Skeptical About Positive Parenting?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8 comments


To all of you lovely mamas and papas out there who have embraced this philosophy, shifted paradigms, and parent positively, I want to give a warm hug and a hello. But I'm writing this post tonight for the rest of you who may have stumbled here by accident, or who are here intentionally because you are curious but skeptical about this whole positive parenting thing.

I get it. I was skeptical, too.

Sit and have a virtual cup of tea (or whatever you prefer) with me. No judgments. No criticisms. Just open minds and tender hearts.

I'm a 33 year old mommy of 2 young boys.. They are my world. The day my first was born, I felt a whole new kind of love. Amazing, isn't it? I experienced it again with my second baby. Love in its purest and strongest form. Their laughter makes the world feel alright. And yes, sometimes they make me want to run around in circles screaming.

I want what's best for them, you know. I want them to grow up healthy and happy. I want them to have a good self-concept. I want them to make good choices, use good manners, not succumb to peer pressure, bad influences, or the words of a bully.  I want them to be successful, follow their dreams, aim high, and be surrounded by love. I want them to have joy and hold onto it. I want them to be able to bounce back from adversity. I want them to be satisfied with their lives.

I bet those hopes are not far off from what you want for your child(ren) too?

It might surprise you to know that I didn't start out a positive parent. I got some things right; I got some things wrong. I took parenting advice from popular parenting magazines and my doctors. They knew it all, right? I did form a strong attachment, always responded to their cries, met their needs, but as far as attachment parenting or positive parenting...never heard of it.

It wasn't until my baby became a toddler and I had to figure out how to "make him mind" that I stumbled across this philosophy. I didn't buy into it overnight, either. I didn't use physical punishment because that felt instinctively wrong to me, even though I'd experienced it in my own childhood, but I certainly dished out the time outs, the threats, the bribes, the withdrawal of toys. And it wasn't working.

That's why I started Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. Not because I had the answers, but because I was looking for them, and I figured if I was looking them, others were probably looking too, and I could share what I was finding.

And I found a lot.

My reaction at first to this philosophy was skepticism. "Yeah, that's going to work" I thought. *sarcasm* Yet, something I read struck a cord with me.

I was drawn to read more, and it started resonating with me, this idea that I could raise respectful, happy, well-rounded human beings without the punishments, adversities, constant power struggles, and rebellion, but through connection, attachment, relationship. I began to strip away the layers of ideals and misconceptions that my upbringing, my family, my culture had driven into me about how children should be raised.

It was a long process. I'm still working on it, to be honest. I'm still working on me.

There are a couple of things that skeptics or people resistant to positive parenting always say. One is that we are permissive and don't discipline our kids, and the other is that we are raising entitled brats who will either end up in prison or ruin society.

I want to make it clear that this is not, in any way, permissive parenting. We teach our children right from wrong.  We set boundaries and have age-appropriate expectations. We go to great lengths to instill discipline in our children. We have full understanding of the impact our parenting makes on society. In fact, that is why we parent the way we do. We are educated in early childhood development and the importance of attachment and how that shapes the brain. We know the value of empathy, of teaching emotional intelligence, and of setting an example. 

As for raising entitled brats? Well, my kids are only 7 and 5, like I said, but so far, so good. I know people who have raised children this way, and I don't think any of them are in prison. On the contrary, they seem to be doing pretty excellent. You can read some of their stories here. 

I mentioned this was a long process for me. Let me elaborate just a bit. At first I was skeptical. Then I began to understand the concept behind it and embrace that, but had no idea how to put it into practice. I thought it was all about what I couldn't do to my kids. With more reading and self-reflection, I began to realize it wasn't about what I couldn't do, but more about what I could do in terms of relationship. Then I got all caught up in focusing *only* on our relationship and wasn't doing much teaching. Teaching is essential, I soon learned, and so I began to find tools I could use, like time-in, games for teaching, problem-solving.  More recently, I've had another epiphany.

