Are you ready to reframe the way you think about parenting? We will be diving into this little nugget of life called parenting that we all experience. Join us as we dive into the incredible world of raising children and explore the profound impact of embracing positive parenting strategies. Today, we have a special guest, Stefanie Gass, who witnessed firsthand the magic that unfolds when we shift our focus from what our children are losing to what they can gain. Stef flew in for a quick 48 hours with me in my home and wanted to share with the show the parenting techniques she personally saw me use inside my household that are motivating her to rethink the way she parents.
In this blog post, we’ll share the empowering techniques and strategies that help us flip the script with our kids, fostering an environment where we raise little change-makers that are respectful, productive children. Get excited and prepare to take notes because we’re about to unfold essential messages and moments of focus that will shape the way you navigate the beautiful adventure of parenthood.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Conflict to Connection: Transforming Communication With Your Kids Through Positive Parenting
Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. It can leave even the most loving and dedicated parents feeling overwhelmed at times. However, we can learn to navigate these obstacles confidently with these simple positive parenting strategies.
While Stef was visiting, she couldn’t help but notice my distinct approach to parenting. She observed how I communicated with my children, always being direct yet maintaining a remarkable level of respect between us. Stef, who is in the thick of facing challenges with her two boys involving constant fighting and immediate disrespect when asked to do something, was intrigued. Grilling me with countless questions, Stef was eager to learn more about my positive parenting strategies.
I want to share what I shared with Stef, hoping this will give you valuable insight on how to flip the script and create a more positive dynamic with your children.
My Positive Parenting Journey: Learning through the Chaos
Learning how to parent positively while the chaos of life is unfolding around you can be tough. We don’t just wake up one day and know how to parent. Parenting is a struggle that so many moms out there face.
A big part of my parenting story is that I started as a single mom. I had left a broken relationship that was, by definition—abusive, and had to learn how to parent through all the chaos alone. I was navigating that part of my life, learning how to parent, and by the grace of God, my oldest child is very much a pleaser. She made the opportunity to learn through the chaos I was in so much easier. Trying to learn how to parent in the middle of a broken relationship is hard, much less trying to use positive parenting strategies. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have succeeded.
Why Positive Parenting Nurtures All Types of Children
Many people think love, logic, and positive parenting won’t work for every child. I hear it over and over again. I have two girls, but they are night and day different from each other. One is infamous for not listening, being extremely strong-willed, and she wants to do anything but what she is told. She loves to push boundaries. The other is a pleaser. Regardless, these strategies are effective with both of my girls. Also, I have seen families that implement these strategies with boys and kids who aren’t like my oldest pleaser, Frankie.
For me, I witness the magic when I don’t implement these strategies. That’s because I don’t always do them. When I’m tired, hungry, or have stuff going on in my business, it gets hard to keep parenting. It’s challenging for me, and it’s not second nature.
When Bailey came around, parenting turned very different than what I was used to with Frankie. I realized I was going to have to buckle down. Bailey smells weakness from rooms away and exploits it like nobody’s business. That’s something my oldest child would never do. So, while I don’t have boys, I have seen people implement these strategies effectively with boys. I don’t believe it is gender-based, and I think it depends on what you know about each child.
Generational Differences in Parenting Styles
When we start to flip the script with positive parenting, we have to re-train our brains. Most people in past generations were raised with something other than parenting, like we discuss today. In fact, I don’t know of anyone’s parents who parented like this. Everyone was pretty much raised with a smack, slap, bump, fear of the Lord, or whatever you want to call it.
Most parents desire a different path today. We long for a genuine connection, mutual respect, and a healthy rapport with our children—an unconventional approach that challenges prevailing norms. Nevertheless, maintaining authority as a parent while embracing the principles of positive parenting is something we should strive to do.
The Power of Choosing Your Words and Thinking Before You Speak
One aspect of positive parenting is taking the time to think and choose your words before communicating with your children. When I would find a phrase that worked for one of my kids, I started writing them on Post-it notes and sticking them all over the house. I would write them everywhere. I would say, “Okay, that’s the phrase you’ll use!” However, a big question is how do you even drop into recognizing what phrases are working with your child?
