How Do Your Kids Get Attention? What is Positive Parenting?

happy mom and kids
Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

I have run across the phrase “positive parenting” several times in my work at Mommybites, parenting magazines and websites. It seems like an interesting topic and, hey, who wouldn’t want to be a positive parent? As I worked through the developmental stages of my first daughter, I knew the parenting style my parents had used on me was not going to work for my child or me. I read many discipline, personality-analysis, and parenting-strategy books to help me find a realistic way my spouse and I can parent our children; ah, the self-help-book generation. I had tired of all the diametrically opposite opinions on how to parent my children and pledged to my friend I was going to have a parenting book burning party. She laughed (she doesn’t have children). So my search for good advice overwhelmed me and I quit the active hunt and passively picked up anything I could from watching other parents.

Recently I was approached by a friend who knew someone starting a Positive Parenting seminar via teleconference. I checked out the information and queried the founder enough to know it couldn’t hurt for me to listen in and see what this positive parenting thing was all about (I’m a sucker for self-help- sigh). So I was granted access to listen to six weeks of parenting lectures lasting one hour per week and in turn promised I would blog about what I heard and what I thought. So here goes…

The teleconference is taught by Simi Yellen, a parenting teacher of seven years, as well as a mom of SIX CHILDREN (ummm, should I doubt her sanity???)! The first session was titled “How do kids get attention in your house?” I can’t give my personal answer to that question because I haven’t the slightest clue how they do. I don’t live in a mansion and I couldn’t ignore my children if I wanted to. They are just always there and we spend our days coexisting to the point of there being NO privacy until we are all sleeping (and even that is debatable). I dialed into the conference call eager to see what I was missing and if I was indeed going to kick myself for going down another self-help road.

Simi began the conference call by saying she is going to help us get tremendous clarity to our parenting styles. Straight away I knew she wasn’t from NYC because she was talking about planting and growing trees. But she did have a point in that we need to nurture/support our children’s strengths and make sure those strengths are utilized. OK, I do this. One of my children is “creative” and outspoken. Anyone who knows her can see these traits straight away. So I mustn’t be squelching (her word) them. I’ll work on the utilization part.

According to Simi, our parenting job is 3-fold: unconditionally love your child (because no one else is going to do it), accept your child (the good, the bad, the ugly), and give your child’s tools/character traits a stage to shine on. Again, a bit of self-reflection: check, check (do I have a choice) and question mark. I guess the extracurricular activities and the Montessori school were chosen as the best place for my child to “shine.” It seems as if I’m some sort of positive parent and I don’t even know it!!! Excitement builds…

And to end the session (there is TONS of stuff I left out; just giving my highlights) I was told our goal of this who six-week session is get our children to be internally motivated to do the right thing. Apparently our children don’t come to us with the internal motivation to do right. We have to teach this and our children want their needs to be met in a positive way and THEN they will find pleasure in doing the right things. I’m in complete agreement with wanting my children to “do the right thing” because THEY want to do it. So in my next session I’m learning about creating a positive atmosphere. Overall I guess I had heard these things said before. I am excited to see if I will be given some concrete tools to help me build this “Spike Lee” characteristic in my children. I like theory, but “theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless.”

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