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  • Writer's pictureHannah's Hope

Positive Parenting.

Parenting can be exhausting, trying, frustrating, and extremely overwhelming. It can force you to lose your temper or say things that you don't mean when your child's behavior pushes your buttons just a little too much. Alana Pace, creator of Parenting from the Heart, is a mother who has a psychology degree and a passion for positive parenting and play-based leaning. Hence the reason she wrote her article, "Research says this is how to use positive parenting from a position of strength." Most people associate the term "positive parenting" with "authoritative parenting," which is accurate because they are interchangeable. However, what most people don't understand is that this form of parenting is not one without punishment or respect in the household. After struggling with her own child's behavior, Pace got to thinking and decided to use her knowledge as practice in her parenting style. She felt lost and had no idea what to do. She described this by saying, "Adding to this feeling was the fact that the society I grew up in had me believing the only way to parent was to force children to behave." She admits that as a parent, it can be very easy to ignore misbehavior or default to yelling or threatening. Instead, though, you can try the steps listed in Pace's article to execute positive parenting. The first step to positive parenting is connection, which is what we know as a crucial part to practically every relationship in our lives. Connection is crucial to positive parenting, however, because it can help fuel good behavior and get misbehavior back on track. The reason for this stems from the brain and the fight, flight, or freeze reaction that occurs when children misbehave. "Their prefrontal cortex, responsible for self-regulation, can shut down. When parents address a child's behavior coming from a place of connection, the child is more likely to have oxytocin released calming the child." The next tip is this: work with your child to establish rules and follow through on them. This is often done by collaborating with your child to establish family rules and explaining the rules and expectations thoroughly with your child. Research shows that parents who execute positive parenting also: explain their reasoning for their rules and expectations, use front-loading by explaining expectations and rules ahead of time so their children know what is expected of them, fully explain the consequences of certain behaviors, and use consistent behaviors when following through on rules and expectations. Living in this parenting style day-to-day, means that parents should do a few things, some of those being: allowing children to express how their feeling regardless of whether or not they agree, taking into consideration the perspective of the child, using logical consequences when safety or well-being is at stake, and taking a time-in, when one is necessary. The next step in the journey to positive parenting is to, "Model instead of Lecture." Lecturing can make the child feel as if they, or their behavior, is under attack. This makes their "fight, flight, or freeze" response be triggered, making them defensive against what is being said. Modeling calm behavior instead of acting solely out of anger also creates an invaluable lesson for your child that teaches more neural pathway around events that may have encouraged them to act the same as before. Next, parents should try to "Redirect Behavior" by steering their child's energy from an undesirable behavior to a more desirable one. This can be done by: making substitutions, changing the environment, and demonstrating and requesting better behavior. This means that parents should: offer the child other toys they can use, suggest other ideas than ones your child has suggested, if those are not pleasurable for all, take the child outside to play to release energy, and when backtalk arises, shut off the screens and enjoy some quality time. The last step is to: "Use re-attunement when parenting gets off course." There will always be moments in parenting that are less than ideal, but what makes the good parents great is when they are able to try again to get their responses "right," when maybe, they didn't the first time. When this is the case, parents should: try and re-connect with their child through shared fun activities, forgive themselves when they do get off track, take care of themselves so they can parent effectively, and talk to their child in an age-appropriate manner that explains that a parent's mistakes are not a reflection of the child but might be due to other stressors. One important thing to note about this style of parenting is that it can be invaluable due to its ability to understand both the child and the adult. Its shows the child that everyone makes mistakes, but when we do, it is important to continue to love one another and respect each other through all of each other's "problems."

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