Do you want to parent while smiling more, without raising your voice, and without having to harp on your kids so much? Do you want to help your children to learn for themselves how to make good choices and feel good about it?
My friend recently lent me a book called The Power of Positive Parenting by Dr. Glenn I. Latham. It totally changed my perspective on parenting. I am aware that one of our readers, Diane, has mentioned an article on positive parenting. I am sorry to say that I could not track that link down. Diane, if you would please link us again a comment?
The principles addressed in this book basically teach that parenting is at its most effective when it is focusing on the positive instead of the negative things our kids do. He instructs parents to ignore typical "junk" kid behavior so that we are not reinforcing it. Then, be sure to SELECTIVELY and sincerely praise positive behavior that you would like to see repeated. Be careful not to praise everything as that will back fire. Just like the gambling principle, inconsistent rewards have more impact. There is a time and place for addressing negative behavior like when it hurts someone or something. When that happens he tells us to calmly tell the child that this behavior really isn't like them and to, for example, go lay on the bed and take some deep breaths for a minute (without any hint of irriation in your voice just concern and love). Then when they have calmed down to go and talk with them about it and have a teaching moment. A consequence may also be introduced at this time. He also spouts some ideals similar to Love and Logic like letting the consequences of choices to be natural and not to step in and rescue them from the natural consequences.
Overall I really enjoyed the book (the writing is pretty witty and fun to read even though it is technically written as a text book). I tried out some of the principles and found that adjusting to this new way of parenting was as difficult for my son as it was for me. Dr. Latham warns you that things might get worse before they get better and that was certainly true for us....but once we got the hang of things I really feel like our interactions have improved greatly and I feel like a more skilled parent. It has done more than given me tools it has changed the lenses through which I view my kids and all childrenreally. They really just want our love and approval. They usually don't want to get into trouble, they either just need to be taught in a way they understand and are acting out because they don't know better, or they are just trying to get our attention.
I feel that this book is more about how to change you as a parent - for the better of course- than how to make your children better, which is all you can really control anyway - yourself. I am no where near perfect at being a more positive parent but I am getting there. I don't like all the aspects of this book, like his potty training and time out method, but I love how honest, and real it is. He uses real examples with are more relatable. Often when I read a parenting book I feel horrible about how many things I am doing wrong, but he reminds us that if we are making mistakes we just need to learn and/or sharpen our parenting skills, rather than guilt tripping or reprimanding. He is quite positive to us an author which wasn't surprising to me and it worked. It enticed me to WANT to do better and to feel empowered to do so.
So let me know your thoughts on this book, if you have read it.
Or if you have not read this book, please give your two cents on what principles I have talked about here? Do you think it works for all children?
Have you tried similar methods? How have they worked?
Where do you draw the the line on when to intervene and when to ignore?
Thanks for your input!