Positive parenting, at the very core of it, isn't about what you can and can't do in terms of disciplining, teaching, and guiding your kids. It isn't even about having the perfect relationship (as there will always be breaks and repairs; such is life). It's not about techniques or tools, whether or not to use time outs or time ins, consequences or problem-solving. All of those things stem from the practice of what is at the very core of this philosophy, but they are not THE philosophy itself. What it's really about is the way we view children, their emotions, their needs, their motives. It's about seeing them as human beings, worthy of respect and unconditional love, delicate, impressionable, who have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. When THIS sinks into your heart, the practice of positive parenting naturally flows from it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 

If you're truly interested in positive parenting, if the idea of this tugs at your heart, then I urge you to peel back your layers as well. It takes courage, and it's not easy. It can be scary, even. But what's the worst that could happen? You could find truth. You could find healing. You could find a peace that you never thought was possible. You could find contentment. You could cultivate a relationship with your kids that brings a great amount of joy to everyone. Or you could decide that it's all hogwash and go back to what you were doing before, but you never know until you open your heart and give it a chance.

We're not raising kids who run wild. We're raising kids who we are wild about, and they know it. And that feels pretty good, for all of us. <3

Have a lovely day. xx
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For more information:
Positive Parenting: What? Why? How?
Positive Parenting is NOT Permissive Parenting
Changing Your Mindset

Visit my book store for The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting and Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide for Putting Positive Parenting Principles into Action in Early Childhood.

Biggies and Smallies

Sunday, January 29, 2012 No comments
small is new big.

In The Discipline Book, Dr. William Sears addresses something that is very important in managing parents' stress levels: biggies and smallies.  Below is an excerpt from the book:
Divide your children's "misbehaviors" into smallies (nuisances and annoyances), which are not worth the wear and tear of getting angry about, and biggies (hurting self, others, or property), which demand a response, for your own sake and your child's. Next, condition yourself so that you won't let the smallies bother you. Learn to ignore "smallies" and concentrate on "biggies." A smallie is a behavior that is annoying but doesn't harm humans, animals, or property, or which even if uncorrected does not lead to a biggie. These childish irresponsibilities will self-correct with time and maturity. Harmless behaviors fade both as your tolerance level widens and as you avoid reactions that reinforce the behavior. Calling your child's attention to a smallie may intensify the habit or push him into a biggie. Focus on the biggies, and you'll be amazed how the smallies correct themselves. 
I've found it very helpful to think in terms of biggies and smallies. When my first child was a young toddler, I'd get out of sorts over everything, and I see many parents of young ones doing the same; getting upset with food being thrown on the floor, or a child repeating things over and over, or the child refusing to share. While it is certainly appropriate to teach our children what is right, realize that these little annoying behaviors are quickly passing and will end as your child grows.

I like to call it big picture parenting. I ask myself questions like "will this matter in a year, or 5 years?" "will he likely grow out of this if I do nothing?" and "is there a character-building lesson that can be learned from this?" and importantly, "why is this a trigger for me?"

If it drives you crazy for your toddler to tell you "no" then it will be helpful to look at your expectations of your toddler, think about why it drives you crazy, and ask yourself what you're afraid of. Many times, fear is at the root of our triggers. You may fear she will never listen to you, will grow to be very defiant if you don't "nip it in the bud", or perhaps you were just expected to be very obedient or face harsh consequences as a child, and so you are conditioned in this way.

Granted, some smallies are more annoying than others, like throwing food on the floor, or refusing to use the potty, but these are smallies nonetheless. As Dr. Sears says, smallies are annoying but do not harm anyone or anything, biggies are hurting self, others, or property. Smallies will self-correct with time and maturity.

Some ways to handle smallies are:
1. Ignoring the behavior completely. My child went through a phase where he licked his hands all the time. I thought it was completely gross, but the more I drew attention to it, the more he seemed to do it. I finally had to bite my tongue and let it go. He stopped soon after. I don't think he even realized he was doing it until I brought it up, and then it became a "thing." My advice is not to make these little annoyances into "things."

