The Problem with Positive Parenting

Self, Family

Is your desire to be a positive parent stopping you from being an effective one?

There are many child advocates and parenting specialists who advocate a parenting method that is more positive in nature; no hitting, limited screaming and yelling, no name calling or belittling, and no criticizing.  I advocate this as well and have utilized it with my own three children. However, I’m concerned that positive parenting may be misunderstood and is heading to the dark side.

Here’s the problem, many parents seem to have taken this to mean that we don’t set limits for our children, we don’t say no, we don’t discipline in any way, and we let the children run the house and our lives. I’m often appalled at the lack of limits I see on children as they run through restaurants, shopping malls, and other people’s homes. Many children are not being asked or taught how to be respectful, wait their turn, or be appropriately assertive. 

The larger problem, of course, results in children who do not know how to manage themselves or their emotions. Setting limits for your children is a gift you give to them that they eventually (and hopefully) will internalize as they head out into their adult lives.  Learning how to take no for an answer without throwing themselves on the ground and having you give in to them is one of your jobs as their parents. Do you want your children to be adults who are unable to wait their turn, feel entitled, and deny themselves nothing? 

Some of the confusion seems to come in the idea that if you want to be positive you can’t set limits.  That is anything but the truth. You can set a firm and understandable limit with almost any aged child if you do so with respect and kindness but also without negotiation. If your child wants to run in the street, it is your job to loudly and firmly say no. You don’t need to call them names or belittle them for trying but you do need to teach them that this behavior is dangerous and unacceptable. Keep Reading...

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