How Old Can Positive Parenting Begin for Child?

What's Covered

Have you heard that positive and responsive parents have better chances to raise children with higher emotional intelligence? The development of language and social skills also depends on the parents’ ability to build a healthy and connected relationship. Positive parenting helps parents to teach children behavior through mutual respect. It promotes the assumption that kids have a natural desire to do the right things, so parents’ task is to protect and guide them. Positive parenting begins in early childhood and gives children a sense of self-confidence and trust.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is a type of discipline that involves respect for child’s rights and preferences. It crucially differs from traditional harsh or authoritarian parenting. Positive parenting is based on a different type of mindset and behavior. A caregiver should have enough patience and persistence to teach children. This type of parenting is the most involved as it is based on different techniques and practices to get the best results.

According to Alfred Adler, the psychiatrist who studied positive parenting, good behavior is connected with feelings of belonging and significance. For belonging, the child should feel that they are connected and loved, while for the significance it is crucial to know that they are capable and worthy. As a result, when they feel that these basic needs are met, children strive to act according to the parents’ expectations. However, if a child does not have feelings of significance and belonging, they will try to get them in every possible way. Tantrums and misbehaviors are the signs that a child lacks parents’ attention and appreciation as well.

How can you and your kids benefit from positive parenting?

Positive parenting will be beneficial. It stimulates the social and cognitive skills of a child. It also boosts personal development through the development of self-esteem, independence, and intrinsic motivation. As a result, it minimizes negative behavior and tantrums. Positive parenting effectively develops emotional intelligence and empathy. Buffer the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage on adolescent brain development[1].

General principles of positive parenting

What can you do to begin positive parenting?

  • Spend quality time with your kids. It is significant to show your kid that there is a strong bond between you. It helps your child to trust you and rely on you in difficult situations. Express an interest in their life and play interesting games with them.
  • Set an example. Try to regulate your emotions to model healthy coping strategies. Your child can follow your example, so behave in the way you want your child to behave. If you start feeling frustrated with your child, try to calm down and relax to manage your emotions. Furthermore, name and explain your emotions to your kid.
  • Empathize with children’s feelings, then demonstrate your techniques for such situations. Teach them to cope with their emotions.
  • Set boundaries and show the significance of rules. Your child should understand that rules need to be followed. Use positive language. However, do not threaten children because it can demotivate them.
  • Look inside the problem. In other words, look for internal and external reasons for negative behavior. It will help you to find the best solutions to overcome the problem. 
  • Keep in mind age-connected issues. You need to evolve and develop as your child grows.
  • Be consistent. Make sure that you can keep your promises. It teaches your child to trust you. Demonstrate that actions have consequences and inspire good behavior. 
  • Do not punish your children. It is better to use discipline. Be consistent and kind with your kids. Explain the reasons for being disciplined.  

When to start positive parenting?

The answer is as simple as it can be – you can start it now! The sooner, the better. Your child will benefit from feelings of attachment and significance. However, keep in mind some age-related peculiarities of positive parenting. It is better to be aware of the challenges of each child’s age.

Ages of positive parenting

Infants

The first year of life is significant for further development. A baby learns new crucial skills, so parents should support their child during the process. Cognitive development involves plenty of processes such as language learning, development of memory, and thinking. An infant finds out the sounds and words and learns their meaning. What is more, during the first year, the baby learns what is love and trust through their interaction with caregivers. The world will be considered a safe place if parents demonstrate love and support to their baby. Moreover, the social skills of a baby also depend on the way parents spend time with them. It is crucial to respond to kid’s emotional and physical needs.

It is helpful to spend time with your baby and hold your baby to give a sense of safety. For an infant, it is crucial to feel parents’ support. Talk to your baby, the voice will keep them calm. Moreover, it gives a good start for the development of language skills. Sing songs for a child as singing promotes brain development and encourages a baby to love music. It is efficient to read books to promote language learning.

React to the baby’s needs, so you should better learn the baby’s signal and the right ways to respond to them. The physical needs of a kid should be met before playing. When a child is tired, hungry, or sleepy, it is crucial to react to it. Praise your baby, so they can feel love and appreciated. Positive motivation will positively influence their behavior. Do not yell or swat at children because it teaches them to feel insecure and afraid. You should better take care of yourself, as well, because happy and confident parents can share their experience with their child more easily. Furthermore, children learn from us, so it crucial to stay positive not only with kids. Sometimes it may be difficult to be loving parents, but remember that it is worth it.