2. Correct and redirect. If your child is throwing food from his plate, you may say something like, "Food stays on the plate. You must not be hungry since you're throwing your food. I'll put the plate away, and we'll try again in a little while." Then move on to another activity. If she screams that she is hungry, give her back the plate for a second chance. If she throws again, repeat, then empathize when she cries she is hungry. "I know you say you're hungry, but you keep throwing it. I'll give you the plate when you're ready not to throw the food."  Don't pick it up 48 times, nag, threaten, or otherwise engage in a power struggle.

3. Back off. Your 2-1/2 year old refuses to use the potty. The more you try to make him, the more he resists, and you both get frustrated. Let it go and try again in a few months. My son, at age 3, was adamantly against using the potty. He would cry if I even asked him to try underwear. At 3 years and 2 months, he happily put on underwear and used the potty and hasn't worn a diaper since. Sometimes, they just need some time.

Biggies, remember, are when your child is hurting himself, others, or property. These behaviors should be addressed (keep age and development in mind) and given prompt attention.

Some ways to handle biggies are:
1. Time-in. If your 3 year old hits his brother, you take him into your lap or into your time-in or calm-down spot. You may say, "I understand you're upset, but no hitting. Hitting hurts. I'll help you calm down." Here you may utilize a calm down jar or read a book. Once he is calm, tell him what he MAY do when he is mad at brother.

2. Problem-solving. Let's say your 6 year old son broke his sister's toy on purpose. "Your sister is sad that you broke her toy. You'll need to replace it. What can you do to help buy her a new one?" He may or may not offer ideas. If he doesn't, brainstorm with him. If it's not imperative she get a replacement toy, then "What can you do to make it up to your sister?" If he's too angry or not listening, come back to the issue when he is calm, but he does need to take responsibility for his action.

3.  Natural consequences.  If your 10 year old leaves his skateboard out and it gets stolen, he no longer has a skateboard.

Don't let the smallies get to you, give attention to the biggies, but most importantly, give top priority to your relationship, which will make correcting the biggies much easier when they do come up.

29 Days of Play: February

Thursday, January 26, 2012 1 comment
Say it With Crayons


Ready for 29 more days of play this month? Here we go!!

1. Make a time capsule of their favorite things, and open it next February.

2. Make salt dough valentines! 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, food coloring optional.

3. Have an indoor picnic.

4. Make your own indoor hopscotch with masking tape on carpet/wood.

5. Watch a movie together. No distractions.

6. Bake valentines cookies or cupcakes, and let the kids do all the decorating!

7. Have an extra-special and playful bath time.  Here are some ideas.

8. Participate in 14 acts of love leading up to Valentine's Day.

9. Buy a new board game and have a game night! Here are some board game ideas.

10. Have a photo shoot. Include a silliest face contest for extra giggles.

11. Play "don't let it touch the ground" with balloons. Everyone gather around in a circle and try to keep the balloon from falling to the ground.

12.  While you have the balloons out, how about a game of balloon tennis?

13. Play a pretend game, such as doctor, grocery store, or astronauts.

14. Lava floor! Put some pillows or cushions on the floor. You have to make it across the room on the cushions without stepping in the "lava."

15. Instead of just reading a bedtime story, act it out. Be Goldilocks or the big bad wolf.

16. Make Popsicle or craft stick puzzles.

17. Do a craft, like this cute tree of hearts.

18. Have a dress-up party and see what kind of silly costumes your kids can come up with.

19.  Make a band. Use whatever you can find to make noise with, and put on a show.

20. Bundle up if you need to and head to the park for a little while, or take a nature walk.

21. Plan a pajama party. Everyone get in your pajamas early, order a pizza, and play a game or watch a movie.

22. Play hot potato.

23. Make homemade slushies together.

1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mix, any flavor
2 cups of water
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
4 cups ice

In a blender, combine Kool-Aid, water and sugar. Blend. Add all the ice and blend. That's it! 

Or go for smoothies for a healthier option.

24. Let your child pick today's play activity. 

25. Make homemade moon sand with 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of baby oil. It's messy, but kids love it!

