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Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, by Sue Gerhardt

"Gerhardt's book offers perhaps one of the most concise arguments for why love and affection in early life truly do matter. Written with clear and direct language, this text can serve as a general resource for mental health professionals and parents alike." - Rachel Altamirano, Clinical Social Work Journal

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries, by Robert J. MacKenzie Ed.D.

One of the cries of teachers and some school psychologists is that parents need to set firm boundaries for their children on many different fronts. This book helps parents to discern how they can set firm but loving boundaries for their children.

Parenting With Love and Logic, by Foster Cline, Jim Fay, Eugene H. Peterson

"Love and Logic" parents teach their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real world. After laying out the principles of "Love and Logic," the authors provide "parenting pearls," which are strategies for applying the method to actual situations such as back-seat battles in the car, homework, and keeping bedrooms clean. The book is clear, energetic, upbeat and sensible.


Page updated: November 25, 2015

Positive Parenting

Parents who take a positive approach to parenting get a head start from the get-go. Their goal is to successfully raise their children, and their positive attitude will be reflected in their decisions and in the way they speak to their child.

Children benefit from one-on-one attention from parents.
Both quality and quantity time are needed for children to feel secure.

Parents need to make a real effort to have a positive view of their children, to redirect negative talk towards a positive approach, and to believe in their children as well as in their abilities to be good parents.

Don't Stumble Over Small Failures, Use Them as Learning Opportunities

Parents need to survive the little bumps in the road and small failures, realizing that a small failure does not make them or their child a failure. We have all heard the illustration of stumbling blocks or stepping stones; use the small failures you make as a parent to learn and adjust, and don’t give up if your child has setbacks or is less than perfect. Perfection is not the goal. Success is like guiding a missile. When you are veering to the right, adjust to the left—and vice-versa. You will eventually reach your goal, even if it might not be in the straight line that you had hoped for.

Speaking to Children in a Way That Contributes to their Self-Esteem and Positive Self-Image

When you address your children, never ever use derogatory names like stupid, dumb, clumsy, lazy, crazy, etc. This name-calling and labeling sticks. The child might not fully believe it, but in the back of his mind, he really believes that there must be some truth to it, and this forms a negative self-image. The result of this can be anger and anti-social behavior. Some children and teens lose hope, which can lead to depression and suicide attempts. With hope and self-esteem, a teen is much less likely to experiment with drugs or abuse alcohol. Speak to your children positively.

You don't need to necessarily label your child "smart," "intelligent," or "beautiful," especially if the child senses that you are just buttering him up. But you can say things like, "you did very well," "you worked very hard to pass that test," "I'm happy with you," or "you are a good daughter." That type of positive talk helps a child develop a forward-looking, hopeful attitude. This will help him or her get through the bumps in the road when he is a teenager or an adult, and not to give up when there are setbacks.

Disciplining Children as an Expression of Love not Anger

Every child, and adult for that matter, needs some form of discipline. Discipline taken too far, though, can be a form of child abuse. On the other hand, parents who do not discipline their children, or develop a permissive attitude, are demonstrating that they really don't care enough to muster up the energy to train their child.

Discipline is a form of love. If a child knows there will be consequences for seriously breaking the trust of their parents or other authorities, they are going to think twice about it the next time. That helps a child develop self-restraint or self-control, which is an important quality to master at all points of our lives. Exactly what form of discipline a parent will use is a matter of choice, and depends on each individual child. What works for one child might not work for a sibling. But consistent discipline is an important part of successful parenting.

However, don't yell, scream and belittle as a form of discipline. Discipline can mean or include talking and reasoning with a child about a matter, explaining and helping him or her to understand.

Educating Yourself in Positive Parenting – Coaching

Educate yourself on how to be a successful parent. Read up on it from a variety of sources and different angles. Use your common sense. Don't accept someone else's word for it and remember that there are many fad ideas in parenting that might not be the most effective. Just because someone is a doctor or expert doesn't necessarily mean he has all the answers. If you feel the need for some professional help, before you go to a psychologist or therapist, whey not try enlisting a coach. A parenting coach might have a wealth of practical ideas for you and can give you assistance on a daily basis.

Positive parenting is an effective and important part of raising well-adjusted children. It does not mean spoiling children or giving them everything they want, but maintaining a positive view of yourself as a parent, and treating your children with dignity and love.

Pages Related to Positive Parenting

Children & Television
Children & Movies
Parenting advice and tips - 24 Steps in Positive Parenting

Links to Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting Tips - Child, Youth & Family Development - Child Welfare League

National Parenting Education Network - Committed to Advancing the Field of Parenting Education Positive Parenting Coaching