Keep in mind the physical peculiarities of a baby and provide your baby with comfortable conditions from the first day of life. Let your baby sleep enough according to the age demands. Parents should remember that breastfeeding helps to keep your baby healthy and calm. For the first six months of life breast milk covers all the needs of an infant[2]. Later, a baby starts learning new tastes, while breast milk remains the main source of vitamins and minerals. You better be attentive with kids’ food; it is better to cut food into small bites to prevent choking. Moreover, do not let your child take and play with small things, which can be swollen. It is better to keep your baby active and encourage them to move and learn about the world. Do not keep your baby in a stroller or seats for too long, because it may negatively influence their physical development. Furthermore, parents should not let kids watch on screen because it may have a negative impact on their cognitive skills.

Toddlers

A child continues a rapid development of their skills during the second year of life. A toddler begins to move more actively and learn about the world around them. Their task is to explore their environment in different ways. Accordingly, toddlers’ independence is rising as they develop their communication skills. They learn basic principles of communication, so it is important to surround them with love and support. The rise of independence can also be connected with the rise of frustration. For parents, it is better to be aware of a child’s brain development to act according to their needs.

To imply positive parenting, it will be useful to promote free play that positively influences the child’s development. [3] Read books to your children every day. It helps to learn new words and language in general. Furthermore, reading positively influences the development of creativity. Encourage your child to explore the environment and move around. Physical activity has a positive impact on their mood and feelings.

It is better to encourage your toddler to learn new words and phrases. It is useful to talk with your baby as much as possible to promote language understanding. It is better to notice and praise each little achievement. Parents can play games, such as matching or finding objects, with their kids. Allow your child to be curious and try to meet their needs by presenting new experiences, such as going to the pool or forest. Moreover, let your child feel independent when they want to eat or dress themselves. Allow your child to be curious and try to meet their needs by presenting new experiences, such as going to the pool or forest. It is helpful to read books dedicated to positive parenting to develop your skills.

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The book will assist you in building strong and healthy relationship with your kid. You will find effective ways to end negative behavior and transform your parenting in a positive way

Keep in mind the physical peculiarities of a toddler and provide your kid with comfortable conditions during the second year of life. For instance, your toddler should stay in a safe environment and should be watched by adults. Give your children a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Do not give sugar or sugar drinks. Active movement helps your kid to grow strong and healthy as well. Remember about sleep norms for a toddler and let your children sleep at least 11-12 hours a day.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

A child continues their development as they learn the world and its possibilities. The more independent they grow, the more interested in adults and children around they become. Everything around seems exciting, so the most popular word of a 3-year-old child is “Why?” “Why does the sun shine?” or “Why is the sky blue?” – you can hear hundreds of questions every day, and it is significant to try all of them to encourage their curiosity. The interaction with family helps a child to create his vision of the world. During preschool age, a kid learns how to play with other children, sing songs, and develops physical skills. Accordingly, it is better to build relationships full of love and support to make your child more confident.

For parents, it would be efficient to imply some positive parenting tips. For instance, keep a daily routine. Your kids will feel safer if they are aware of the subsequent events. Try to follow your schedule as much as it is possible. You should better read to your child every day. It helps to nurture kids’ curiosity and develop language skills. It is better to demonstrate your child basic principles of friendship. Teach how to share toys and play with others. Moreover, it is effective to ask questions with limited choice. As an example, “Where do you want to go, to the park or the lake?” Such a type of question may prevent frustration and tantrums.

Teach your child simple chores to promote responsibility and involvement in the family’s life. For instance, a preschooler can help with washing dishes or dusting. Encourage your child to speak and develop communication skills. Do not simplify your language when you speak to your child. A child should learn how to use complicated words and complete sentences. Try to explain the consequences of the actions and promote good behavior. Naming emotions and explanation of feelings can help your child to become empathic. Such techniques will help you to build good relationships with your kids.

Middle Childhood (6-8 years)

A child continues to grow and develop, so their skills are constantly improving. The child learns how to be confident and built happy relationships with friends and family. Moreover, kids become more independent as they learn how to take care of themselves. At this age, parents’ main task is to support a child and learn effective communication skills. A child becomes interested in friendship, so they should know how to be a good friend. School can also become a challenge for a kid, so positive parenting is still important at this age.

It is helpful to apply positive parenting tips such as talking to your kid about their likes. For a kid, it is significant to feel appreciated and understood, so you can ask about school and friends every day. Praise your child for achievements to promote confidence and curiosity. Furthermore, parents should better praise good behavior. It is more effective to focus on the child’s attempts (“I see, you tried so hard” or “You’ve been so patient during the task!”) instead of emphasizing some traits (“You are so talented” or “You are smart!”). Do not punish your child because it may negatively influence their confidence[4]. It is better to guide your kids and explain what is right.

It will be helpful to teach your child how to be a good friend. The development of emotional intelligence will positively influence the communication skills of your kid. Make some family rituals that can strengthen relations between family members. For instance, cook breakfast with your child on Sundays or read a fairytale every evening before going to bed. Read to your child and encourage them to read. Now you can take them to a book store to choose the most interesting books and involve in reading even more. Children can also read favorite parts of books to parents to share their interests.

