South Africa – At some point we all will end up being parents and every parent wants to bring their child up right. Positive parenting is about having a loving, fulfilling relationship with your child, and bringing out the best in them.
Parenting is a blessing in its own way. It has its ups and downs, but it is a beautiful journey. Parenting is essentially moulding a child and giving them an identity, explained Nakitah-Leigh Geemooi, Professional Psychologist.
Why positive parenting is important
It is not an easy task but the way a child is brought up instils certain habits in them that cannot be changed. Positive parenting is important because it has the potential to impact society, explained Geemooi. Children are undoubtedly the future and how they turn out can impact how the future will be.
“I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that good parenting is essential to achieve some of the biggest hopes that we have. Even as an international community that we strive to accomplish … We really prevent our children from walking in the feeling they deserve if we are bleeding all over them because we’re choosing an alternative other than positive experiences.”
The three F’s of parenting
The goal of parenting is to teach kids self-discipline and good habits. For effective parenting, one has to abide by the three F’s which are, firm, fair and friendly. These three are utilised to teach a child about the consequences of their actions and to help parents to remember to be fair with their punishments. First, we have to deal with our own emotions, trauma and then we can effectively communicate with our children, said Geemooi.
“Being able to communicate to children and give them an understanding of why it’s important that certain things should be done in a certain way. It is also about being consistent. It is something that helps with being firm and reinforcing these things. You can certainly enforce the rules and give the same communication across all the time to solidify and reinforce what it is that you want your child to internalise.”
It is important to not crush our children with our words
We have been around far longer than our children. We also have experienced so much more than them. Sometimes, with the knowledge that we have, it can make us feel frustrated when our children do something wrong. In these moments, it is important to choose our words carefully, Geemooi stressed.
“Our children deserve for their dignity to be preserved and protected as much as others. Being scolded in a condescending way makes them feel crushed. I think many parents struggle with it because again there is no right way of parenting. I think it’s important that we’re able to slow down to consider their actions and certain responses. We process that thought sometimes it allows us to reflect on the action of our words that might damage the child. It might compromise their ability to build a relationship.”
Having a united front
Positive parenting might not always work out. Sometimes a child might not respond to it as you hoped they would. In this case, parents should look at themselves and see if they are presenting a united front and how they behave in front of their kids, said Geemooi.
“How united as a front are mom and dad when enforcing discipline and rules and structure and being firm. Do they have the same concept and idea and understanding of what is firm? What does love look like? Are we able to consistently reflect that back to our children such that they internalise the consistent picture? Sometimes you find conflict or minor disagreements between parents on how parenting should be done. These send mixed signals to children and so children don’t pick up on a consistent message.”
It is not about getting it perfect
Everyone wants to be the perfect parent. However, that can never be the case. As a parent you will mess up from time to time. We might think it is not good for our child to see but Geemooi disagrees.
“It’s okay to be vulnerable and to let your children see your weaknesses and your mess ups as much as you can. It’s okay to let them know that you’re figuring things out as much as they are figuring things out. None of that means that you are less competent as a parent. None of that means that your children fail.”
The most important thing is having a strong relationship with your children. If one has that, it doesn’t matter how many times you stumble and fall. You can always find a way to find each other because the love and relationship is genuine. The key to good parenting is communication and building a loving relationship with our children.