Connection. It’s a Positive Parent’s Superpower.
It is the only reason kids give up what they want to do and do what you want instead. They trust you and don’t want to disappoint you.
If you strengthen your connection parenting becomes a lot easier.
You want to raise a child who is kind, happy, cooperative and self-disciplined. And you want to trust your child to do the right thing as a teenager.
Positive parenting reinforces the primal connection you have with your child. Rather than weakening it through punishment and threats.
So how do you strengthen connection?
Here are five easy techniques you can start today without any extra time needed.
- Be authentic
Be yourself with your kids. Don’t hide behind being the perfect Mum or Dad.
Let your kids see you for who you really are. A real person with likes and dislikes.
Things that make you happy, angry, and sad.
When my son was born he was perfect, like all babies.
And I wanted to be perfect for him. But I’ve realized perfect is boring. And it’s tough to connect with. I’m committed to letting my son see most of my imperfections. And to foster an authentic relationship.
Alfie Kohn makes a brilliant suggestion in Unconditional Parenting. Apologize. Simply apologize.
First, it sets a powerful example.
Second, it helps take us off our perfect parenting pedestal. It shows kids when we make a mistake, it’s no big deal. We can admit to it, apologize and move on.
It makes us vulnerable and in that moment it creates a richer connection with our kids.
Alfie recommends making a regular habit of apologizing. At least once a week. My guess is your kid’s reaction will make you so happy you’ll do it more often.
- Make “yes” your default
You can’t say yes all the time. But don’t automatically say no.
Sometimes we don’t let our kids to do something simply because it’s inconvenient. Not because it’s unsafe. Or impossible.
And while our needs are valid, it’s important to find a balance so kids feel their needs are equally valued and considered.
Try to find a way to turn a few no’s into yes’s, even if they’re conditional.
- Schedule Special Time
Dr Laura Markham advises Special Time can transform kid’s behavior.
Special Time deepens connection. It gives kids their parent’s undivided attention, which they desperately crave.
How do you schedule special time?
- Announce you’d like to have Special Time with each child for at least 15 minutes every day if you can
- Name the Special Time for your child, “Thomas Time” for example
- Alternate who decides what to do for Special Time -- one day you decide, the next day your child decides
- Give your child your absolute and undivided attention. No phones. No agendas. No distractions.
- Feel the magic
- How many hugs?
Family therapist Virginia Satir famously said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Hug your child good morning, good-bye and hello. Snuggle in bed at nighttime and on the couch watching a movie.
The twelve-hug rule isn’t exclusive to children. Between your kids and your partner, you’ll be hugged silly by the end of the day.
- Keep your eye on your long-term goals
What are your long-term goals for your kids?
For them to be happy. Independent. Healthy. Confident. Kind. Loving. Inquisitive. Responsible and balanced?
Now, imagine you are at your child’s school or at the local park.
There are a couple of mothers around the corner who know your child.
You overhear their conversation. They’re talking about your child.
Pause for a moment. How would you like them to describe your child?
I’m guessing your wouldn’t want to hear, “He’s such a good boy, never misbehaves. He never bothers adults. You don’t hear a peep out of him”.
The fundamental question is whether we sometimes act as though this is what we want.
In tough moments it can help to remember your long-term goals for your kids. It can help make difficult parenting decisions a little easier.Dare To Be A Positive Parent
Positive parenting is challenging. Relying on a quick fix in the moment is tempting especially when your toddler is having a tantrum or your preschooler just kicked another kid.
Authoritative parenting techniques are popular because they appear to work. They recommend a defined action for a surefire result.
But the “results” are short lived. And they can trigger bigger problems in the future.
Choose instead to apply simple principles to bond with your kids to make them happy, independent and “well-behaved.”
As Charles Raison said: “One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”
Years from now your kids won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. And that's what matters most.
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