Wednesday 12 October 2016

TODDLER: Taking the positive parenting approach...

TODDLER: Taking the positive parenting approach...
I'm not sure if the 'positive parenting approach' is a real approach if you will, but its the stance towards Isabella's challenging behaviour I've been trying to adopt recently. It's helped both of us deal with her irrational, typically toddler behaviour and is something I'm working on getting better at. The way I interpret this positive parenting approach is that in situations when Isabella isn't doing as she's told or is having a tantrum I will try and focus on the positives rather than the challenging behaviour.

For example, if she's refusing to let me change her nappy instead of battling with her and repeating to her that she needs to have her nappy changed I'll talk to her about all of the things she's good at. I'll say things like...

"You're usually so good at getting your nappy changed, aren't you?"
"You are really good at lying down nicely, can you show me?"
"Shall we sing a song? You're really good at singing and knowing the actions."

Or if Isabella doesn't want to put her shoes on I'll say things like...

"You know how to put your shoes on like a big girl, don't you?"
"You're very good at putting your own shoes on."
"Can you show Mummy how you put your shoes on?"

I'll then pair these with the classic distraction techniques, so at no point am I focusing on the challenging behaviour. I'll ask her to show me where the nappies are, sing a song, read a book, find her shoes etc.

I have to say that the positive parenting approach isn't something that necessarily comes naturally to me, it can be hard not to focus on the challenges because that's the most obvious behaviour in a tantrum situation. However, I've found that since adopting this approach Isabella's tantrums have reduced in severity and number. She will quickly move onto the task in hand and not spend time laying on the floor, as she usually does to try and make a point (while looking at me with the frowny eyes and bottom lip out...of course).

I've not done any research into this, or any other parenting approach. We prefer to do what feels right at the time. Children's behaviour changes all of the time, therefore parenting does. It's constantly challenging and a learning journey. Overall though the key focus we have in parenting is consistency, we want Isabella to see us as parenting equals and not one being stricter than the other etc. Though I may always have the edge!

What are your favourite parenting tricks/approaches?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x



  1. Brilliant. We try to be empathetic when Matilda's getting upset - our thinking is that she's trying to tell us something but doesn't have the words for it so she shows us with her (challenging) actions instead. So, for example, she really hated lying down to have her nappy/clothes changed - and fair enough; she's mobile now and WE would hate to have to lie there while somebody tugged us around, cleaning and clothing us - so we took that on board and do it all standing up/running around, howling with laughter now. We've got everything she needs - shoes, hats, coat etc - where she can reach it, so she can take charge of getting ready to go out. My brain's only coming up with the same scenarios you mentioned but there are loads of others when we ask: what can we do to give Matilda more control of what happens to her?

  2. I never know how to react when Maddie gets tantrumie and she is doing it so much more now. I usually just stop and give her a cuddle but it never really helps because after the cuddle I try to keep changing her again. Sometimes I'm not sure if it's all just a game to her or if she is really actually upset because she will scream to get away and then "run" off laughing! It's so funny how much toddlers seem to hate getting dressed!


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