This is a post that quite possibly will transform the rest of your life. Positive parenting isn’t just a fun Pinterest search term, it’s a practical, science-based, effective approach to parenting. If you struggle with spending too much energy yelling and arguing with your kids you must join Ralphie from Simply On Purpose and me to show you how to take your intentional parenting to the next level to transform your home and life.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
We have an incredible guest interview for today’s post with Ralphie Jacobs, a positive parenting expert. This interview is something I’ve wanted to have for two years now. So read on and soak it all up.
Meet Ralphie Jacobs from Simply On Purpose
Chelsi: I’m dying to know how did positive parenting come to be in your life? What is your back story?
Ralphie: I grew up in a unique situation. I have a large family of six brothers and two sisters and grew up with my dad being in a wheelchair. My mom ended up going back to work and got a Ph.D. in child psychology. So I really respect the struggle of health, physical or behavioral.
My mom was always teaching the difficult kid and she wanted them in our house. I was going with her to parenting classes and had a lot of unique experiences. I then went to school for early childhood education so really my true passion is children. I love toddlers and I’m good at that.
But the real learning began when I had my own children, especially when my oldest got into her preteens. It became difficult for me and there was a big gap between where I was performing and where I wanted to be performing.
So, I dug even deeper into parenting, I dug into brain science and how we can help our children grow up in an environment that really supports healthy brain growth. It was fascinating to me, connecting all these dots. I realized there wasn’t a conversation out there about this so I started teaching locally and it grew like wildfire.
It has just been a wild success. I think as parents we are desperate for skills and for a way to help our child build a microcosm of the outside world in a low-risk way that is unconditionally founded on love. With the knowledge that we have on how our brains work, we can no longer just rely on what our parents did. We know better so we can do better.
What is Positive Parenting?
Chelsi: You know it’s just beautiful to look back and see how all the little pieces of your life end up weaving the most beautiful tapestry of who and what you’re supposed to be. All of those things that you went through have just turned into such a huge blessing for so so many people.
All of you please make sure that you just eat up everything on Ralphie’s Instagram. There’s so much to learn there. In all of your reels and all of your videos, there is so much knowledge about the actual mechanisms of what’s happening inside your children’s brains and our brains.
I worked with special-needs children forever throughout high school and college. When I had my own kids I saw so many similarities in defusing conflicts that we used inside the classroom for these children that worked marvelously.
I was not raised in a house using love and logic parenting but I knew that I wanted it for my family. I started taking sticky notes and I would put them all over my house to retrain my language cues because I wanted to parent differently. It’s exactly what you just said, we can’t rely on what our parents used to do.
But if you could encapsulate what positive parenting is and what it does for you and for your family what would you say?
Ralphie: Also as a side note the word discipline really does have like a negative emotional connection to it. For some reason, we learned along the way that the way to teach our children is through pain. But that’s not the healthiest and best form of discipline.
Discipline means to teach. The best way to teach your child is through your gentle model and through a supportive environment that supports their behavior. So you basically completely change your identity as a parent. If you decide to be a positive parent you change from being The Enforcer, The Warden, The Stopper of All Bad Behavior to this new identity that is The Giver of All Good Things.
You work to add to your child’s life rather than to take. You start with what they’re good at and you build from there. That’s really the gist of what positive parenting is. It’s changing your identity. You can speak to the best in your child rather than the worst.
Myths of Positive Parenting
Chelsi: So interesting. Oh my gosh, I have so many things but to start with a question I hear all the time is: “So does this make your children soft?”
Ralphie: Oh yeah I hear that all the time or “Isn’t that permissive parenting?” or “Hey Ralphie, that’s not the real world.”
It’s not our job to toughen our kids up. Our job is to create and foster a life for our children that makes them kind and that they learn to look at things in a positive light. That’s a skill that our world desperately needs. Our job is to raise children who make the world better.
I also don’t believe that is permissive parenting at all. Permissive parenting is parenting that you don’t have any real demands or boundaries for your child. There’s no rules or you just don’t really want to engage because it’s easier.
Positive parenting is one where there are strong boundaries. It’s a form of authoritative parenting in which you value matureness over obedience, you value choice over obedience. You value their ability to learn through their choices.
You are still the authority in the home and you’re the Information Giver and you are the Reality Creator in the home. You create boundaries and an environment that is founded on mutual love and cooperation and respect. So it’s very different than permissiveness.
You’re not being permissive when you choose not to engage or when you talk to your child at their eye level and have a conversation with them so that they’re learning. What you’re doing is you’re using your knowledge of how a brain grows and develops to decide how to engage and interact with wisdom and knowledge behind you.
It’s All About Your Behavior
Chelsi: Wow there is so much to unpack. Here is my back story, I was a single mom for a while and that’s when I really chose to change the parenting that I was doing. When I met my husband I chose not to let him into my child’s life until I knew that we were going to get married.
I was very clear that I choose to do positive parenting. I don’t use pain shame or blame in my parenting and I’m going to keep that as one of my hard-and-fast must-haves for anybody that comes into my life.
He hadn’t had kids and he was like “Oh well she’s really well-behaved it looks like that works.” Then we had our own child and she really is the child that wants to engage. She’s not air quotes easy as what everyone thought my first child was.
She is four and a half now and to this day he struggles hard with how do I even do this? How do I even begin to positive parent this child? We are constantly working through this so we are just going to buy your audio course.
But that is something else I hear a lot. It won’t work for my child because of A, B, C, and D. So do you believe this works for every child?
Ralphie: First of all the truth that everyone needs to recognize is that our brains are wired to stop us from change. They see change as dangerous and uncertainty as risky.
