If there’s one thing you can rely on about being a parent, it’s that your child’s behaviour will sometimes (and maybe often) frustrate you. This certainly doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. And it doesn’t mean that your child’s behaviour isn’t manageable.
Even the happiest of family households (those ones you see on Facebook!) can feel tense and stressed when a child’s behaviour crosses the line too often. It’s natural for parents to feel upset and drained if they seem to ‘battle’ with their child over everyday issues such as shopping, bedtime, homework, or curfew times for teenagers.
Because you love and care for your children, you will try your best to deal with that behaviour. But it’s unreasonable to think that you can be a perfect parent, and you shouldn’t even try; no-one can be a superman or superwoman.
Let’s face it: it’s usually trial and error.
It’s not surprising though, that being a parent can be quite tough at times. Raising the next generation is so important, and it takes effort and patience (so much patience!).
But most of us begin our parenting careers unprepared for what lies ahead. Usually, we learn through trial and error. And no matter how much experience we get along the way, our kids and life itself always seems to throw up something new to deal with.
So how do we know if we are bringing up our kids well? And how do we go about reducing the stress that comes when we’re struggling with behaviours we just can’t seem to get a handle on?
You decide what’s right for you.
As a parent and psychologist who’s spent more than 35 years researching why children behave the way they do, I know there is simply no single right way to be a parent. It’s up to you to decide the values, skills and behaviours you want to encourage in your child. And it’s up to you to develop your own approach to dealing with your child's behaviour.
That said, we all know that good advice at the right time can be a big help. Practical tips on why your baby cries, how to cope when your toddler throws food at the table, or helping your teenager through the rough patches can make being a parent less stressful and more enjoyable.
That's the idea behind the Triple P — Positive Parenting Program ('Triple P' for short) which we have developed at The University of Queensland. The program is based on decades of scientific research and offers parenting strategies and ideas that have proven effective across a wide cross-section of families in Australia and around the world.
Positive parenting is more than a label.
You might think ‘positive parenting’ has become one of the many buzz phrases that seem to label the way parents raise their kids, but it’s so much more than a trendy term. Positive parenting aims to make it easier for you to develop a positive, loving relationship with your child – and who doesn’t want that? Positive parenting also gives you ways to encourage your child, give them attention that doesn’t pander to them, and helps you communicate well. And it also helps you set rules that will be followed.