The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting – Part 1
Positive parenting is a powerful approach that can transform your entire parenting journey
By Mona Andrei
May 16, 2023
My first memories of being a parent come with visions of sugar and spice and all things nice.
As you can probably guess, I wasn’t actually a parent when these visions twirled in my head. Instead, I was pregnant with my first daughter. Now that I’m a little older (my daughter is in her 30s), I can honestly say, with both experience and a little wisdom, that parenting is everything BUT sugar and spice and all things nice.
It’s overwhelming at worse, challenging at best.
Today I admit that parenting is more like dancing. Some days you’ve got rhythm and flow. Other days you’re dealing with never-ending battles with the question, “Who’s leading who here?” screaming in your head as you try to tame a three-year-old having a tantrum in the cereal aisle.
We’ve all been there.
Today I admit that parenting is more like dancing. Some days you’ve got rhythm and flow. Other days you’re dealing with never-ending battles with the question, “Who’s leading who here?
And while this is going on, your intentions are pulled into three directions.
Part of you wants to abandon the grocery cart, pick up your flailing child, and leave the store pronto as you ignore the glares from other shoppers. (By the way, this glare from other shoppers is usually imagined. When I say “We’ve all been there,” THEY’VE all been there too.)
Another part of you wants to let your own anger rise and join your child in the rage party. (But oh. What would the other shoppers think? And I’ll be the first to say it: this scenario would most definitely involve child services.)
And then there’s this third side of you that wants to open the damn box of cereal so that you can sit on the floor with your child and question your parenting skills in peace and quiet. (At this point, you feel deflated. Suddenly there are no other shoppers in the store. Or at least you can’t see them because they’re all avoiding the cereal aisle.)
Let me introduce you to a game-changing concept: positive parenting!
Positive parenting is not just a fleeting trend; it’s a powerful approach that can transform your entire parenting journey. It allows you to say goodbye to the outdated notions of punishment and control and say hello to a world where love, laughter, and understanding rule the 18+ years ahead of you.
Before we get into it, let me just say that positive parenting is not about being a perfect parent. (Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing as a perfect parent.) (Double spoiler alert: there’s also no such thing as a perfect child.)(Surprising. I KNOW.)
‘It [Positive Parenting] allows you to say goodbye to the outdated notions of punishment and control and say hello to a world where love, laughter, and understanding rule the 18+ years ahead of you.’
Positive parenting is about cultivating essential skills and principles that nurture an optimistic attitude toward life situations. At the same it, this parenting approach empowers you with a sense of well-being regardless of the circumstances. Not. Even. Kidding.
There are Five Pillars to Positive Parenting:
Pillar #1: Bonding Through Laughter
Pillar #2: Setting Boundaries with a Twist
Pillar #3: Decode, Connect, Communicate
Pillar #4: Embracing Chaos with Calm
Pillar #5: Being a Shining Example
Understanding these Pillars of positive parenting will transform your approach to raising your children. Each Pillar is a secret ingredient in the super parent’s arsenal.
Oh, wait! Did I just say, “Super parent?” Yup. It really does take some kinda hero to create a loving and thriving family dynamic.
In this first article in the series, we will explore Pillar #1 – Bonding Through Laughter. So, fasten your superhero cape, because we’re about to take a glimpse into the life-changing journey of positive parenting.
Pillar #1: Bonding Through Laughter
The first Pillar in positive parenting is about building a strong emotional connection with your child. As mentioned, parenting our tiny humans is no easy task. Some days, it can even feel like a never-ending rollercoaster ride. But hidden in your cape, the power of humour emerges as a powerful ally. It’s all about infusing your parenting journey with lightness, joy, and laughter.
Humour serves as an antidote to the daily stresses and frustrations of parenting. It can help diffuse tension, shift perspectives, and create a positive and nurturing environment for both you and your child. When you embrace humour, you create a space where everyone feels safe, relaxed, and connected.
‘… the power of humour emerges as a powerful ally. It’s all about infusing your parenting journey with lightness, joy, and laughter.’
Laughter acts as a magical bonding agent between parents and children. It strengthens the emotional connection and fosters a sense of belonging within the family unit. When you share laughter with your children, it creates precious memories, and builds a foundation of trust, warmth, and mutual understanding.
And not only that. Laughter has the added bonus of numerous physiological and psychological benefits. It releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing stress levels. Laughing together also boosts the immune system, improves communication, and enhances overall family dynamics.
Following are some tips and examples on how you can incorporate humour into both your life and your parenting style.
Embrace the silly
Be willing to let loose and engage in silly activities with your children. You can do this by creating inside jokes or initiating playful challenges that bring laughter into everyday routines and chores.
Speaking of inside jokes, how about a secret language? My youngest daughter and I taught ourselves the alphabet in American Sign Language. This became our secret language whenever we were visiting with friends and family. Imagine the bond we created when instead of saying out loud that she wanted to go home, which could appear rude in some cases, she would simply ask in sign, “Are we going home soon?” To which I would reply, “Chillax. Go play outside.”
Use humour to diffuse tense situations
Look for opportunities to find humour in the small and mundane moments of parenting. Find joy in the messiness of mealtime, turn daily tasks into playful adventures, and laugh at the mishaps that happen along the way.
‘Establish special rituals that involve laughter and enjoyment. It could be a family game night, a joke-sharing session during dinner, or a funny bedtime story routine. These rituals become cherished traditions that strengthen the parent-child bond.’
The next time little Johnny spills his milk, remember what they say: don’t cry over spilt milk. Instead, find humour in the situation and take this as an opportunity to show Little Johnny how to laugh at himself. And while you’re at it, grab a few rags to show him how to clean up. You can never start too early!
Create fun rituals
Establish special rituals that involve laughter and enjoyment. It could be a family game night, a joke-sharing session during dinner, or a funny bedtime story routine. These rituals become cherished traditions that strengthen the parent-child bond.
Here’s an idea that my kids and I enjoyed when they were young and still mine. Whenever we were driving somewhere, we would all look at the time on the dashboard, and each guess what time we would arrive at. This quickly became a fun game and ritual in our daily commutes. And the best part? The question, “Are we there yet?” disappeared forever.
Remember, humour should always be respectful, inclusive, and age-appropriate. It’s about finding the right balance between laughter and creating a safe and nurturing environment for your children to thrive.
By infusing humour into your parenting style, you unlock a treasure trove of joy, connection, and resilience. So, let laughter become your secret superpower in the realm of parenting, and watch as your relationships flourish and your family bonds grow stronger with every shared chuckle.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll explore Pillar #2: Setting Boundaries with a Twist.
Until then, remember to keep laughing.
Mona Andrei is an award-winning humour blogger, columnist, and author. In her most recent book, SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood, she shares her challenges and triumphs as a single mother as well as those of other single mothers. You can connect with Mona on Twitter.