If you don’t tell your children no or set limits with them, what makes you think that they will ever learn how to listen to you? I’m not sure where the idea came about that being strict or firm equals being cruel. I’m not advocating for you to spank your child. In fact I don’t think you should and I know that you can parent quite effectively without ever laying a punishing hand on them. It’s important for parents to learn how to set limits with assertiveness and to follow through as matter of factly as possible.
I spend much of my time with adults in corporate settings, many of whom struggle greatly with assertive communication skills. I understand why that is, if we don’t see it modeled or are not taught it as children, why would we be able to do it as adults? What many adults do is either sit back passively until they are so angry that they react aggressively. Neither is healthy for work or personal relationships. Why not model for your children assertive and firm communication skills that will carry them nicely through their adulthood?
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The other big mistake that I see parents make regarding positive parenting is the over compliment or the excessive "good job." This is not actually positive parenting but rather excessive and unnecessary complimenting. Yes, it’s important to catch your child being good and yes, it’s important to acknowledge and compliment achievements. However, if you compliment them incessantly, you are ruining the compliment. They stop believing you and start to feel insecure about their achievements. Ironic that what seems to be a good idea is actually not very beneficial.
There is an overload of parenting advice out there and I don’t want to add to the confusion so here’s the bottom line; treat your child the way you would like to be treated. Be honest, be kind, be firm, be loving, follow through on your word, and compliment when appropriate. Try to limit yelling, don’t name call or criticize their character, focus on behavior and do so clearly and consistently. That is the basis of positive parenting, and it works.
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You can reach her at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com