ELC regularly runs workshops for parents on a variety of different topics, and most recently we held a Positive Parenting workshop, led by our new Head of Student Services and Well-Being, Gea Marijke Visscher.
Gea provided an enlightening overview of positive parenting, its benefits, pitfalls, and strategies for implementation. ELC’s Reggio-inspired approach to learning and the positive parenting philosophy naturally go hand-in-hand in their shared appreciation for the ‘whole’ unique child and our role as nurturing guide and coach; this is an understanding that all children fundamentally desire to do good, to do the right thing, and should be trusted in their potential to develop according to their unique personality and be guided with compassion, respect, and responsiveness.
Whilst being sensitive to the unique needs and temperament of your child, this does not imply a ‘laissez-faire’ approach but rather, as Gea stresses, a key component of positive parenting is the capacity to set clear boundaries and expectations consistently to provide a framework for your child to grow, work through challenges and frustrations, and become a resilient, confident and independent individual.
Gea highlights some tips for reinforcing positive behaviour and managing challenging behaviors: observe, engage with, and listen to your child; consistently model behaviour; offer praise ‘in the moment’ for desired behaviour and conversely with undesired behaviour, give simple, direct statements ‘in the moment’ rather than offer endless talks and negotiation, and instead reflect later on ‘what happened’ to identify reasons and explore future options to work on accountability.
Gea reminds us that at the heart of the parent-child relationship is trust, trust in yourself as a parent and in your child. Facing the stresses wrought by the pandemic and tackling new challenges such as online learning, it is more important than ever that we should give ourselves a little grace; we should not aspire to perfection, but just as we try to encourage it in our child, we too should embrace a ‘growth mindset’ in our journey as parents.