26. Have a toy hunt. This game can be played indoors or outdoors, but we usually save it for a rainy day. Give a child a large basket and have her gather all of her plastic toy dinosaurs. Once she is convinced that she has them all, count them according to size (e.g., 11 large, 8 medium and 7 small). Then send the child into another room, close the door and have her stay there until called (older kids can count for themselves to 50 or 100 - enough time to hide the toys). While the child is behind closed doors, hide all the dinosaurs around the house in plain view. Once they are all hidden, give the child the basket and send her off on her dinosaur hunt. When she thinks she has found them all, she has to count them again to be sure. It generally takes anywhere from 20-45 minutes to find and recount them all. You could certainly use stuffed animals or some other favorite set of toys.

27. Create snacklaces.  Thread cheerios, fruit loops, or pretzels onto yarn or string.

28. Make a bird feeder. Take an empty toilet paper tube and spread peanut butter all round the outside edge of the tube. Roll the peanut butter tube in bird seed. Cut a piece of yarn that is about 12 inches long. Attach it to each end of the tube to make a way to hang the tube onto a tree. Watch for the birds to come!

29. Print this leap year coloring page for your kid to color. 

Calm Down Travel Bag

Sunday, January 22, 2012 3 comments
We have our calm down box at home, but sometimes (okay, fairly often) my kids get upset when we're out. So, today I made a trip to the dollar store and bought a small jar, balloons, and Play Doh.

I made a small I Spy jar, which is the travel version of our calm down jar. I figure if they focus their minds on looking for things in the jar, it's the same as focusing on the swirling glitter. I just added some colored rice and a few little items to spy.


Then, I just had to make the cute little stress ball balloons I saw here. Just fill balloons with Play Doh and draw faces on them.  I made 2 for our calm down box at home, and 2 for the travel bag.



I put the small I spy jar, a stress balloon ball, and a small paper tablet inside a Ziploc bag and tossed the bag in my purse. Now I have tools to help my kids calm down no matter where we are.


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5 Healthy Responses to Children's Emotions

Image Source


There was an article released in September 2011 outlining 5 healthy responses to a child's natural emotions. The article is fantastic and can be viewed in full here. I would just like to elaborate on the 5 healthy responses mentioned in the article, which are:

  1. Recognize the emotion. 
  2. Increase intimacy with emotion.
  3. Listen for and validate emotion.
  4. Label emotion.
  5. Set limits with emotion.
How do you put this into practice? Let's go through a couple of scenarios.

Scenario One: Your 2 year old daughter is having a tantrum in the store because you won't buy her a specific toy. She is so upset, she begins to throw things out of your cart.

1. Recognize the emotion. What is your daughter feeling at this moment? Anger. Frustration. Disappointment. Just take a moment to breathe and put yourself in her little shoes. 

2.  Increase intimacy with emotion. Empathize with what your child is feeling. No feeling is ever bad, wrong, or unacceptable. When you empathize, you can use this as a moment to connect with your child on a deep level. "I know it can be upsetting to not get what you want."

3.  Listen for and validate the emotion. "I understand that you're upset. I see how upset you are. You really want that toy."

4.  Label emotion. "You're angry that I can't buy you that toy."

5.  Set limits with emotion. "I understand that you feel angry. I will help you with those feelings, but I can't let you throw things." If you need to remove her from the cart and sit on a bench with her for a few minutes (or on the floor), do so. Don't worry about who's watching. You're teaching your child emotional intelligence! 

This lets your child know that her feelings matter, that you understand her, that you accept her, bad feelings and all, and also sets the limit on how to act out her feelings. 

This isn't mentioned in the article, but I will add that it's a good idea to carry a little calm down jar or I Spy jar in your purse, or a tablet and pencil for drawing out feelings, whatever helps your child to calm down, and a stress ball. It's not really about distracting them away from the emotion but rather about validating the emotion and helping them return to balance. I love the stress balls in the link. She can pick out her feeling from the faces on the balls, and then "squeeze her mad out" instead of throwing things out of your cart.

