneaks out of the house after you sleep in the night. When you come to know of it, you seethe with anger and helplessness because your child has begun hiding things from you.

In such a situation, it is difficult to think objectively but if you succeed in doing that, then it becomes much easier to deal with your teenaged child. Doesn’t it sound so very positive?

Positive parenting (PP) is all about that. MomJunction tells you how you can implement PP for your teenager and ways it can benefit you.

What Is Positive Parenting?

Positive parenting is a style that focuses on building a healthy parent-child relationship based on communication, discipline, respect, and love.

It is a belief that children should be treated with respect, nurtured and guided with love while providing them with an environment that is free of fear and violence. In simpler terms, PP calls for loving guidance, positive discipline, and reasonable limits.

Adolescence is the most turbulent phase of a child’s life. They go through several physical and emotional changes. They change their perspective on life and begin to understand things that were hitherto incomprehensible. Teenager’s body tends to develop faster than their brain, particularly the high brain functions, like decision-making. Proactive guidance and support is also part of positive parenting.

As a parent, you need to revisit your parenting techniques and see if they require any changes.

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How To Make Positive Parenting Work For Teenagers?

If you have been following PP since your child’s younger years, then you may continue with it. If you haven’t been doing it, then it’s time to introduce now.

Here is how you can make positive parenting work:

1. Communicate openly:

Teenage is a delicate time when your child becomes vulnerable to peer-pressure. They might get tempted to imitate their friends and take up new habits. For obvious reasons, this will be kept a secret from you.

[ Read: Negative And Positive Parenting ]

Therefore, you need to take the initiative to discuss such matters with your child. Talk to them about having sexual relationships, drug abuse, alcoholism and the importance of having a goal in life.

Some topics might make you as well as the child uncomfortable. Make them feel comfortable with your tone, body language, and timing. Try to work on your own comfort levels. It is okay to let teens know that this is also an uncomfortable topic for you, but that you are willing to push through the discomfort as it is an important thing to talk about. Maintain eye contact while you talk, maintain a positive tone, and choose a good time to talk.

Remember, communication is the basis to maintain a healthy relationship with your teenager.

2. Balance your role as a parent and a friend:

Make your teenager realize that you love them, and you are there for them no matter what the problem is. Make them see a friend in you, have fun with them, go out on holidays together or party together.

But at the same time, make sure they respect and listen to you. Do not hesitate to be stern with them, when required.

3. Spend time with them every day:

You might be busy with work, and your teenager with their school and friends. But that shouldn’t stop you from interacting with each other every day. Make it a rule that you have at least one meal in a day together.

Ask them how their day was, or what plans they have for the day. Ask them about what was good or positive in their day, as well as what may not have been so great. Tell them how your day has been. Have a weekly routine such as going out for a movie or playing a sport.

4. Give them freedom:

This is one of the most important things they crave for. Teenagers love freedom and hate intrusion. They may make you feel they do not want you anymore, but don’t take it seriously because you know they need you.

Allow them to spend time with their friends, and pursue a hobby of their choice. But make sure you know what they are doing and how they are using their freedom. Remind them that their freedom is a privilege that comes with responsibility, such as letting you know their plans and calling/texting when plans change.

5. Listen, understand, empathize but don’t judge:

Listen to your child when they share something with you. When you listen to them, they are likely to open up and share their issues. Assure them that you can help them resolve the matter but resist from criticizing or judging your child. Listening without judging makes it safe for your teen to talk about the uncomfortable things.

6. Don’t show your authority:

The more you control your teenager, the more they rebel. Don’t make them feel that they should listen to you because you are their parent. Let them explore life, and learn lessons. But know about their friends and their parents, the activities they are into and stop your teenager if they are deviating from the right path.

7. Believe in your child:

Each child is bestowed with some talent. Observe your child’s talents, and encourage them to do well in their field.

Don’t belittle them by comparing them with others or criticizing them. Don’t force them to achieve the goals you have set for them. But make sure they are having an aim in life and are focused on it.

