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Stick or carrot? It’s a much easier equation to balance when it actually applies to a donkey. When it comes to our children things are inevitably more complicated.

Positive parenting is a multi-faceted approach that leans towards preventing and managing negative behaviour rather than punishing it.

Below are a few things that you can try out right away – 

1. Be honest about overusing rewards

Sometimes we find ourselves bribing our children to behave in the way that we want. Sweets, TV time, gaming and the rest of it.

This is often due to being desperate, exhausted or just in a difficult spot. We’re not saying that we can help you eradicate that stuff entirely but here’s why we think it’s important to stay on top of it.

Any tactic can be overused but this one can lead to building the wrong kind of relationship with your children.

You want your children to behave appropriately for the situation not only to avoid embarrassment but also just because you want them to grow up to be sane and reasonable socially aware people!

Having them behave that way just because there is a material reward does kind of miss the point.

2. Mistakes are an opportunity for growth

Making mistakes in any process is an inevitable part of it. This includes parenting but also the process of growing up!

When your child makes a mistake, rather than chastising, criticising or shaming them. It’s vital to talk to them about what went wrong and what they’ve learned.

Calling somebody stupid never helps them grow and become smarter more resilient people.

3. Set routines and be consistent

Being consistent is really important for managing your child’s emotional states. Set routines that allow them to experience a range of activities and levels of excitement.

Children of most ages lack the ability to recognise and adjust patterns of behaviour and feelings. So as parents we have to do that for them.

For instance, charging around the house at 100mph is not desirable behaviour but they need to burn off their energy somewhere! So build a routine that allows them to do that in a constructive and appropriate way.

After-school sports clubs are great. If your child is a little shy or socially anxious then initially find an activity that you can do with them so that they don’t feel alone or nervous in those situations.

Everyone is different but we all have roughly the same needs and facilitating those needs is a big part of parenting.

4. Do some digging and find the root of the problem

As we all know, children and adults alike often act with a subtext of private thoughts and intentions. Understanding what’s at the root of acting out will really help you to help your child.

For instance, if you serve your child something for dinner that they don’t care for, there are a number of ways that can go. If they throw it against the wall and scream at you, it doesn’t take a clinical psychologist to figure out that this is about more than just dinner.

Nobody knows your children better than you but there still may be things they’re experiencing that are not always immediately obvious. Have a bed time talk when they are more relaxed and responsive or speak to their teachers, do some investigating.

It can be hard not to react to things in the moment but remaining calm is almost always the best thing you can do.

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