Raising Bilingual Kids & Little Global Citizens

Bilingual Parenting

15 Positive Parenting Techniques Every Parent Should Know

What is Positive Parenting Tips

Last Updated on November 17, 2020 by Bilingual Kidspot

Positive Parenting Tips: What is Positive Parenting and why it is important?

What is Positive Parenting and why is it important? Positive parenting is an approach built on mutual respect.  According to author Debbie Godfrey, positive parenting techniques are “for parents who want to discipline their kids without breaking their spirit.”  But, what does this actually mean?

Brittany McCabe is a child development specialist, mom of two young kids, and a former preschool director. Brittany answers all of your questions about positive parenting including the following:

What is Positive Parenting?
Why is Positive Parenting Important?
What are some Positive Parenting Techniques.
She also shares 15 Positive Parenting tips!

What is Positive Parenting?

Positive parenting is a parenting approach built on mutual respect. Parenting built on mutual respect means we handle our children as individuals and not as our own property. As human beings with feelings and the ability to think, process, and make judgments on their own.

Long gone are the days of “because I said so” and “I’m your parent and that’s the way it is.” If we want our children to listen to our words, thoughts, and feelings, then we need to lead by example.

Why is Positive Parenting Important?

Children learn by modeling. If we model appropriate means of communication and handling conflict, then they too will learn how to communicate.  A child’s brain is wired to naturally think, question, and explore; it is our responsibility, as the parent, to facilitate this yearning to learn and figure the world out around them.

The very definition of discipline means to teach.

Positive parenting focuses on teaching your child the who, what, where, when, and why of a situation.

15 Positive Parenting Tips & Techniques

So now that you know the answer to the question “What is positive parenting and why is it important”, here are 15 positive parenting tips and techniques to help your parenting journey.


1. Consequences that make sense

Children need consequences. It is important for them to understand consequences to their actions, whether they be good or bad, positive or negative.

When we say something kind or encouraging to our friends, the consequences are a smile and feeling happy. When we push our friend, the consequences are, my friend gets mad at me and doesn’t want to play.

When we make consequences for our children’s actions to help teach them valuable lessons, they need to make sense.

Positive Parenting Tips:

If a child has not cleaned up when they were supposed to clean up and they were given clear instructions, warning, and timeframe, then a consequence that makes sense to that situation is having those toys removed for a while.

If a child hit someone or hurt someone, then an appropriate consequence would be to have that child help the other child feel better. Holding up an ice pack, getting them a band-aid etc.

If a child threw their meal down on the ground, telling them they can’t go outside because they threw their food down.

If a child ripped up someone’s artwork and saying they now can’t have dessert.

The reason our consequences should make sense to the incident that occurred is to help teach the child why we don’t throw our food or rip someone’s artwork. When their consequence follows suit, it helps to drives the message home.

2.  Validate, empathize, sympathize

Make sure your child knows that you have heard them. Validate what they want and how they feel. You will not be able to successfully get across your point unless they too feel respected.

Positive Parenting Tips:

If your child is crying because they want a popsicle, but dinner is in 15 minutes, first repeat them so they know you understand them:

Kids under three- “I want a popsicle!” “I hear you! When we eat our dinner, we can have our popsicle.” Your child will probably still be upset and that is understandable. Let them be. After a few minutes, try to distract them or have them get involved in something different.

Kids older than three, you could say “I see you really want that popsicle. I understand. We can have the popsicle just as soon as dinner is done.”

Children who have gained the mental insight to reason can have explanations and not be so heavily steered by distraction.

3. Talk at the child’s level

Physically, get down to their eye level. When speaking to your child eye to eye at their physical level, this shows compassion, sincerity, and respect.

Speaking at their eye level will also serve as a great tool in having them hear your words.

4. Explain & Help them learn from their mistakes

When we discipline our children, it’s important to explain why. Children need to learn from their mistakes. They need to understand the consequences of their actions.

Positive Parenting Tips:

“Sit on the chair because you can fall and get hurt if you stand”

“We use our hands for gentle touches because hitting hurts.”

