3 Examples of Positive Parenting in Practice

3 Examples of Positive Parenting in Practice

Positive Parenting tools can help you prevent power struggles and encourage your child to be cooperative.

Do you like the idea of positive parenting but not sure how to put into practice in every day interactions?  Like  most families, in my home there are moments that are challenging. Sometimes downright difficult because what my children want, and I what I expect are not necessarily in sync. Sticking to a connection based approach to discipline, I am often able to defer  power struggles, nagging and meltdowns and restore peace – so here are three examples from my daily life with kids as I practice positive parenting:

Power Struggle vs. Encouraging Capability

#1 The Case of I don’t wanna
One morning, my six year old kept asking when breakfast was going to be ready. He didn’t want to set the napkins on the table ( this is his job-every morning). I empathized tough I was really hungry and getting annoyed. Honestly I was thinking “it’s just napkins, why will you not  set them..ugh!”  Instead of saying what I was thinking, I took a breath and  said: “You don’t feel like doing napkins this morning, I get it…uhm…”
I decide to give him two choices: “You can set the napkins while I get the fruit washed or we can swap jobs for today.”
His answer “nope, not doing anything today”
I say: Everyone has a job at breakfast time, you can either come up with a job you want to do or swap with me and that’s my final offer! (I said this with a nice smile but I was being firm)
He says: “ Fine..let’s swap jobs”

My son is not thrilled about this but also not upset. After he finishes washing some fruit he asked if he could also cut the fruit up and make a fruit salad. So instead of us arguing about him having to set the napkins, this turned  into a really positive interaction.

Why this worked: Once my son felt involved and capable, the thought of doing a little work before breakfast wasn’t so overwhelming. Also he had a chance to make a choice or come up with his own solution. Being trusted with something that is usually my job made it that much more interesting.

***

Nagging vs.  Working Together

#2 The Case of the Lost shoes
One morning everyone is ready to leave when I see my four year old has no shoes on. “Where are your shoes?” I ask.
His answer, “I don’t know. Can’t find them anywhere.”
“Oh, you are kidding right? How many times…” I wasn’t yelling, but I didn’t like the direction I was going in so I stopped myself. I took a deep breath and continued “Wait, let’s start over. Where have you looked?”
“Uhm, under the sofa and the shoe box, but NO…no shoes there. Maybe murph ate them.” He offered with a giant sneaky grin. (Murph is our dog)

“Ok. Let’s look together, but let’s be quick so we are not late!” I offered.

We all started looking and then my two year old runs to us “Found them! Found them! Look at me, I found shoes!” The kids gave each other a big hug. Before I could say anything my son said “Thank you Bella for finding them.” (seriously that stuff just melts my heart!) In the car, I asked my son where he thought he should put his shoes when he got home. The next morning, the shoes were in the shoe box where they belong and we had no issues.

Why this worked: Instead of blaming or nagging about the lost shoes like I originally had wanted to, I realized that in that moment, offering a helping hand to my four year was much more valuable than making everyone feel bad about lost shoes, lost tempers and wasted time. Also, by following up in the car, I had a chance to offer a gentle correction about keeping shoes where they belong.

***

Tantrum or Validation 

#3 The Case of the Near Melt Down
“Buy me this mama?” Bella said one day at the supermarket check-out.
“Oh those look yummy, but no, sweetie. We already chose lots of other things from the store, I am not buying those.”
“Oh man!” she said in a tiny voice with a bit of tears welling up.

I try to think about this from her perspective…who can resist hello kitty marshmallows? They are pink, they are shaped like a kitty, they look so enticing! But I don’t want to buy them. I am NOT going to buy them. I have a 10 second internal rant: Thanks a lot store for putting them RIGHT there where my two year old can drool about them.

I knelt down, “You so wish I would buy that for you so you could eat it all up?” “no, mama I like the cat, no eat it, just hug the cat” Bella said. “Oh, ok, you want to hug it and then put it back?” I asked. “Yes mama.” Uhm…potential disaster, if she decides to never let go…uhm…plan, think…ok got it. “Hey, how about this, you hug the cat, then we put it back and you give the cashier the store card?” To my relief she said yes and we followed our plan.

