Pro-active parents don’t react to the child’s behavior; they anticipate it. They set up clear limits and defined consequences. They major in positive encounters with the child, taking every opportunity to let the child know they approve of him, that they delight in her, that they enjoy being with and doing things with their child. These reinforce the child’s view that he or she is special and greatly loved by mom and dad. The children see themselves as delightful rather than defective; valued rather than a mistake; powerful rather than helpless, approved of rather than being a disappointment. To see themselves these ways leaves no room for anger and resentment fueling oppositional attitudes and behaviors.
Each positive interaction makes a positive deposit in the parent-child relationship bank account. The more deposits in that account, the more goodwill the parent has to draw on in moments where correction is required. When the child knows mom and dad like them cooperation is the more likely outcome. And cooperation is what parents really want. Sullen obedience to parental power accomplishes nothing positive in the long run. Would you prefer a child who does what you require because he has to, or because he wants to? The child who knows he is valued will test the limits, as all children do, but will more readily accept those limits from a parent who they see as on their side.
Copyright 2008 G Brenton Mock