What is positive parenting?
A positive parenting approach is usually described as involving an authoritative approach to parenting. This involves providing enough parental support and connection, facilitating behavioral limits and demonstrating respect for your child, for example.
Parenting style and development
Many educators and parents alike are interested in positive parenting because it is often
described as being useful in helping children to develop, including children with disabilities.
Research has shown, for example, that the language and social skills of children with Down’s syndrome can be aided through being sensitive to and responsive to their needs. This is an example of how parental support and connection can help your child develop. Parental support and connection are key features of positive parenting.
In fact, quite a few studies have now shown that positive parenting can have a beneficial effect on young children with disabilities, such as Down’s syndrome, developmental delay (although the impact was smaller for this group of children), children with cerebral palsy and those with autistic spectrum disorders.
What can I do to improve my parenting style?
Unfortunately, there is no one definitive answer to this question. Child development is influenced by a number of various factors and every child has unique strengths and abilities. This acknowledged, parenting style is widely recognized as one of the factors that can help your child develop. Therefore, enabling a balanced approach to parental support and connection, helping to regulate your child’s behavior (through setting appropriate and relevant limits), and demonstrating respect for your child’s unique abilities and characteristics may help.
In summary, research studies have shown small to moderate positive impacts for children with disabilities due to positive parenting. Therefore, this style of parenting may be one tool to help get the best for your child and optimize their unique capabilities.
Dyches TT, Smith TB, Korth BB, Roper SO, Mandleco B. Positive Parenting of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Meta-analysis. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2012 Nov-Dec;33(6):2213-20.