Positive Parenting

Positive parenting is a set of approaches, supported by research, that can help your child’s emotional, behavioral, cognitive and social development. While parenting styles differ, the following positive parenting strategies can work well for all families:

  • Being Consistent

    • Being emotionally consistent means purposely choosing how you are going to engage with or respond to your child, and not varying with that choice over time. (For example, choosing to consistently respond in a calm manner when your child is crying).

    • Inconsistency can be confusing for a child. If one day mother puts her child in time out for something the child does, but the next day the mother tolerates it, the child learns that adult responses are not predictable. Inconsistency can result in negative behaviors such as aggression, hostility, complacency, passivity as well as anxiety.
  • Showing Warmth & Sensitivity

    • Parental warmth means acting with love, affection and approval toward your child. It means genuinely enjoying interacting with your child. You can express warmth without words, such as through holding your younger child, hugs and holding hands. You can show warmth using your words by telling children that you love them or by laughing together.

      Parental sensitivity means recognizing each child is different and taking the time to notice, understand, and respond to a child’s words and actions in ways that are best for your child. It means understanding a child’s needs by considering their child’s developmental level and temperament. Parents express sensitivity by using eye contact, being positive, and using good volume and tone when speaking to their child. A parent will allow their child with sensory sensitivity to wear his favorite shorts two days in a row.

  • Sharing Books & Talking with Children

    • Reading to your child promotes healthy development. Children that are read to more often have improved language and listening skills, and experience stronger emotional connections to their loved ones.

  • Encouraging Positive Behaviors

      When parents manage their child’s behavior in a positive way, they clearly communicate what behaviors are appropriate and which ones are inappropriate, and what the incentives for positive behavior are and the consequences for inappropriate behavior are. Managing behaviors in a positive way does not entail using yelling, corporal punishment like spanking, or using threats or bribes.

      Examples of encouraging positive behaviors include:

      • Redirection: Young children have short attention spans, and typically, it isn’t too difficult to redirect them to another activity when they’re acting out. When trying to divert their attention, introduce another toy or activity, and if that doesn’t work, try taking them to another room or go outside to divert their attention.
      • Positive Reinforcement: Give attention to your child’s positive behavior! Your attention and praise are rewarding and make it more likely that your child will repeat these behaviors in the future. If your child shares with others, tell them how nice it was that they shared. If your child helps you clean up, let them know what a super helper they are.