If we just tell our children not to do something, without the why, we are missing the crucial teachable aspect of the instruction. If they stood on a chair when they should have been sitting, they fell, they have hurt themselves from standing.

Talk about it with them. For example, “Ouch! You have hurt yourself! When you stood on the chair, you fell and got hurt. We need to sit on the chair. When we sit, we won’t fall and get hurt.”

5. Communicate

Talk to your child like an individual. Use age-appropriate language. Do not assume your child is too little to understand.

Respecting your child is to communicate with them appropriately throughout the day. As an individual yourself, you enjoy knowing what will happen in your day, so you can plan and predict. You also like understanding why things occur. It helps us process our world around us.

Children are the same. Be open and communicative with your children throughout the day.

Positive Parenting Tips:

We are going to the store because we need to buy some tomatoes. You are such a great helper; can you help me pick them out? “

“When we get to school today, we will only have 5 minutes to play, then I will take you into the classroom and kiss you goodbye.”

By giving your child the information needed to predict their day, will greatly help eliminate tantrums.

6. Give them warnings

Along with communicating, we need to give our children warnings before the deadline; this will allow our children the time they need to mentally prepare.

As an individual, you would not like something sprung on you and expected it done right away, you would like a warning, as do children.

Positive Parenting Tips:

“In 5 minutes we will clean up our blocks and have dinner”

“After you color this page, we will need to get dressed for the day.”

Warnings are very helpful for children who have a difficult time with transitions.

7. Clear expectations of what is wanted

We want to set our children up for success, we want them to know what is expected of them and what we are looking for in their actions.

Positive Parenting Tips:

 “I need you to put your books away,” as opposed to “clean up.”

It is hard for children to read in-between the lines and it is hard for them to decode, we need to make instructions for them clear and simple. To make sure they clearly understand our instructions, have your children repeat you, or ask them about what you said, “What do you need to pick up?”

Brittany Lawless McCabe - Positive Parenting

8. Tell them what they should do as opposed to what they shouldn’t

This is a way of phrasing our instructions that take time to get used to. But this type of instruction and phrasing work better with how the human mind processes information.

Positive Parenting Tips:

Rather than saying “don’t hit your brother,” we should say “we use gentle touches with our brother.

Rather than saying “don’t throw your food,” we should say “food stays on our plate.”

When the brain hears “don’t throw your food,” the brain processes the “throw food” part before the “don’t” part.

A great example of this is the credit card machines at the store. Have you ever pulled your card out before you were supposed to? Yea, me too! That is because the message on the machine says “don’t remove your card.” Your brain processes “remove card,” before the “don’t.” The machine should say “keep your card in.”

Telling your child what they should do is clear and simple. Telling them what they should not do can be confusing for a developing mind.

9. Keep it positive

How we respond and act effects our children. If we are negative, it will rub off and affect their mood. If we try to maintain positivity, that too will affect how they think, feel, and respond to situations.

Introductions to new things/situations/people/occurrences and changes that happen will impact your child.

How you respond and handle these introductions and changes will greatly impact the way your child also responds.

It is important to remain positive and talk positively to our children who are going through new experiences.

For example, if they are starting school for the first time and you are projecting your fear onto them, then they will have a harder time adjusting to this new experience in their life.

10. Be consistent and keep your word

Children are smart, and they have good memories! They will learn very easily if you are not consistent and do not keep your word, and they will learn what they can get away with.

Positive Parenting Tips:

If you tell them “Be quiet with the books. If you are loud, you will not be able to look at books before bed.” You must follow through with it. Yes, sometimes it feels as though you are punishing yourself, but it is crucial for them to know your word means something.

When your child realizes you are full of empty threats, then it will be hard for them to listen to you in the future.

The same is true if you promise something special “If you have a good day at school, we will go to the park when I pick you up.” Keep your word. They will remember!

11. Be Loving and firm

It’s important to have a loving but firm tone throughout your parenting. A relationship built on mutual respect. Show them love throughout the day; both physical and verbal.

