The Importance of Positive Parenting; Being a Parent Is One of the Most Rewarding, Yet Emotionally Draining Jobs. Here, Des Mannion, Head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales, Explains How 'Positive Parenting' Can Help a Child's Behaviour

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), December 7, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Importance of Positive Parenting; Being a Parent Is One of the Most Rewarding, Yet Emotionally Draining Jobs. Here, Des Mannion, Head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales, Explains How 'Positive Parenting' Can Help a Child's Behaviour


FROM teething to tantrums, breakfasts to bedtimes - being a parent can be tough.

Balancing competing demands isn't easy and almost everyone comes under pressure at times. As parents, we know those challenges all too well.

Babies and children thrive when parents are loving, warm and responsive but how do you deal with unwanted behaviour? At NSPCC Cymru/Wales we have long championed 'positive parenting' which can help mums and dads develop that warm parenting style.

You try to give children five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, so why not also try to praise them five times a day as well? Many parents successfully use star charts or other systems that reward children for good behaviour.

But sometimes children's behaviour crosses a line and it's necessary to take on the side of parenting that almost everyone finds especially challenging - how best to discipline your child correctly and effectively.

Whenever we carry out research at the NSPCC into physical punishment parents tell us they don't like smacking their children. They only do it when they become angry themselves or as a last resort.

With very young children and babies it's crucial to remember that they cry when they are tired, hungry or uncomfortable and parenting is about finding out what is wrong and putting it right.

This helps develop the strong bond between a parent and baby.

But older children do need clear boundaries and sticking to them is essential.

Using positive parenting techniques and talking to children and listening to what they have to say will ensure you become the 'expert' on your child.

This approach helps reduce stress and frustration and ensures a child grows into a confident, happy and emotionally literate young person.

It's a method that the Welsh Government is recommending. Their 'Parenting Give it Time' website has lots of useful advice and last year the Chief Nursing Officer for Wales highlighted the importance of this positive approach to parenting. It's not about telling parents how to raise their children or dictating a set of rules, it's about offering support and providing readily available advice that can boost the health and well-being of parent and child alike.

So how can the principles behind positive parenting help mums and dads take control? SETTING BOUNDARIES This is an important first step. Children really need to know what's okay and what's not.

Parents can try to: | Keep guidance simple and consistent | Clearly explain what you'd like your child to do, if they're misbehaving | Avoid rash decisions in anger | Review family rules and boundaries as they get older | Get support if you're struggling For babies and toddlers, introduce boundaries early | Sympathise with how your child may be feeling | Share your own feelings if it relieves stress | Try to avoid using orders and ultimatums For older children, be willing to give your child chances to show they can be trusted. …

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