A nickname for the brain is the Reason-Giving Device because it thinks “You don’t want to do that, that looks or hard.” It’s good at being skeptical and too literal. It doesn’t want to change.
What I want parents to do instead of listening to all that is to listen to their goals. What are your goals? To have a happier family right? Or are your goals for your children to thrive and to grow strong knowing that they are unconditionally loved?
So recognize what your brain is doing. First of all, thank it for keeping you safe but continue to move forward with this new thought of “This might help.”
Second thing is that parents are far too likely to forget the long-term goals while they frantically try to solve the short-term. So is the goal really that she should clean up her dolls?
No. The goal is she learns from your model to stay calm while under stress and the goal is that she learns to see things through peoples’ point of view so she develops empathy. That’s the real goal. Don’t lose sight of what the ultimate goal is.
It’s not the behavior, it’s how you respond to the behavior that matters.
We mistakenly assume that in order for things to quote-on-quote work our children need to be obedient little robots. We need to change that conversation. I hope that when you become a positive parenting expert that your children still act like children.
We can’t eliminate this behavior because that’s part of growing up. Your job is not to eliminate misbehavior, your job is to speak to all the good that’s in your child, to call it out. Their job is to learn through your example and your teaching and through your positive reinforcement how to be in control of themselves.
It’s a long game and you have to be willing to make intentional decisions that help your child to have a happy future. Any person no matter their gender, age, or temperament would benefit from a positively reinforcing environment.
You want an environment that builds them up by looking at their strengths and deliberately teaches skills in an environment that offers powerful role models. Any person would benefit from that.
We assume that if our child is still producing junk behavior it’s not working. You have to change your perspective. It’s not about what they do it’s about what you do.
Defining Parenthood Success
Chelsi: Yeah it’s just an excuse because you don’t want to change the way that you’re parenting. I had goosebumps through that whole entire thing. It’s so transformative, it literally will change everything.
It isn’t going to make your children soft but it sure will make your children confident. Your children will be able to look inside themselves and know what’s good about them and have confidence because their parents brought that out in them. That’s what creates a strong human that is capable of making decisions that they know are the best decisions for them.
I want to just touch on one more thing that you have on a reel on Instagram. It’s when you talk about when they’re in quotes defiant it’s about how we respond and it’s not a reflection on our parenting. Is there anything else that you want to add to that?
Ralphie: It’s so easy to personalize their behavior because you really do feel like it’s a reflection on your ability to handle life. We are harmony addicted, we want life to be comfortable. It’s really easy to want all the yelling, all the mess, all the chaos of childhood to go away. But it it’s not supposed to. I say all the time, if it’s natural then it it should be happening.
Your child develops through pushing the limits, testing what their reality is, arguing with their siblings. Children learn so many great things while they fight with each other.
You just need to change your perspective and recognize those good parents have children that do all of those things. It has nothing to do with your child’s decisions, it has everything to do with yours.
Defining your success in parenthood should never be based only on what your children decide to do.
It’s what you choose to use your time and energy for. Everyone of us have a limited amount of time and energy.
Instead of saying things like “Stop.” “Knock it off.” “Get off of that.” You use your time and your energy to build skills. You say things like, “You’re trying to reach that book but that’s not the safe way to do it here use the stool instead.” You’re building a skill instead of saying things that prophesy future struggle.
Sometimes we label our children negatively and we prophesy things that we don’t want them to have. So instead of using your time and your energy to say things that prophesy things you don’t want you use your power to prophesy light. Instead of saying “You’re a picky eater,” you say “You’re learning to try new foods and I’m proud of you for doing that even though it’s hard.”
“Positive parenting has completely changed my home along with lots of other people. It has allowed me to do motherhood with so much more joy.”
Instead of focusing on misbehavior, build on a strength.
Find something they’re doing well and start there.
What we know about children is when they feel well they behave well. You can’t isolate behavior. Behavior is like links in a chain and if you pull the chain forward everything goes forward together.
When they start to feel good in one area they feel better in other areas. That’s why positive parenting works so well. When I tell my child I love her handwriting and that she is working really hard on that, it will help her to not punch her brother later on in the day.
We help them know they matter, they’re important, and that whatever they’re working on you are a part of their team.
Positive parenting has completely changed my home along with lots of other people. It has allowed me to do motherhood with so much more joy. It’s just a joyful way to live. I am free to live more deeply and I’m free to love more compassionately. Even though by the way my kids still fight and make messes and they are still surly because that’s how kids behave.
I can go to bed happier than I was before because my perspective has changed. I no longer try to control them. I work on feeling empowered myself so I can change the environment so that they can feel empowered to do all the good that they’re meant to do.
Chelsi: What a discipline you have in your life. Your children are so blessed. Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom with us.
Connect with Ralphie and the Systemize Your Life community
Come share with me where you are at in your parenting journey over in our Facebook group. We want to support you to do the best work in every area of your life. You can also find more details on systems that will transform your home and life in the Systemize Your Life Academy.
Thanks so much for joining me today and I hope this has blessed you and empowered you to become a more positive parent.
We would love to have you in the Facebook group if you want to start learning and growing with other women who are or were where you are right now.
Until then, I am looking forward to connecting with you soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I reduce the feeling of being overwhlemed by motherhood?
Sure do! Check out my blog and podcast on for fun and productive routines you can use to get things done with your kids. I would also suggest joining join my Systemize Your Life Academy to learn about how my block system can help in productivity. You may also download my time-blocking workbook to help you work through a plan!
And as always, come on over to my Facebook group for extra support and guidance!