Being a parent is the most wonderful thing in the world. It certainly isn’t the easiest job but can be a very positive experience. We all need a little bit of support in our lives and some of us are more open to asking for that support than others. Nobody hands us a book of instruction when we have our babies but if you buy an item e.g. Flat-pack furniture in a shop it usually comes with an instruction book. Most of us follow those instructions and the final product turns out ok but what happens if we don’t bother we usually end up getting cross and giving out about ‘the silly thing’. What do we do then we READ the instructions.
Children are not born ‘good or bad’, they develop a range of behaviours. If a child is encouraged, guided, praised and rewarded for ‘good behaviours then we’ll see less of the ‘bad behaviours’. Children are children, not miniature adults and they think differently, understand things differently and need simple, easy and clear commands (instructions) and be encouraged and praised at every opportunity available to us.
For us as adults to use positive parenting in our everyday lives we need to follow some simple, easy steps and we need to be consistent when we decide to use them. Consistency is vital when using positive parenting skills. If we try something new with our child and it doesn’t work first or second time we need to keep working at it. We need to use praise, rewards and positive communication. Most of us only see the ‘bad behaviour’ and give the child negative attention for that behaviour when what we need to do is look out for the ‘good behaviours’(catching the child being good) and praise and reward the child accordingly.
We need to set good example to our children as children will model (copy) what they see. If we are shouting at our child well then the child will shout back at us. And nobody likes to be shouted at.
Staying calm can help us to stay in control and as parents we need to be in control as we are the adults. We need to set limits, have boundaries, rules and routines in our daily lives. Every where we and our children go will have these in place so we are preparing them for life in doing so.
Positive reinforcement works, and also helps foster independence, life skills and self-esteem. Isn’t this what we want for our children, for them to turn into independent adults with life skills and good self-esteem?
As they say ‘prevention is better then the cure’ and if we use positive parenting then we will see more of the ‘good’ behaviours in our children.
Provided by Liz Dunworth Coordinator Community Mothers Programme, Limerick Social Service Council.