Scenario Two: Your 12 year old son found out that his "best friend" was talking about him behind his back. He had a big fight with his friend. He's visibly upset about the incident.

1. Recognize the emotion. What is your son feeling? Betrayed. Sad. Angry. Hurt.

2.  Increase intimacy with emotion. Empathize with him. Pre-teen squabbles seem like small stuff in our adult world filled with "real" problems, but this is a big deal to him. Acknowledge that.

3.  Listen for and validate the emotion. Talk to him. At 12, you don't have to guess. He can tell you how the incident made him feel. "I hear that your friend really hurt your feelings."

4.  Label emotion. "You're angry that he betrayed you like that, and sad that you feel like you've lost your friend."

5. Set limits with emotion. In this case, unless he's threatening retaliation or doing something inappropriate, there is no need to set a limit. 

I wish it said set limits with acting out emotion instead of set limits with emotion. You can't set a limit on an emotion, it is what it is, all you can do is teach him how to get through his emotions. Of course, if he's threatening to start a rumor on his friend, or punch him in the face, you'll have to set a limit and help him brainstorm better ways to deal. "I know you feel like punching him for hurting you like that. What would happen if you punched him? Violence is never the answer. What might you do to make things right? What would make you feel better?" 

"In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships." - John Gottman


The Right Way to Parent?

Saturday, January 14, 2012 4 comments
Smile

There is certainly no shortage of articles telling us all what not to do as parents, yet few offer concrete advice on what we should do. As a parent, I know how frustrating it can be to have all of your tools yanked away because they're all "wrong" and then being left feeling like you're adrift on this big sea without a paddle. (No pun intended.)

I was there once, too. I had this exact realization.
Okay, spanking is bad. Definitely bad. Now time outs are bad too. Wait, all punishments are bad. Oh, and imposed consequences? Not a great idea. So what's left?
Can you relate?

If you're floating adrift out there, let me throw you a lifesaver. Well, its more like arm floaties and a map, but just stick with me. I'm going to give you some tools you can start using now to replace your time outs, threats, and taking away privileges, but I'm not going to give you concrete advice on what to do either.

Sorry.

Here's the thing. The reason why there are so many articles available telling us what not to do is because there's been a ton of research in child development over the past few decades, and we've learned a lot about the adverse affects of traditional parenting methods. The reason we don't have a lot of concrete advice on what to do instead is because just about EVERYBODY is still trying to figure that out, and honestly, the ones who have it figured out and are telling us about it aren't telling us what we want to hear, because what they're saying is "this takes a lot of inner work and a lot of navigating the unknown until you find your course" and that frustrates us because we want quick fixes NOW.  We don't want to have to do the work. It's hard to examine ourselves, examine our triggers, our faults, our beliefs. It's hard to change.

So here's where I have good news and bad news. Bad news first. I cannot tell you what to do that is going to work 100% of the time, or probably even 90% of the time. Neither can anybody else. Good news! You don't have to be spot on 100% of the time, or 90%, and, even better news, it's really, really, honest and truly NOT about discipline. Don't be stressing out about how to discipline your kids the "right way" because 1) there is no "right way" so get out of the hamster wheel, and 2) there are so many things that go into parenting that are way more important than how you discipline. Here are 10 of them. 

I'm not going to leave you hanging! Of course guidance and correction are important. Don't make the mistake I did and say "Well, guess I can't do anything that won't harm them, so I just won't do anything." Yes, I was Mrs. Permissive for a little bit. Those were my "adrift" days. I can tell you that is not the way to go. Chaos. Not good.

Here come the arm floaties.

Instead of time out, try:

1. The calm down corner.  This is a calming area for your child to go to when he's dysregulated, upset, out of sorts, or just plain mad. This is not intended to be a punishment or a soft form of time out. The idea is to get your child's nervous system calmed down so he can then process the situation and accept your correction. It's optional for the child to go to the calm down corner, however, it should be encouraged, and you can encourage this a few different ways. 1) Model. When you get upset, go to the calm down spot, shake the jar, read a book. Hey, I use ours! 2) Go with your child. Get the book out and read to her. Shake the jar and talk about the glitter swirling with her. This is going to calm her down faster. Each time you aid your child in calming down, you strengthen her neural connections to help her calm herself down. 3) Never make the calm down corner feel like a punishment. Don't yell at your child to get the to calm down corner NOW! Make it a safe, inviting place. Put things in the box that are special and unique for your child.

