Parenthood is a beautiful journey that brings out a part of you that you never knew existed—many parents will attest to the fact that parenting reveals your capacity to love someone in ways that are inexpressible. However, rewarding as the journey may be, it is not without its hurdles, potholes and roadblocks. In our Positive Parenting series, we will be looking at some of the challenges faced by parents, and we’ll explore ways in which you can parent in ways that are effective and healthy not only for your children but also for you. To kick off the series, let’s talk about what positive parenting and its concomitant barriers.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting goes beyond meeting your child’s basic needs; it entails creating a nurturing environment that will enable your child to thrive as a citizen of the world; it is about parenting in a way that affirms and empowers your child to be the best version of themselves. The more positive affirmation your child receives, the greater their chances of developing healthy self-esteem. Positive parenting is also about being present and making sure that your children know that they can rely on you; this is an important aspect of parenting because it will shape the nature of your child’s future relationships, especially as an adult. As noted by *Safer Spaces, positive parenting “sets a pattern for future relationships since children learn that people can generally be trusted, and it provides them with a measure for future relationships.” Essentially, positive parenting is about creating a safe space in the home for your children, and it is about being attentive to and being intentional about meeting all their needs—physical, emotional, mental and educational.  

Positive has the following benefits:

  • It helps your children develop a healthy self-concept.
  • It leads to improved mental well-being.
  • It increases the likelihood of your child performing well at school.
  • Your children are less likely to be violent.
  • it decreases the chances of your child developing psychological difficulties. 

“Positive parenting manages children’s behaviour, teaches them self-regulation and provides cognitive stimulation.” – Safe Spaces.

 

 

What are some of the barriers to positive parenting?

With all the aforementioned benefits in mind, the sad reality is that positive parenting requires the type of intentionality and time that not many of us can afford to give. Single parents who have full-time jobs have to do the work of two parents whilst trying to make sure that their children’s basic needs are provided for, resulting in other needs such as emotional needs falling by the wayside and this compromises the quality of your relationship with your children. Even in households where both parents are present, the challenge lies in making sure that both of you connect with your children at the same level. Working a full-time job means that by the time you get home, you are tired and can’t fully give of yourself to your child. Another barrier to positive parenting is your own upbringing; more often than not, individuals who weren’t exposed to positive parenting struggle to parent in a way that is effective and nurturing.

Other barriers to positive parenting include:

  • a lack of financial resources;
  • mood disorders and anxiety;
  • working and living far from your children;
  • not being able to say no to your children because you want them to like you. 

Positive parenting begets positive parenting

 


Positive parenting starts with awareness

It is common knowledge that positive parenting begets positive parenting. Even if you are currently struggling, it is not all lost; you can still be the parent your child needs if you are intentional about finding ways to improve your parenting style and structuring your life in a way that will make you a positive parent. The first step is to be aware of issues that may affect your ability to be an effective parent. Do a self-audit: Are you stressed? Are you overwhelmed? Are you anxious? If these are things that you struggle with, make a plan to work through them. One of the best things you can do for your children is to take care of yourself. If you find that financial problems necessitate working long hours that take away from time spent with your children, and this is a tough one—reach out to family members and friends for support; as the age of adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. While it is true that no parent should abnegate their parental responsibilities, leaning on your community for assistance will go a long way in helping you become a positive parent.

 

Positive parenting is not easy but it is important, not only for your child but for society as a whole. We need to raise children who will grow up to be impactful adults who are loving and will bring much-needed light to the world.


*SaferSpaces is an online knowledge sharing and networking portal for community safety as well as violence and crime prevention practitioners from government, civil society and the research community in South Africa.