Parents need to explain what is a goal and learn how to set goals. A child should know how to be focused on their inner feeling and pride instead of orientation on reward from outside. Set clear and concise rules, so your child can understand which behavior is accepted and which is not. You should better help your child to do well at school by talking to them and their teachers. For a kid, it is significant that parents are involved in the school.

Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age)

A child becomes more and more independent from the family. Friendship becomes a significant part of their life. Nevertheless, it is crucial to show your child that you are near and can support them when it is needed. If a child feels enough loved, they will be able to make good choices that are based on their assumptions. Friends should not become the center of the world for your kids. A child needs to know how to resist peers’ pressure. Do not forget, that your kids need to know what is responsibility and prohibition. As a rule, this age is the start of further puberty changes of the body. So, parents should explain the peculiarities of these processes and support the children.

Try to use positive parenting tips to make your family happier. For instance, explain to your child the changes that they are going to face during puberty. Spend time with your child. Make your rituals; for instance, have breakfast together, play board games on Sunday, etc. Parents should speak to their child. Ask about school, friends, likes, and challenges. It will help them to feel appreciated. Take part in school life, visit school events that are important for your child.  It is effective to explain your kid what is moral values, and what is right and wrong.

Another key point is that it is important to encourage children to be responsible. For instance, share some home duties, so your kid can feel involved in family life. Explain the value of money. You should better give your children pocket money, so they can learn how to spend them appropriately. Set consistent rules. Explain the reasoning, so your child can see what you expect from them. Try to guide your kid instead of punishing. The discipline should be based on protection rather than on authoritative rules and restrictions. Encourage your child to read, take them to bookstores, discuss books that they like. Set a good example. In other words, try to behave in a way you expect your children to act.

Teens (12-14 years)

Your child faces significant physiological and psychological changes. It can be challenging for your kid and for you, so try to stay calm and patient. Teenagers start to concern about their bodies, so try to explain that the changes are natural. Get ready that your kid can become moodier and the reason for this is the raised level of hormones. It can be efficient to learn about the containment of emotions and allow children to feel safe and free with you.[5] At times when your kid is rude, do not take it too personally. Furthermore, it is crucial to explain the danger of alcohol and drugs.

It will be useful for you to show interest in your child’s school life, hobbies, etc. Be responsive to your teens’ needs. Spend time with your kids doing interesting activities. Set clear rules and explain your expectations.

Teenagers (15-17 years)

Your kid continues to grow and change. A teenager develops their personality through a change of preferences and beliefs. The body has completed puberty, and teenagers can be concerned about their appearance. This time is crucial as a kid leaves school and chooses the future profession.

To promote positive behavior, you should better respect your child and listen to their thoughts and opinions. Also, try to praise for accomplishments. It is motivating for kids regardless of their age. Parents need to motivate a child to live a healthy life. Explain the principles of good friendship and what to do if a friend makes pressure or does something dangerous.

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Positive Discipline for Teenagers
The book helps you to understand your teenager’s behavior and provides you with efficient techniques of positive discipline

Final thoughts

Positive parenting is a great choice for families that want to build happy and reliable relationships. You can study the main principles of positive parenting and apply the tips. It will make your parenting easier and happier. You can begin your positive parenting from the early childhood of your kids and soon you will notice positive results. As for me, I would recommend Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide book as it is essentially comprehensive and provides answers to all your questions.


[1] Whittle, Sarah, et al. “Role of positive parenting in the association between neighborhood social disadvantage and brain development across adolescence.” JAMA psychiatry 74.8 (2017): 824-832.

[2] Kramer, Michael S., and Ritsuko Kakuma. “The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding.” Protecting infants through human milk (2004): 63-77.

[3] MacNamara, Áine, Dave Collins, and Susan Giblin. “Just let them play? Deliberate preparation as the most appropriate foundation for lifelong physical activity.” Frontiers in psychology 6 (2015): 1548.

[4] Gershoff, Elizabeth T. “More harm than good: A summary of scientific research on the intended and unintended effects of corporal punishment on children.” LAW & contemp. probs. 73 (2010): 31.

[5] Solomon, Mike, and Gaby Thomas. “Supporting behaviour support: developing a model for leading and managing a unit for teenagers excluded from mainstream school.” Emotional and behavioural difficulties 18.1 (2013): 44-59.

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Author

Diana Lucas

Diana Lucas

Hi, Diana here. Welcome to my blog and hope you like my sharing. I am a mother of 2 boys, 3 years old and a 1 year old. I dedicate my career in child development research and I focus on parenting tips, positive parenting, educational toys for my babies. Your time here means a lot to me! Diana A. Lucas

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