What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research and Benefits

Most adults will become parents at some point in their lives (i.e., around 89.6% of the adult population worldwide; Ranjan, 2015).

And while most of us strive to be great parents, we may also find ourselves confused and frustrated by the seemingly endless challenges of parenthood.

As both parents of toddlers and teenagers can attest, such challenges are evident across all developmental stages.

But there is good news— numerous research-supported tools and strategies are now available for parents. These resources provide a wealth of information for common parenting challenges (i.e., bedtime issues, picky eating, tantrums, behavior problems, risk-taking, etc.); as well as the various learning lessons that are simply part of growing up (i.e., starting school, being respectful, making friends, being responsible, making good choices, etc.).

With its focus on happiness, resilience and positive youth development; the field of positive psychology is particularly pertinent to discussions of effective parenting. Thus, whether you are a parent who’s trying to dodge potential problems; or you are already pulling your hair out— you’ve come to the right place.

This article provides a highly comprehensive compilation of evidence-based positive parenting techniques. These ideas and strategies will cover a range of developmental periods, challenges, and situations. More specifically, drawing from a rich and robust collection of research, we will address exactly what positive parenting means; its many benefits; when and how to use it; and its usefulness for specific issues and age-groups.

This article also contains many useful examples, positive parenting tips, activities, programs, videos, books, podcasts – and so much more. By learning from and applying these positive parenting resources; parents will become the kind of parents they’ve always wanted to be: Confident, Optimistic, and even Joyful.

If you wish to learn more, our Positive Relationships Masterclass© is a complete, science-based training program enabling you to enhance your relationship with your children and also giving practitioners and coaches all the materials they’ll need to help their clients improve their relationships.

What is Positive Parenting?

Before providing a definition of positive parenting, let’s take a step back and consider what we mean by “parents.” While a great deal of parenting research has focused on the role of mothers; children’s psychosocial well-being is influenced by all individuals involved in their upbringing.

Such caregivers might include biological and adoptive parents, foster parents, single parents, step-parents, older siblings, and other relatives and non-relatives who play a meaningful role in a child’s life. In other words, the term “parent” applies to an array of individuals whose presence impacts the health and well-being of children (Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg & van Ijzendoorn, 2008).

Thus, any time the terms “parent” or “caregiver” are used herein; they apply to any individuals who share a consistent relationship with a child, as well as an interest in his/her well-being (Seay, Freysteinson & McFarlane, 2014).

Fortunately, parenting research has moved away from a deficit or risk factor model towards a more positive focus on predictors of positive outcomes (e.g., protective factors). Positive parenting exemplifies this approach by seeking to promote the parenting behaviors that are most essential for fostering positive youth development (Rodrigo, Almeida, Spiel, & Koops, 2012).

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