The Power of Positive Parenting

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 05:22pm
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What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Positive Parenting? Sweet kisses as you lay your sleepy baby in her crib? A heartfelt round of applause when your toddler finally takes to his potty? An enthusiastic cheer as your preschooler sails off on his two-wheeler for the first time?

While these examples are certainly clear demonstrations of positive, loving and supportive parenting, the kind of parenting that children surely respond to, the definition of Positive Parenting digs much deeper than that. 

Positive Parenting is the approach to parenting that we believe best supports all aspects of healthy child development. It is based on decades of research into the links between parenting and how young children respond to life's challenges.

What does it mean to be a Positive Parent?
In our terms, a Positive Parent is a loving, understanding, reasonable, protective teacher and model. Each of these words holds special meaning.

A Positive Parent is LOVING.
Research clearly shows that parents must be warm and nurturing, and show unconditional love for their children to flourish. This kind of love is based on listening for and responding sensitively to each child's needs and showing empathy with and respect for each child.

A Positive Parent is UNDERSTANDING.
A Positive Parent is understanding of each child's temperament, and is able to build on the strengths of each child's nature, yet be flexible as time and circumstances dictate.

A Positive Parent is REASONABLE.
A reasonable Positive Parent is consistent and predictable, sets and communicates clear limits and expectations and constructs consequences for irresponsible behaviour that are natural and reasonable, but not punitive.

A Positive Parent is PROTECTIVE.
Because infants and young children are so helpless, they need adults to provide a safe and secure base. To be protective parents must be actively involved with each child, and provide not only a physically safe environment, but also an emotionally safe atmosphere where children can experiment with emotions, relationships and ideas.

A Positive Parent is a TEACHER.
Each parent, in his or her own style and manner, provides opportunities for each child to learn in an atmosphere of acceptance, encouragement and with expectations of success. Positive Parents offer each child choices and encourage children to learn to solve problems and make decisions.

A Positive Parent is a MODEL.
Infants and young children are consummate imitators, constantly looking to their parents for guidance in how to handle life's challenges. To be an excellent role model, parents must know themselves, both internally, regarding their emotions, values and beliefs, and how they appear to others in the family, on the job and in their community.

Do you have questions about Positive Parenting? Visit our Positive Parenting FAQs page for more information or Ask and Expert

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Changing Priorities

by Maxine
Posted May 12 2011 11:17am
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For most couples, there just isn’t enough time to do everything that needs to be done. That means that choices are made about what gets done and what has to wait. Parents may even find that their priorities aren’t the same. This can lead to conflict, for example, if Dad is worried about finances, while Mom is worried about the safety of their older model car.

In life, priorities change and that’s totally normal. Being aware of each others' priorities can help to decrease friction and increase your ability to support one another. Download and complete the My Priorities worksheet. First, fill in your own personal priorities and then share them with each other. After sharing, you may want to alter or add to your list of priorities.

Download the My Priorities Worksheet (PDF)

Your priorities will change as your baby grows and new challenges will emerge. We recommended you review your My Priorities worksheet about every 6 months.

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Reflective Parenting

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 05:28pm
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"Mirror, mirror on the wall; who’s the fairest of them all?" Wouldn’t it be great if your mirror could talk back, offering you wisdom and advice on how to effectively parent your child? Although your mirror cannot reflect words and ideas, there are mirror-like skills you can use to accomplish the same task—Reflective Parenting.

What is Reflective Parenting, exactly?
To be a Reflective Parent is to look in an imaginary mirror from time to time and ask yourself if how you are parenting is the best way to help your child learn.

The Core Strategy of Reflective Parenting - ask yourself these types of questions to help move to new and more positive solutions.

  • Do I feel good about what I just did?
  • What would help my child learn from this situation?
  • How does my child feel about what just happened?
  • If I watched someone else do this, what would I think?
  • What was my child’s goal in what she just did?
  • What was my goal in what I just did?

Steve is watching his 9-month old son, Todd, move towards the china cabinet. When he pulls himself up to grab the handle on the door, Steve scolds, “Bad Todd! Bad!  Don’t touch Daddy’s things!”  Todd stops.  But he looks frightened and confused.

As Steve picks Todd up to move him away from the china cabinet, Steve reflects on what just happened. First, he didn’t mean to call Todd “bad.” Secondly, Todd probably has no idea why Steve is upset.
Steve then takes Todd back to the china cabinet and sits on the floor with him. Steve points to some of the items inside. He tells Todd how special they are, but explains “Don’t touch.  No touching.”  Then, Steve cuddles Todd as he takes him to his play area.

In this situation, Steve used Reflective Parenting. He thought about his first negative response to Todd, and then, upon reflection, created a new positive parenting interaction.

When should you apply Reflective Parenting?

  1. Prior to a situation: ask yourself some reflective questions before you intervene with your child.
  2. During a situation: sometimes you can see you’re really off track in being a Positive Parent when you are in the middle of a parenting situation. When this happens, slow things down and use reflective questions to get yourself back on track.
  3. After a situation:  evaluate how you’re feeling about what happened. If you decide that you really don’t feel good about what just happened, “revisit” and redo things in a new way—just as Steve did in the example.

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Temperament: First Reaction

by Nancy and Nanci
Posted February 18 2012 10:04pm
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Temperament - First ReactionOne of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations. Note that First Reaction is a separate trait from adaptability, which is the reaction to change over the long term.

In your parenting role, you'll probably face many surprises. Predicting how you – and your partner – will react will help you weather these challenges.


Are you adventurous or cautious?

Scenario One
You and your partner had a well-rehearsed birth plan. The midwife or doctor attending the birth tells you the plan can't be followed.

  • Cautious: You need time to absorb this news. After the birth, you're still feeling sad that the plan had to be abandoned.

  • Adventurous: You start asking what the process will be and what decisions you can make now.

Scenario two
The ultrasound suggested you were having a girl. The nursery has been painted pink and the layette is pink and ruffled. The baby in your arms is a boy.

  • Cautious: Your thoughts are swirling and you're trying to figure out how gender affects identity.

  • Adventurous: You're thinking what shade of blue you will paint the nursery. You're thinking you can return the girl clothes and go shopping all over again.

Scenario three
The baby needs medical intervention or other support.

  • Cautious: You need to hear the news, step by step, and reflect on what this means.

  • Adventurous: You are upset but you immediately ask your partner to research the resources your baby will need and to recruit the support you will need.

Both a cautious and an adventurous First Reaction can be positive, depending on the situation. Knowing this aspect of temperament, you can predict how you’ll react to the unexpected and to the changes your family will experience as your baby changes into a toddler, a preschooler, a "big Kid," a young adult. Parenting means adjusting to endless changes, changes that touch your heart.



This article was written by Parents2Parents experts,
Nanci Burns and Nancy Rubenstein
, co-authors of Take Your Temperament!

We all know that every child is unique. The Take Your Temperament! work-book is designed to help you put that reality into action in an engaging and meaningful way. It invites parents and children to explore how they react to the world—and do so without guilt or shame. Find out more at www.takeyourtemperament.ca.

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One of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations.
Read More »
You can use a variety of Comfort, Play & Teach strategies that are tailored to different temperament traits.
Read More »
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Positive Parenting? Positive Parenting is the approach to parenting that we believe best supports all aspects of healthy child development.
Read More »

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