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positive parenting

What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research & Benefits

Most adults will become parents at some time in their lives (i.e., around 89.6% of the adult population worldwide; Ranjan, 2015).

While most of us want to be great parents, the apparently endless problems of parenthood can leave us feeling bewildered and frustrated. As any parent of a toddler or a teenager will confirm, such difficulties exist at all stages of growth. However, there is good news: parents now have access to various research-based tools and practices. These materials offer a variety of knowledge about common parenting issues (such as bedtime issues, finicky eating, tantrums, behaviour problems, risk-taking, positive parenting and so on), as well as the numerous learning skills that come with growing up (i.e., starting school, being respectful, making friends, being responsible, making good choices, etc.)

Positive psychology, with its emphasis on happiness, resilience, and positive youth development, is particularly relevant to debates about good parenting. You’ve come to the perfect place if you’re a parent seeking to avoid possible difficulties or if you’re already pulling your hair out. This article contains a comprehensive list of evidence-based positive parenting strategies. These concepts and tactics will apply to a variety of developmental stages, obstacles, and scenarios. We will discuss exactly what positive parenting is, its numerous benefits, when and how to employ it, and its applicability for specific situations and age groups, building on a broad and solid body of research.

What is Positive Parenting?

For example, Seay and colleagues (2014) evaluated 120 relevant publications and defined positive parenting. The following is the universal definition they came up with Positive parenting is the ongoing relationship between a parent(s) and a child(ren) that includes continuously and unconditionally caring, teaching, guiding, communicating, and providing for a child’s needs. (Seay et al., 2014, p. 207).

Positive parenting, according to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (2006), is “loving, empowering, nonviolent” and “provides recognition and direction, which includes the establishment of boundaries to facilitate the full development of the child” (in Rodrigo et al., 2012, p. 4). When these definitions are matched with the positive parenting literature, the following conclusions can be drawn regarding positive parenting

  • It entails guiding, leading, and teaching; it involves caring, empowerment, and nurturing; it involves being sensitive to the child’s needs.
  • It’s Consistent, and it’s Always Nonviolent.
  • It provides open communication regularly.
  • It provides Affection, Emotional Security, Emotional Warmth, and Unconditional Love. It also recognises the positive aspects of life.
  • It takes into account the child’s developmental stage.
  • Accomplishments are rewarded.
  • It establishes boundaries.
  • It demonstrates empathy for the feelings of the child.
  • It promotes the best interests of the child.

A Look at the Research

Positive parenting has been shown to have short- and long-term effects on adaptive child outcomes in numerous studies. So, first, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Positive Parenting Research Team (PPRT) is involved in several research exploring the influence of positive parenting (Nicholson, 2019).

The following are some of the team’s research interests:

  • Positive parenting as a predictor of protective behavioural strategies 
  • Parenting style and emotional health; maternal toughness, coping, and social support in parents of chronically ill children, and other topics.

The ultimate goal of the PPRT is to encourage effective parenting behaviours in families.

Pettit, Bates, and Dodge (1997) looked at the impact of supportive parenting among parents of pre-kindergartners in seven-year longitudinal research. The warmth between mother and child, proactive teaching, inductive discipline, and positive involvement were all classified as supportive parenting. In addition, researchers compared this parenting style to a less supportive, more punitive method. When the children were in sixth grade, supportive parenting was linked to better school adjustment and fewer behavioural issues. Furthermore, supportive parenting reduced the detrimental effects of familial risk factors (such as socioeconomic deprivation, family stress, and single parenthood) on children’s eventual behavioural issues (Pettit et al., 2006).

The Gottman Institute also looked into the impact of positive parenting by creating a 5-step “emotion coaching” method to help children gain confidence and support healthy intellectual and psychosocial development.

Gottman’s five steps for parents include:

  1. Awareness of emotions
  2. Connecting with your child
  3. Listening to your child
  4. Naming emotions
  5. Finding solutions (Gottman, 2019)

According to Gottman, children who have “emotional coaches” have a more positive developmental trajectory than children who do not have emotional coaches. Furthermore, a Bath Spa University review of emotional coaching identified multiple favourable results for families that received emotional coaching, including parental perceptions of a 79 per cent improvement in their children’s positive behaviours and well-being (Bath Spa University, 2016).

According to a study, positive parenting is linked to different facets of good child development (many more examples of evidence supporting the benefits are positive parenting are described further in this article). Moreover, such results are neither transient nor inconsequential; they will last well beyond childhood. Another way to consider positive parenting’s role is in terms of resilience. Children who grow up with positive and supportive parents are considerably more likely to prosper than those who grow up with significant disadvantages.

Positive parenting reduces health and opportunity gaps by arming children with enormous reserves of emotional resilience in this way (Brooks, 2005; Brooks & Goldstein, 2001). And, since we know that positive parenting works, what parent wouldn’t want to learn how to employ it so that their child has the best chance at a healthy and happy life?

A Take-Home Message

Positive parenting is a proven method of child-rearing that works for almost all sorts of parents and children. This page offers a comprehensive collection of positive parenting studies and resources, to equip caregivers with the tools they need to avoid or address a wide range of potential issues. And, of course, to promote children’s well-being and growth.