Positive parenting for children with disabilities

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Working out how best to raise your child can be challenging. Often parents are told to do this or to do that with the guarantee that your child will do better once you make the change. Sometimes it can feel like everyone has an opinion about the right or wrong way to raise your own child, and often there is added pressure of getting it right when it comes to raising a child with a disability. Positive parenting is becoming increasingly popular in parenting circles. In this post, Pink Families looks at whether positive parenting helps children with disabilities.

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.

Positive parenting Latham

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 contrast, more directive approaches to parenting may hinder communication in preschool children with developmental delays. This is an example of how very restrictive approaches to setting behavioral limits can hinder development.

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.

References

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.

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