Why it worked: Instead of demanding that my daughter take her hands off the candy, I took a moment to see things from her perspective. Also, giving my daughter a specific task to do after hugging the cat made it easier for her to transition away from the claws of sweet kitty-cat 😉

The positive parenting route at first may seem more time consuming, but really it is worthwhile.

Sometimes it may feel like the positive route is more time consuming or that it requires too much patience. Being a busy mom to three children I can promise I neither have a ton of time nor endless patience…what motivates me is that the more we practice this way, the easier it gets.

Each time I respond in a way that highlights connection and cooperation,  the less conflicts arise.  This approach also means that my children are being given the opportunity to develop really valuable skills like, listening, negotiating, cooperating, problem solving and self regulation.

positive parenting examples

 

Have you used positive parenting tools to transform a situation around from conflict to cooperation ? What has you struggling ? Feel free to ask questions in comments or in our Parenting Q&A group on facebook!

Peace & Be Well,

Ariadne

 

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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a B.S. in Communication, is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, and has completed several graduate courses in child development, psychology and family counseling. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, one cuddly dog and "bluey" the fish.

11 Responses to 3 Examples of Positive Parenting in Practice

  1. Yes, more like this, please??? Theory to practical application sometimes gets lost on me, but these real examples…that I personally encounter weekly…really helped. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the practical examples. Pregnant with my third and enjoying my last kid free day reflecting on how I can improve my ways to address the challenging moments with my kids. I shared this with my parenting community https://www.facebook.com/ShiftEdu.
    I’m a teacher and a certified sexual health educator and do a lot of work supporting parents around teaching safe touch and body science to empower kids.
    Jessica Wollen
    http://shift-education.com

  3. Hi,

    I stumbled across your website as I’m just starting to research more into positive parenting. I’m really struggling with my 4 nearly 5 year old daughter at the moment. Up until this point in her little life she’s been really receptive and positively responsive to either/ors, so if we’re having lunch it’s “you can either have X or Y” and she nearly always chooses X or Y depending on her mood. Now, however, she’s getting more and more difficult to deal with and her stock answer is “no” a lot of the time. Your first example rang true for me, except she would have just kept saying “No”. I’m wondering what you would do in that situation? If your son had just continued saying “no” and not responding to your offer? Thanks in advance! I realise this post is old, but I had to ask!

    • Hi Amy,
      I have found many children start testing limits and boundaries again as they approach age 5. This can be a time when choosing to not engage in the struggle might make most sense. If the choices are about something that is really not negotiable, then introducing “Either you choose or I will choose for you” can sometimes be helpful. This tool can come across as authoritarian if not used with care and kindness, but the gist of it is to let the child know that if they want to be responsible enough to make choices, then they have to make one, otherwise it defaults to the parent to make that choice. Sometimes I will say “hey, i get these are not really the choices you would make if you were in charge, but go ahead and choose x or Y or I will be deciding today and you can have another try a different day” If this is happening a lot, it’s very possible that more connection and guidance is needed. Maybe some feelings or upsets are stored up and need releasing in which case laughter or tears are very helpful. Hth!!

  4. This is very helpful…but what if it doesn’t work? I mean what if after a 10 minute back and forth they still won’t pick a job to do. Or throws all the napkins of the floor and yells NO! I love seeing these interactions because it does help so much to reframe my thinking and gives me ideas but sometimes – the no’s just keep coming and then I don’t know what to do!

    • Hi Jess! I’m wondering the same thing! I could be sooooo wrong, but I feel like parenting help and parenting examples only cite the times when it actually works! And that may be 50% of the time, but the other 50% of the time you have a screaming two year old who will not let go of the hello kitty marshmallows and who absolutely does not want to hand the cashier the card! Haha it just seems that we’re constantly told about all the times parenting works beautifully, and sometimes it does, but someones I feel like my toddler just needs to be told ‘no… And no you can’t scream. And no you can’t get your way. And that’s all I have to say about that’???

    • Hi Jess,
      If NO just keeps coming up, it can be helpful to reflect overall on how the interactions ar going…are expectations clear? Are requests being made in a way that the child can actually succeed (age appropriate, not too tireed, hungry, rushed) taking a moment to step into your child point of view can help a lot. It is also perfectly ok to just be kind and clear when nescessary, as long as that is not the only way you expect cooperation, of course there are times when you will have to set a limit or keep choices limited. Its ok to say no and its ok to stop power struggles too! Hope that helps.

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