How to Choose Your Words Strategically
There are key points in your day when you are with your kids, and you know you are about to face a challenge—like, it’s coming. For a lot of parents, it’s bedtime. For reference, I have trained Bailey on her bedtime routine since she was a year old. However, the other night it was bedtime; she got out of the bath and knew exactly what she was supposed to do next. She knows the expectation, and I shouldn’t have to ask her to complete any of the steps. Instead, she didn’t go to her room immediately to get dressed, and when I reminded her, she ignored me.
This is when you need to choose your words strategically. When they already know the expectation and have been given a reminder but still decide not to do the expected task, what you say next means the most. When you can be aware of that, this is how you set yourself up to be a great parent. We don’t just want to be at optimal performing ability to keep a house clean and make money from home. Those things are secondary to being a good wife and a good mom.
Flipping the Script With Younger Children
With positive parenting, when your kids act up, the parent shouldn’t be focused on the punishment or removal of a thing. Instead, this is where we flip the script. The script has to be immediate. If it’s not immediate, they already know that they will swindle you out of it before the punishment even happens.
One of the best ways to flip the script is to think of what is the immediate reward your child is working towards. For example, “Hey, I know you want me to tuck you in, so please get your pajamas on so we can do that.” Once Bailey has her pajamas on, the next part of our routine is getting her tucked in. She can only get to the next step in our routine if she gets her pajamas on. So I flip the script, not by saying I will take something away, but by encouraging her to complete the expectation so she can receive her immediate reward—being tucked in.
Flipping the Script With Older Children
Positive parenting principles can be effectively applied to older children as well. The older the child is, the longer you can stretch the “reward” timeframe. It starts by looking at the privileges they are afforded. So for pre-teens, it’s mainly the “things” they want to do, like tech, video games, etc.
Giving our children mutual respect and establishing a mutual respect relationship lays a foundation for a healthy and positive dynamic. For example, tell your child, “I know you want a friend to come over, so I’m going to need to see an attitude of respect whenever we ask you to do XYZ.” This frames the expectation of a respectful attitude and positively ties in the reward of a friend coming over.
Dealing With Attitudes and Empty Threats
Positive parenting also plays a pivotal role in shaping children’s attitudes. I have girls, so we deal with a lot of attitudes in our house in one way, shape, or another. Sometimes our oldest doesn’t care to listen and tempts punishment. I often don’t know what to say when this happens or need to think it through. So, I say, “I don’t know how I will answer that right now. I need 5 minutes, and I will come back.” And then I wait. I wait until I know what to say.
Waiting is hard; waiting instead of yelling a punishment or directing them to do something immediately is hard. However, waiting until you know what to say is much better than making an empty threat because those empty threats are killing you.
Truly, it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you are a good parent. Children are so freaking smart. We have to remember that their whole existence right now is learning. All they’re doing all day long is testing. That is their purpose in life right now. They are constantly scratching at you to find out what we can dig and find. When they start digging and find nothing, they are like crap, that’s a dead end, and that’s because Mom is consistent.
Unlocking Success: Simple Positive Parenting Strategies for Nurturing Thriving Children
Two crucial pieces that are intertwined above are so critically important to unlocking success in your parenting. These strategies are simple and truly easy to implement when dedicated to raising and nurturing children positively.
Positive Parenting Strategy #1: Consistency is Key
Children will find your weakness, and they will exploit it. There has to be a period where there are no cracks. You have to have all hands on deck, you’re super serious, and they know you’re serious. You have to be consistent in your parenting. There are times when you may let something go on for too long.
It is okay to get hard-nosed about it and reel it back in when you realize this. A great way to do this is by resetting the expectation and sticking to it. You can do this by simply having a conversation with your child. Let them know you take all the ownership for not being consistent with your parenting, and let them know you will change to help them. A simple conversation that is easy for them to understand is enough. Then communicate the expectation to them so they know something is about to change.
Positive Parenting Strategy #2: Remove the Empty Threats
For the most part, threats are not followed through with because it is an inconvenience for the parent. Like when you’re getting out of the car to go to sports, and the tears start, you know you’re going to be late. It’s tough to follow through because you, as the parent, don’t want to be late either. You have to be okay with saying, “We’re just going to be late, we’re going to regroup, say “I’m sorries,” and yes, we may be really late.” Leave at that, and follow through.