We've had the calm down corner for a little while now, and when things start to get heated, my 5 year old says "I think I need my calm down jar. Mom, do you need yours too?"  It works!

2. Time-in.   From the article: Time-In
  • The adult invites the child to the time-in place. (However, a child who has lost control and presents a danger to others may need help getting to the time-in place.)
  • Time-in is time together. It promotes a cooperative partnership between adult and child, during which communication remains open.
  • Time-in focuses on regaining peace between all concerned, rather than on right or wrong. It assumes that the undesired behavior feels unpleasant enough in itself without adding to that pain.
  • Time-in is time to regain connection, balance, centeredness, and mutual well-being.
  • Time-in shows the adult's willingness to help the child. It shows that the adult's ultimate love and care of the child are unconditional and unphased by any undesired behavior.
  • Time-in is about feeling good. Children are invited to time-in as a positive reinforcement of the adult and child's caring relationship.
Instead of threats, try:

1. Choices. Give away power where you don't need it. I read that somewhere, and it's good advice. Kids like to have some control over their lives. Making choices for themselves is all different kinds of good for little ones. Instead of "If you don't eat your peas, you get no dessert!" you might try "Would you like peas or corn tonight?" Don't want to offer a different item on the menu? No problem. Even choosing a different chair or they're own utensils may make a big difference in compliance. 

2. Games. You're at the park, it's time to go, you've told your child it's time to go, and surprise, he's going back up the slide. Instead of saying "If you don't get in the car now, we won't be coming back to the park again!" try "I'll race you to the car!" That works for me! Or instead of "If I have to tell you again to pick up this mess, I'm putting it all in a garbage bag and sitting it on the corner!" try a beat the timer game, or who can pick up the most the fastest. 

3. Humor. Many times, being silly will break the tension, dissipate the power struggle, and put everybody in a better mood. When people laugh together, it opens up channels of connection and cooperation. 

Instead of "made up" consequences, try:

1. Problem-solving.  Throw the word "consequence" entirely out of your vocabulary and replace it with the term "problem-solving." Do you see how this changes the whole concept in your mind? Now it's not about coming up with something to do to your child, but it's about working with your child to find a solution. Having your child involved in the problem-solving process will not only teach him valuable lessons and instill self-discipline, but it will leave his dignity intact, and he'll feel good about himself and his relationship with you.

2. Natural consequences. These are things that happen naturally as a result of your child's action without any interference from you at all. If it's chilly outside and your tot refuses to wear a jacket, disengage from the power struggle and let her go without her jacket. She'll figure out that's not a good idea pretty quick. I'd bring the jacket along for when she gets cold and asks for it, but I'm a softie that way.

3. Logical consequences. Most often, the above 2 are the better way to go, but if you need a third option, logical consequences are consequences that are directly related to the misbehavior. For example, if your child throws a toy at her sibling, take away that toy. If your son is horsing around and breaks your mother's collector's plate, he can do chores to earn the money to pay her back. Remember to deliver these with empathy and be kind!

I hope these are helpful. I believe I mentioned arm floaties and a map.  These practical tools are going to help you on your journey, but they're not going to get you to your destination. This is the part where you're going to have to do the inner work. 

A map tells you where you should go, right? Here are some great places to "go" that will help you with the inner work.

Lu Hanessian is very inspirational in helping parents make the "parent-digm" shift. Check out her site.  

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves is a book that is going to help you with the inner work as well. 

Changing Your Mindset is an article I wrote about how to begin the process of switching from fear-based parenting to love-based parenting.

TEACH Through Love is another great resources. There are great affordable classes and free audios.

AhaParenting is one more incredible resource. The answer to practically all of your parenting questions can be found on this site. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent reading through Dr. Laura's articles.

