I have found that parenting my daughter and my son are like night and day. What worked with my daughter when she was younger does not work with my son. I’m having to adjust my parenting strategies to meet his needs and determine what he responds to. The lesson here is every child is different, and their needs and how they respond to you will change over time. As a result, we must learn to adapt and adjust our parenting strategies and responses as well. In this post, I will share the top positive parenting strategies you can use with your children, starting today!
The Parenting Handbook: Change The Way You Parent With These Top Strategies
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Strategies for Developing Positive Relationships
The first and most important parenting strategy is healthy and open communication. It is key to having a positive relationship with your children. Here are some strategies you can use to encourage more meaningful conversations.
Communicate on Their Level
Connect with your child through age appropriate play, learning activities, games, or by teaching them something new. Quality time spent together helps strengthen your bond and opens the door to honest communication
Make One on One Time a Priority
If you have more than one child, it can be difficult to get uninterrupted time with each of your children. But I believe it is an essential part of creating positive relationships. Find a hobby you can enjoy together, go for a walk, go out for lunch. Anything that allows you to spend quality one on one time with each of your children. You can discover so much about their personality, strengths, and have genuine, thoughtful conversations about what is going on in their lives.
Get Involved in Their Life
I know we are all busy, but we must find ways to stay connected in our children’s lives. We should have regular conversations about what is happening during their days. We should be regularly communicating with their teachers and coaches, volunteering at their schools or coaching their team. What kind of friends do they have? Have them over to your home regularly to see what kind of influence they are. As our children get older, they may resent this level of involvement, but it is necessary to keep them on track and out of trouble.
Have Fun Together
We all want our children’s respect, but we must also have times when we can be silly and just have fun together. My dad always joked around with us and it’s those times I remember most fondly. So be sure to have fun with your kids and make memories they can look back on with a smile.
Our children need to know they can rely on us. If you say you will do something, do it. If your child tells you something in confidence, respect that (unless someone else is in danger). When they make a bad decision, they must face the consequences and take responsibility yes, but they also need support and love from us, no matter what. Let them know everyone makes mistakes, maybe even admit a few of your own, if age appropriate. If our children know they can trust us, they are more likely to confide in us.
Our children will face difficult situations from time to time, especially as they get older. It is during these times they will need our guidance and direction most. If they handle a situation poorly, discuss with them ways they could handle it differently next time. The key is giving them the wisdom and tools they need to handle future situations appropriately on their own.
Have Regular, Relaxed Conversations
Children, especially adolescents and teens, are more likely to open up in a relaxed environment. Try talking with them while riding in the car, cooking together, or taking a walk. It will also spark more conversation if you open up about yourself: your hobbies, interests, fond memories of your childhood, anything relevant to the conversation.
Listen Without Distractions
When our children are trying to have a conversation with us, we must do our best to listen without distractions. They need to know that we really hear them and care about what they have to say. If we are always half-listening, there will come a time when they no longer try to talk with us. Even if it doesn’t seem very important to us, what they are saying is important to them. Remove any distractions, look them in the eyes, and really listen
Include Your Children in Making Decisions
Allowing children to be part of the decision-making process will increase their confidence and encourage independence. Younger children can weigh in on smaller decisions, like choosing what outfit to wear or what to have for dinner. Involve older children in more important family matters to show you respect their opinions.
Encourage Your Children to Face Challenges and Find Independence
When we have strong parent/child relationships, our children will feel empowered to face any new challenge that comes their way. When we show our support, we are pushing them to become more self-sufficient over time. This may translate into allowing your teenager to handle their own laundry or cook some family meals to ready them for college life. Or empowering your child to stand up to bullies. Empowerment happens through gradual instruction. Teach your child how to take on more demanding chores or tasks. Role-play with them through stressful social situations. Then, give them feedback to encourage future progress.
Revise Rules and Consequences When Needed
Rules and consequences should change as children get older. Children should gradually be given more freedoms, yet understand that increased privileges come with increased responsibility. They must also understand that increased responsibility leads to more significant consequences when rules are broken. Every child is different and can handle more freedoms at different stages in their life. Use your own discretion and decide when this is best for your child.
More Positive Parenting Strategies
Although effective communication is key for a positive relationship with your children, how you react and respond is also important. Here are some additional strategies for teaching positive behaviors and building trust.
Parenting Strategies for the First 3 Years
- Learn your child’s signals and respond to the need accordingly.
- Give love and comfort by talking, soothing, and cuddling your child often.
- Communicate by talking, singing, and responding in conversation to their noises.
- Baby proof your home for safe exploration.
- Teach your child how to say the different things they point to or pick up.
- Teach them through sensory play and using their senses.
- Encourage Independence by giving just enough help so that they succeed.
- Help your child put their feelings into words.
- Encourage exploration and pretend play.
- Teach social skills, problem solving skills and redirect behaviors when necessary.
- Offer opportunities for your child to play with other children.
- Teach through age appropriate learning activities, crafts, and educational toys.
Positive Parenting Strategies for All Ages
If your children are older, here are some parenting strategies you can use with your kids, no matter what age they are.
- Model the behavior you want to see.
- You can never be too loving.
- Be there for your children; be involved in their life.
- Use parenting strategies that best fit your child’s personality. Be flexible and willing to change if your methods are not working and as your child learns and grows.
- Have set rules and consequences and explain why these rules are important.
- Be consistent with your expectations
- Show respect to your children by speaking kindly, valuing their opinions, and actively listening while they are talking.
- It is important that your child feels safe to express their thoughts and how they are feeling. Teach them how to express their emotions in healthy ways, and that they should never hold big feelings inside.
- Encourage Independence by allowing your child opportunities to do things for themselves whenever possible.
- When your child makes a mistake, use it as a learning experience and teach them what they should have done or how they should have responded. Be sure they understand that everyone makes mistakes and that its OK, but that they also learn something in the process.
If you would like some additional information about parenting, I encourage you to check out these excellent resources. Just click on the image.
What works for one child, may not necessarily work for another. I encourage you to choose the strategies that will work best with your child’s personality, and your own. If you try something that does not work, don’t be discouraged! Continue to adapt your parenting approach and you WILL find what is best for you and your children.
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If you missed the first three posts in this series, you can read them here:
You can also view this post for positive discipline techniques: The Discipline Techniques That Really Work.
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