This morning we had an episode which I feel encompasses what positive parenting is all about.
We were all playing in the playroom, my son threw a toy which caught my head and drew a little blood. In this type of moment as parents we have a number of options. We could raise our voice, tell them how naughty that was, take their toy away, or even make them stand alone and think about their actions. Or we could react in a positive calm manner. Does that make us weak? Permissive? A walk over? Absolutely not.
Responding positively doesn’t mean giving my son a round of applause for his brilliant throwing skills, although it was a great throw to be fair. It’s not about telling him what he did was ok. It’s about taking a deep breath and calmly explaining that throwing toys can be dangerous, and that it’s better to pass them gently.
At his age his brain hasn’t developed impulse control, this doesn’t come until age 3-4 and even then it’s in its infancy. It’s also about understanding that children need to do these things in order to develop, throwing, dropping, squeezing, etc… All children need to explore these skills in order to master them.
So I calmly approached the conversation and explained that throwing can be dangerous, I explained that gently passing toys is safer and preferable. Is it the first time my toddler has thrown something? No! Will it be the last? No! But each and every time I’ll go through the same routine like a broken record, because eventually it will sink in.
My wife then explained daddy had a “bady” on his head. Our little one then proceeded to get out his doctors set, put on his coat and started work fixing my “bady”. Mummy then got the plasters and Luca patched me up.
If approached differently this episode could have escalated quickly, there might have been tears, stress levels would have risen and generally it would have been an awful start to the day. Instead we took a negative episode and turned it into a positive situation, eventually becoming a fun and engaging 45 minute activity, by the end of it most of his dinosaurs and toys were wearing plasters.