Positive Parenting

Posted on November 11, 2013

Positive parenting is a parenting strategy that targets encouraging and building good behaviors by being involved in children’s and teens’ lives. Though positive parenting can’t solve every problem with a troubled teen, it may be able to offset some of the negative factors in a teen’s life and help parents intervene when their teen has a problem.

Positive parenting is about being involved in teen’s lives and encouraging their positive traits while giving them room to grow and helping them develop the self-discipline to avoid negative behaviors. Some of the general principles include:

 

  • Tell your teen you love them and find something positive to say about them every day. Teens respond better to positive statements than negative ones, and most teens will start to act more positively if their parents focus on the positive.
  • Talk to teens every day about things that are going on in their lives. Don’t interrogate your troubled teen, but have a conversation with him or her. Allow teens to have their own opinions, but tell them if you are troubled about something.
  • Talk to teens directly about sensitive matters like sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence in the media, depression, and suicide. Tell teens what your values and concerns are about these topics, and ask them if they have any questions. Teens listen to their parents’ opinions when making choices, and should feel like they can talk to their parents if they have a question or concern.
  • Set rules that are clear and consistent and establish fair consequences for breaking the rules, like losing driving privileges for a week if the teen breaks curfew. Be consistent in enforcing the consequences when teens break the rules. Avoid using sharp verbal or physical punishments as consequences. Explain the logic for your rules, and let teens help come up with the rules and consequences.
  • When correcting negative behavior, don’t criticize or belittle your teen. Instead, focus on what the problem is and why you are concerned about it, and involve the teen in finding a solution.
  • Try to eat at least one meal together as a family without the TV or other media. This encourages families to talk and to develop healthier eating habits, and has been shown to reduce negative behaviors in teens.
  • Try to have realistic expectations; not every teen gets straight A’s or excels at sports. Focus on respecting the person your teen is and helping them appreciate their own good qualities as well.
  • Give teens reasonable responsibilities around the house so they feel involved with the family and have a sense of responsibility.
  • Don’t point out parallels between your teen and anyone else, especially not siblings.
  • Set a good example of the kind of behavior you expect from your struggling teen, including getting help if there’s a problem you can’t handle on your own.

 

Remember that even with positive parenting techniques, teens may still make choices their parents don’t like, and some parents may still need outside help from professionals to deal with teens’ problems. By using positive parenting, however, parents can have more impact on the choices their teens make, and may be better able to cite problems that their teens need help with.

Adapted from:

Nemours Foundation, KidsHealth, Positive Parenting, “9 Steps to More Effective Parenting”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Child Development, “Positive Parenting Tips”

Written by:  Rebecca Pavlik-Heger, LMHC, LCAC

Rebecca Pavlik-Heger is a Mental Health Counselor in Indianapolis specializing in Teen Issues and Career Counseling.

 

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==