Positive Parenting Tips:

Give your child lots of hugs, kisses, embraces, rubs etc. expressing specific ways you love them: “I love coloring with you,” “I love going on walks with you,” “I am so happy when we read together.”

But be firm when disciplining them. Keep your word and follow through. If you tell them there will be a consequence for not listening, then follow through on the discipline. They will respect you for being loving, truthful, and trusting.

12. Use humor

Not everything has to be so serious. There have been so many tantrums I was able to nip in the bud because I joked around with my kid. Humor is important to use while parenting, it teaches your child to have a sense of humor, builds personality, and helps develop insight.

Parenting is something that you will be doing for a long time, make it fun and enjoyable for you and your children.

13. Let your child have a right to their feelings (they can scream and cry, explain an appropriate way to do so)

We don’t want to stifle our children. They should be able to express their thoughts and feelings and they should have a right to feel sad, mad, disappointed, and so on. However, it is our duty to teach them how to appropriately express this.

If you are in the store, your child needs to understand other people do not want to hear their screaming, it hurts people’s ears.

If you are at home, in their safe space, they should be able to express their emotions. But, make sure to set limits and guidelines.

It is certainly not appropriate for a child to be screaming for an hour because they are mad they didn’t get a cookie.

Sometimes, if a child is having a bad day, maybe they skipped a nap, and you sat with them for a while during their tantrum and they are still not letting up, you can say something like, “You are able to feel upset and you can keep crying if you want, but it’s really hurting my ears now, so I need you to go to your room.”

Having space for them to go to, where they can look at books or relax their body can be a positive retreat for them. Sometimes all they need is to be removed from their situation and it helps to calm them down.

14. Age appropriateness under three over three, examples

For children under three, we want to be very short and direct in our message. Cut out the fluff words. For example, “Biting hurts! Awch!”

For a child over 3, you can use more expressive language, “Our mouth is for biting food. When we bite our friends, it hurts their body. If you need help, ask your teacher.”

Of course, you can play around with this a bit. Your child will be able to understand many words at 2 and even more words at 2 and a half. You know what your child will be able to understand.

15. Keep your own feelings and judgments in check

If you have had a rough day and you need to take a minute to yourself. Do it. Find something to occupy the kids for 10 minutes and breathe.

Relax. You deserve it.

When we feel stressed, our children feel stressed. We will be unable to handle our children calmly if we really need a break.

I know those days. They happen quite a bit when you are a mommy to young children. But, it is important to remember, children learn by modeling. When we model appropriate behavior, they learn appropriate behavior. If we model how to self-regulate, then they learn how to self-regulate.

Positive Parenting Tips:

Communicate with them, say something like “Mommy is feeling a bit stressed right now, I need a few minutes to calm my body down. I am going to put on some music for you and your brother to dance to, while I sit on the couch for a minute and calm myself down. This will help me to feel better.”

Positive Parenting and Bilingual Kids

When it comes to positive parenting and children who are learning more than one language, it’s important to have patience and understanding. Language develops in phases; first to come is receptive language, that is what you understand, then comes expressive language, that is what is spoken.

When children are learning more than one language, they have more language to process before expressive language can come. Once your child does start to build vocabulary, it can still be difficult for them to access words when their emotions take over.

Once children gain better self-regulatory skills and maturity, they will better be able to express words in the desired language. Just remember to remain calm, positive, and encouraging. It is important to create an environment that is non-forceful and stress-free.

What is Positive Parenting? Mutual Respect

Positive parenting is all about having a relationship with your child that is based on mutual respect. If you treat your child with respect in terms of hearing them, validating them, communicating with them, inviting them to question, challenge, and think for themselves, then they too will respect you.

If we show our children how to effectively build and strengthen relationships based on the ones we have with them, then they too will learn these invaluable skills.

Recommended: Words of encouragement for kids

Looking for more tips on positive parenting?  Follow Brittany on her Facebook, or Pinterest where she has created a place for moms to learn, gather, and share.

Are you raising a bilingual child? Subscribe for related articles. Follow Bilingual KidSpot on Facebook and join our Private Facebook Group!.

Positive Parenting Tips for Parents

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.