Good luck out there, and hey, don't forget to enjoy the ride.



Keeping Your Faith in Positive Parenting

Friday, January 6, 2012 5 comments
Mom and son

When things are going smoothly, it's easy to say "Yes! Positive parenting really works!" You feel confident in your decision to raise your child this way and confident in your abilities as a parent.

But what about when things aren't going smoothly? What about when your child is acting up despite your positive guidance? That's not supposed to happen, is it?

Positive parenting is not a magic fix. It doesn't guarantee that there won't be conflicts, misbehavior, and difficult times. Inevitably, no matter how great you model, how gentle your guidance, and how connected your relationship, there will arise times of conflict and disconnect. It may be tempting during these times to give up and resort to more punitive or authoritarian parenting. You may say to yourself, "This clearly isn't working! I need to try something else!" It is in these troublesome times that your values and principles are really put to the test.
A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown
As much as I wholeheartedly believe in this philosophy, we aren't the perfect family. I'm not a perfect positive parent. I have had my doubts as well. I have faltered. There have been times during conflict when I've wanted to resort to punitive parenting again. It's so easy to take away a privilege or send a kid to his room. Sometimes it's not so easy to figure out what the need behind the behavior is and address it. Sometimes it's not so easy to repair the rift.

But I want to encourage you (and me) to stay the course.  Have faith that your relationship will prevail above all. Know that this bend is not the end, that if you repair the disconnects, offer unconditional love, guide with gentleness and respect, and keep confidence in yourself and in your child, everything will work out for the good.

Keep the big picture in mind. Remember that we aren't raising cookie-cutter children, but compassionate and capable adults. Keep in mind why you chose this path. Remember that, in the end, all we have are relationships, so do what you can to stay connected, because we know our true influence comes through that connection.

I always find it encouraging to hear from parents who have raised children with positive parenting. Here is what some of these parents have to say:
There are three adults walking around who were raised on the philosophy of positive parenting (my three children 37, 29, 27). My relationship with them today is as it was when they were growing up - respectful, loving, trusting, secure and fun. Another payoff is to not only watch the relationships they have with others but also to watch the relationship they have with their self. Their level of self awareness is strong. But the best outcome of PP - to watch them use positive parenting instinctively with my grandchildren. There is no greater reward or peace of mind. I could go on and on about the benefits..
As a high school teacher, I can always tell which of my students have been raised with PP and which haven't. The ONLY kids who get in fights are the ones who haven't been PP'd. Those who have been PP'd are far more apt to take responsibility for their actions, they are happier on a more consistent basis (you know, they're teenagers, so they all have their angst from time to time), they have an easier time communicating with adults, and they just have an inner-confidence that shines through in every move they make.
My daughter is 17 and I have always used positive parenting. She is confident, loving, content, compassionate, loyal,  and honest. She has excelled in sports and academics as the words" I can't" don't exist. She is an excellent "winner" but an even better "loser" when it comes to competition. She has been such a pleasure from day one and I'm proud to be called her mom.  She also knows that I will take on the world for her and vice versa. 
I have a nearly sixteen year old daughter who has come through her difficult initial adolescent years with us only having had one big issue that was resolved through being open and discursive. Not seeing her thoughts and feelings as a problem, but a reality... in fact a huge reality as often teenagers are feeling intense feelings for the very first time! She is now one of the most beautiful people I know, she will hear her friends problems and even ask for help when she needs if she is upset by something going on. I am one of the luckiest mums in the world to have her emerge and grow into my friend who will even offer me a hug when I seem down as she has empathy and recognizes me as a human being. She holds herself to account for her schoolwork, her behavior and it is very very rare we have to assert boundaries. I am so proud of her and in some way, of us as her parents as we have always been mindful that we do not "have a child" We were helping an adult to grow.
The biggest impact I see with my 18 year old is that despite his challenging oppositional behavior we have remained connected, and thus I have maintained influence in his still developing self. As long as I can still influence him with wisdom, love, and knowledge, he can keep growing toward the light.