Positive Parenting (How to Be a Positive Parent)
Create a nurturing, loving Christian home
Doug Britton, MFT
Be a positive, nurturing parent
Express love daily in your words and actions.
Many parents see discipline, punishment or chastisement as the key to successful parenting. Although punishment sometimes is appropriate, a nurturing and supportive relationship is the key to success as a father or mother.
Paul described how mothers are supposed to act when he wrote:
We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7)
The father also is called on to be nurturing, gentle, and loving — not gruff like an army drill sergeant. Paul described the way fathers are supposed to act when he wrote:
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
Related: Bible studies on overcoming anger
Be a positive parent — Catch your child being good
Look for and comment on the positive.
Many parents specialize in instructing, ordering, nagging, criticizing, threatening and punishing—catching their children being “bad.” That’s an easy trap to fall into, since you usually can find a lot to criticize. Yet look at what the Bible says about our words:
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. (Proverbs 10:11)
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Say words of praise throughout the day. Your praise can have a powerful, encouraging effect upon your children.
Remind yourself to praise. One idea: Tape notes that say “PC” (for “Praise Children”) above each door in your home.
Be sure that at least 90% of your communication is positive (praise, encouragement or appreciation) or neutral (normal conversation).
Rarely include criticism when you praise. Some parents frequently respond to their children’s efforts by saying they could have done more or better. This can be very discouraging. People with whom I counsel often tell me, “I never could please my parents.” Train yourself to be a positive parent.
Do not expect perfection. If you do, your children will think they never are good enough and will carry a sense of inadequacy or fear of trying into adulthood.
Be a positive parent — Speak respectfully
Do not call your children names. Never say words along the lines of: “Where are your brains, you dummy?” “Baby.” “Stupid.” “Liar.” “Thief.” “Loser.” “Cry baby.” “I can’t believe you did such an idiotic thing.” “You’re going to get pregnant, just like your aunt.”
Be a positive parent — Establish special times of warmth
Establish a friendly, positive atmosphere during special times of the day.
When your children wake up: Greet them with friendly words.
Meals: Eat together as a family. Make meals fun. Turn off the TV and visit. Don’t discuss personal problems (yours or your children’s). Save these talks for private times. Teach basic manners, but do not turn your meals into a battleground over them. One idea: Have one “formal meal” a week when “company manners” are practiced.
Before and after school: Send your children off to school with friendly words. Likewise, greet them warmly when they return.
Bedtime: Develop routines. Spend time with your children after they go to bed. Have a friendly talk. Tell a story. Pray. Sing a song.
How did your parents words affect you? Although you shouldn’t blame your current sins or problems on your background, you can learn from your parents mistakes, as well as from their successes. Ask yourself:
My parents were: Encouraging ___Critical ___Distant ___
How this affected me:
How well do I focus on the positive with my children? My score (from 0 to 10): ____
(“0” means “I really need to improve at this.” “10” means “I do very well at this.”)
One thing I will work on today to be a more positive parent:
More Bible Studies
About Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.