Friday, April 07, 2017

The Power of Positive Parenting

When I was a kid, my mom, like most of my friends' moms, would threaten me by wishing upon me a kid just like me.  I never considered that much of a threat.  If the kid was just like me, I’d know how to deal with him.  Now, a kid like my mom or one of my sisters, that scared me.  Now, as a parent, I sometimes see myself in my kids, but mostly not, and parenting is a huge responsibility with a lot of good moments, fun times with kids, but also a few moments of fear as one realizes that one doesn't have the answers to all that life seems to throwing at us.

Book cover.The Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn I. Latham (ISBN: 1-56713-175-1) doesn't have all the answers either, but after reading it together with my wife, we decided that it has many of the answers, and even where it doesn't it tends to point the reader in the right direction.  The book is full of guidance on how to deal with all kinds of different behaviors that children (and adults) engage in.  There are sections for younger kids, for teenagers, for small problems, for sibling rivalry, and for larger, more destructive behaviors.  There are a couple over-arching themes in the book that course through the suggestions for each kind of problem.  One is to ignore things that doen't really cause any harm since most people just want attention and will take it however they can get it.  Igoring kids’ whining, for example, is the most effective way to get them to stop.  The other thing that was presented over and over was the need to positively reinforce good behavior.  Default parent settings seem to be set to find negative behavior and call it out.  What about the good?  Fidning and reinforcing good behavior gives kids the attention they need and teaches them that good behavior will be rewarded.

I recognize that God has all the answers when it comes to parenting, but I also believe that God helps those who help themselves, so I have to do all I can first.  This book is one of those things.  My wife and I have tried to implement many of the strategies taught in this book and plan on reading through it again.  As always, some days are more successful than others, but when we catch ourselves implementing the strategies we liked from the book, things really do go smoother around the house.  We have found so many behaviors that are eligible for ignoring instead of attention.  We also find ourselves trying harder to be patient, react to things calmly, and provide positive feedback on all the things that the kids do right.  The book was written in the late 1980s, and you can feel that in the language used, but the science behind it is strong, and would recommend it to anyone involved in the sacred role of parent.

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This work, including all text, photographs, and other original work, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License and is copyrighted © MMXIV John Pruess.

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