[ Read: Authoritative Parenting Style ]

8. Be an example:

If you want your child to be in a certain way, you need to be an example for them. If you want your teenager to keep away from smoking, then you should stop doing it, at least in front of them. Your teenager can be honest with you only if you are truthful with them.

9. Focus on their health:

Provide your teenager with a balanced and healthy diet. Let your teen get good sleep, and be physically active. Don’t allow them too much screen time and discourage late night outings.

10. Monitor their online activities:

If your teen is using the internet, monitor and track what they are using it for. Keep an eye on their social media interactions, their online friends and the groups they follow. Give them privacy but hold the strings in your hands.

11. Set rules and consequences:

Giving freedom doesn’t mean that you lift all the rules. But yes, you need to revise the existing ones to suit your teenager. Also, set some consequences that are in sync with their age.

For instance, if your teenager goes out without your permission, cut down on his pocket money (consequence).

Points to remember while setting consequences:

  • Avoid threatening or giving ultimatums; your teen may take them as a challenge.
  • Be straight, firm, and clear; instead of simply telling them not to stay late, specify a time limit.
  • Enforce the consequences immediately. While enforcing them, make sure you correct the behavior and not your child.
  • Have clear-cut consequences so that your child knows what’s in store if they break a rule.
  • Ask your teenager what consequences they would give themselves. Often they give themselves reasonable consequences for their actions. It also helps them to own their actions and be responsible.

12. Do not be rigid with rules:

Before finalizing the rules, have a discussion with your child. Take their view, and consider their opinion. This makes your teen bind to the rules. When they understand the purpose, they are likely to comply with the rules.

Also, allow some flexibility. When your teen behaves responsibly, give them freedom. On the other hand, if they are irresponsible, restrict their freedom.

It isn’t easy to keep your cool and deal with the mood-swings of a teenager. But if you succeed in doing that, you will see how beneficial it is for the child and you as well.

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[ Read: Uninvolved Parenting Effects On Children ]

Benefits Of Positive Parenting For Teenagers

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When positive parenting becomes a way of living from early years, here is how it can help you and your child (1):

  1. Strong bonding: Positive parenting focuses on recognizing positive behavior rather than criticizing the negative one. When you reward positive behavior in your child through love, guidance and appreciation, it encourages them to do better. When you focus more on the positive, you tend to get more positive behaviors from your teen.
  1. Secure attachment: When you are protective of your child and reassure that you are there for them anytime they need you, you make them feel secure. This attachment promotes healthy development. It builds resilience in your child and makes them confident.
  1. Builds forever-lasting trust: When you allow your child to follow their dreams and give them the freedom to pursue their interests, your child trusts you for life, and appreciates you for whatever you have done for them.
  1. Feels free to talk to you: When you are open in your communication, it reassures your child that they can talk to you about their problems. They are likely to share their concerns and issues with you.
  1. Emotionally healthy: Kids of parents, who are open in their approach, are emotionally healthy; they develop the ability to regulate their emotions. They are good at problem-solving and go on to have successful relationships.
  1. Academic success and life skills: Kids with positive self-esteem do well in school. A healthy parent-child relationship also contributes to academic success and teaches important life skills. On the contrary, a poor parent-child relationship is linked with problem behavior and substance abuse in teens.
  1. Responsible: With freedom comes responsibility. When you allow freedom to your child, you also make them responsible not to misuse it.
  1. Reduces power struggles: Strict disciplining can make children rigid and disobey the parents. PP sets limits while being empathetic with the child. That helps the child to obey the parent without feeling controlled.
  1. Personality development: The crux of PP is to let the child excel. They are motivated to do well as they know that their accomplishments are rewarded. Such children are self-motivated. They are driven to perform well and develop their personality in the process. Positive parenting reinforces positive behavior through rewards or praises.

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[ Read: Holistic Parenting Tips ]

It pays to be patient with your teenager, understand their behavior and play along. If the going gets tough, just go back to your teenage days and take cues from your own experiences. Be friendly with your child, give them freedom but make sure they stick to the right path and follow the house rules.

Do you have an experience to share? Let us know in the comment section.

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