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“Positive Parenting"

Author: Dr. Shobha G.

Associate Professor of Human Development - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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It is every parent’s wish to have a smart, intelligent and responsible child. Research on family communication has repeatedly confirmed the fact that we spend very little time actually talking positively with our children. Our talk is more often a command or a complaint or a negative remark. A look at the labels we ascribe to children in our daily life- ‘careless’, ‘dumb’, ‘irresponsible’… too confirms this. But, do you think the child can actually think of being ‘smart, when he is actually being labeled ‘dumb’? Or think of being ‘careful’ when he is being labeled ‘careless’? People believe in the labels put on them and actually go on to prove the label right. So, if you want your children to think positive and be positive, label them right and do more of positive talking. Or use ‘Positive reinforcement’

What is Positive Reinforcement?

  • Positive reinforcement is a simple technique that can help turn one’s behaviour around. It is a method to increase a particular behaviour through a variety of verbal or written rewards. In other words positive reinforcement concentrates on what the child is doing right rather on what the child is doing wrong. It increases the likelihood that the behaviour will be repeated. It supports positive deeds and qualities through enthusiasm, descriptive encouragement and natural logical rewards.
Blow off the negative labelling.
Labelling is disabling.

How to be a positive parent?

  • Practice being positive, develop positive attitude
  • Make a list of all the things your child does right or well, however small it is and appreciate him for that.
  • Frame the positive behaviour in a positive terminology. Appreciate genuinely.
  • Notice how the behaviour of even a ‘misbehaving’ child is correct at times and appreciate the child for that.
  • Blow off the negative labelling. Labelling is disabling.

Nature of appreciations

  • Keep your appreciations very specific. General encouragement like ‘you are a great kid’ is an empty praise, unless you mean it. Instead be more specific like ‘you have watched less TV today and completed your home work on time. I appreciate you for that’.
  • Appreciations must be immediate and sometimes deliberate but sincere-from the heart. Please remember it is easier to deal with honest rejection than insincere appreciation.
  • Never qualify your praise with a but. ‘I love you but…’ and ‘….but ‘I love you’ are the same three words but where you place the word ‘but’ matters a lot.
  • Focus on improvement and appreciate the effort, not just the result.
  • Watch your words and your actions. Don’t worry that children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you. It is said that “children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them”.

Life offers no greater opportunity, no greater privilege than the raising of the next generation. This privilege has come your way; invest today. Give your children the gift of love, confidence and positive strokes, because ‘it is far easier to bring up strong children, than to repair broken men’. Happy Parenting.


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