Prioritizing the consequences at the moment, regardless of all other circumstances, is the key to execution. There will always be a reason for you not to follow through. Parenting is never convenient. Ever. You must follow through and remove the empty threat.
How To Shape Positive Behavior
Parenting with positive strategies helps you shape positive behavior toward those things that they desire the most. It discourages structuring negative behavior around losing things your child thinks they are entitled to. For this method to work, you should parent around what the child is trying to earn instead of taking something away. Training our minds to flip the script can be tough, but I challenge you to start peeling that back and layering it in with other things.
Try to get away from the dependency on parenting around “Oh, this is the coolest thing you have in your life; let’s remove it.” Don’t create this obsession with that one thing. While there is nothing bad about it, it just lends to the culture you want to create with your kids around tech and screens.
Always look at how to shepherd the behavior towards earning the best for them. As you shape positive behavior, your entire parenting method doesn’t have to change. You are still dangling a carrot in front of them to shape behavior. The only thing changing is quite literally the way you are going about it—negative to positive.
“Parenting in a positive way helps you shape positive behavior toward those things that they desire the most.”
Why Your Standing In Your Own Way
Most of these positive parenting strategies are easy tweaks to make. However, what if the problem with your parenting is you? We often hand down a consequence, and we know that consequence will make our kids sad, and we don’t want to see them upset. Often, we can get in our own way of being the parent we want to be.
Instead, flip the script on yourself. Instead of being upset for them, get excited about what they will learn from this consequence. This may look like, “I know this is hard for you, but I can’t wait for us to try again tomorrow. I’m going to be so excited tomorrow for you to be able to sit and have that 15 minutes to do XYZ.” It rewires you as the parent to work hard for them tomorrow, so you can see them succeed.
Positive Parenting Together
I have a very supportive husband, but sometimes he struggles to parent positively. He works hard at it but becomes frustrated, eventually giving up. I’ve also noticed that my children don’t treat me the same way they treat Blane. The topic of parenting comes up a lot during our yearly marriage retreats. While Blane does see many of my flaws, he also sees the magic in my interactions with the kids.
Resist the Urge To Intervene
Many times a situation arises where I am working, and the girls begin to act up. There was a recent incident where I was trying to record something, and downstairs my girls started to claw each other’s eyeballs out practically. At that moment, I had to resist the urge to intervene and let my husband handle it. This experience taught me the importance of allowing him to have the relationship he wants with our kids. I’ve learned that I can provide encouragement, support, and assistance when needed, but it’s essential to step back and let him take the lead.
Let Things Be
As parents, we are often in such a hurry to get things done that we allow our children to skip over several expectations. This morning Bailey placed her dish in the sink instead of the dishwasher. Instead of getting up, rinsing the dish, and placing it in the dishwasher, I left it there for her. I said, “Hey, thanks for putting your dish in the sink. The dishwasher is dirty right now. I will leave it here for you, and you can put it in the dishwasher later.”
Even though I may want the action done immediately, I have to be okay with letting things be until the action I asked for has happened. This is really hard for Blane to do. He tends to go and get the thing they need or complete the step for them instead of letting it be and waiting. But he does watch me set the expectation with positive parenting strategies and hold them accountable. It’s about embracing the concept of allowing things to unfold until the desired action occurs and being mindful of when to intervene.
Looking for ways to simplify motherhood and be a more present parent?
I hope by opening up about my positive parenting strategies, you are motivated to implement these tips with your children. The bottom line is—motherhood is tough. We all need support and a listening ear from time to time.
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I loved chatting about all things parenting with my good friend Stefanie Gass today. While I may have given her some parenting pointers, Stef is the queen of gaining clarity! To learn more about Stef, hop on over to her podcast, The Stefanie Gass Show, or look into her course Clarify Your Calling.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make time to be a more present parent while balancing all of the other household tasks?
Parenting takes time and patience. To create more time for parenting, I recommend scheduling your fundamental needs. If you want to learn more about your fundamental needs, start with this workbook. Once you understand your fundamental needs, then you can start to put it all in your schedule. Download my time blocking workbook to help you figure that out too. You’ll find you’ll have more time to be present with you family and be the parent you want to be!