Family life and parenthood can be a source of great joy. However, despite our best efforts to raise great children, most of us find parenthood to be a confusing and frustrating experience at times. Yet, as your child grows, there are many things you can do to help them develop into independent, healthy, resilient individuals.
Below you’ll find a list of parenting tools that can foster healthy development and strengthen family relationships. Select strategies relevant to your family and situation and work on them consistently. Remember that resistance is normal, and creating new patterns takes time.
1. Practice good self-care and self-compassion.
- Parenting is tough! It will be much easier to meet your children’s needs if you feel physically and emotionally well.
- As we practice good self-care and self-compassion, we are modeling these healthy behaviors for our children and setting a good example for how to care for themselves.
2. Encourage exploration, creativity, and personal development.
- Help them set achievable goals and help them identify manageable steps to accomplish them.
- Encourage independence and responsibility with age-appropriate tasks and chores at home.
- Help them navigate problem-solving strategies.
- Encourage them to join school or community groups, or sports teams, or find volunteer opportunities. Show an interest in what’s important to them.
3. Ensure your child’s health and safety as they explore and develop independence.
- Understand how to keep your child safe in the car, around water, at home, on the playground, online, and around strangers.
- Meet and know who your child’s friends are and have contact information for their parents.
- Encourage physical and mental health with adequate sleep, healthy foods, and daily physical activity.
4. Implement positive parenting strategies that build relationships.
- Utilize emotion coaching to help your child regulate emotions. For example, listen with respect and empathy when they feel misunderstood, upset, or frustrated. Talk through their feelings, label them with words, and try to understand their source.
- Offer praise, affection, and appreciation. Celebrate your children’s successes and accomplishments!
- Spend time together. Make positive family experiences a priority. Take time to talk about friends, school, and their interests.
- Strive to find a balance of warmth and boundaries.
5. Establish clear expectations, consistent consequences, and predictable routines that shape your child’s day-to-day rhythms.
- Children are more likely to thrive with clear expectations and consistent follow-through.
- Healthy boundaries are essential to parenting and building healthy relationships within your family. Setting limits and holding boundaries can encourage cooperation in the long run.
- Respond to wanted behaviors more than unwanted behaviors. Redirect, model appropriate behavior, and follow corrections with guidance toward desired behaviors.
- Use discipline to protect and guide. Avoid harsh punishments that belittle and shame. Instead, use natural, logical consequences consistently.
A positive parent prepares their children to reach their full potential as resilient and fulfilled individuals. In addition, consistent positive parenting strategies will enable parents to develop lasting relationships with their children.
Parenting solutions that focus on positive parenting have been shown to be effective with many parenting issues and abundant resources are available. Learn more by checking out one of the articles below:
- What is Positive Parenting? (https://positivepsychology.com/positive%20parenting/)
- Parenting and Emotion Coaching at the Gottman Institute (https://www.gottman.com/blog/category/parenting-emotion-coaching/)
- Positive Parenting Tips (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html)
- Helping Families Thrive (https://helpingfamiliesthrive.com/evidence-based-positive-parenting)