What is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting emphasizes the communication of clear expectations, collaboration between a parent and their teen, praise and reinforcement for desired behaviors, and the avoidance of harsh consequences. It is an approach that treats kids respectfully, tends to focus on the good in a child, avoids the use of bribes or yelling, and usually builds closer relationships within the family. Researchers have found that children whose parents used positive parenting techniques were more likely to have close relationships with their peers, be more engaged in school, and have better self-esteem.
Positive Parenting Tips
The Centers for Disease Control have released a series of tips for positive parenting adolescents. Here are some examples from their list:
- Trust is important for teenagers. Even as he or she develops independence, your teen will need to know he or she can depend on your support, reliability and honesty.
- Meal time is very important for families. Eating together helps teenagers make better choices about the foods they eat, promotes healthy weight, and gives your family time to talk to each other. In addition, a teenager who eats meals with the family is more likely to have better grades and less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs.
- Increase their privileges and responsibilities. Teens are ready for more independence, and parents of teens should be looking for opportunities to give more responsibility and decision-making opportunities. You should still monitor their activities and be available for help, but you will avoid many power struggles if you let go a bit.
- Stay involved in your teen’s life, even if they act as though they don’t want you to. Meet and get to know your teenager’s friends. Show an interest in your teenager’s school life and extracurricular activities.
- Respect your teenager’s opinions and take into account his or her thoughts and feelings. It is important that your teen knows you are listening to him or her. Listen more than speak.
- Compliment your teenager and celebrate his or her efforts and accomplishments.
- Show affection for your teenager.
- Request your teen’s cooperation, as opposed to bossing them around. Try to offer choices and avoid telling them how to do things.
- Establish dependable together time. You should be connecting every day even if it’s just a short check-in. You should also have weekly special time doing things together you both enjoy.
- Encourage your teenager to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in the community.
- Encourage your teenager to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Be available for advice and support, but allow your teen to use their own judgment.
- Respect your teen’s need for privacy.
Not all of these suggestions will work for every teen or fit with every family, and certainly some are easier to implement than others. Maybe you can find one tip that you feel comfortable working on, and with that small step, see an improvement in your interactions with your teen.