Positive Parenting Techniques

By Emily Koeppel, B.A, Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Colorado State University

Positive Parenting Techniques

Positive parenting techniques help maintain healthy caregiver-child relationships with the goal of raising well-behaved and cooperative grandchildren. In stressful situations, it may seem difficult to practice some of these techniques, but with time, these techniques can have great outcomes on the relationship with your grandchild.

  • Practice the 5 to 1 rule. Dr. John Gottman, a well-known marriage and family therapist, designed this rule for romantic relationships. However, the rule can apply to any type of relationship. For every negative interaction you have with your grandchild, have 5 positive interactions. The positive interactions can be very simple, such as telling your grandchild that you love him or her. It is important that at the end of the day, you know that you have had far more positive interactions with your grandchild than negative interactions. This rule maintains a balance in the relationship and reassures your grandchild that you love and care about them, even though there are some negative interactions in your relationship.

  • When disciplining your grandchild, try using natural and logical consequences. These types of consequences teach children responsibility as well as help them understand how they misbehaved. Natural consequences are inevitable results of the child's action. For example, your grandchild wants to wear his or her brand new stocking cap to bed but you do not want him or her to do so. When you ask him or her to not wear the hat to bed and he or she does not listen to you, let the natural consequence run its course. Your grandchild will wake up hot, and he or she will likely take the hat off. The natural consequence is getting hot and that was a result of the child's choice. Your grandchild will learn why it is not a good idea to wear a stocking cap to bed.

    Unlike natural consequences, the caregiver imposes logical consequences. These consequences are directly related to the problem. When deciding on logical consequences, think about the reason why the problem occurred, offer choices to the child, discuss the choices positively, and if possible, let the child choose his or her own consequence. The goal of logical consequences is not to make your grandchild feel terrible, but rather help understand why his or her misbehavior is not okay and what is expected from him or her in the future.

  • Give your grandchild choices. When children have the ability to choose, not only do they feel they have some power in their life, but it shows that you, as their caregiver, trust and care about their opinion. The choices can be limited. For example, let them choose their clothes for the day from 3 options that you picked out. Let them choose what type of vegetable or fruit that they want with dinner. Giving children options and letting them choose may seem simple, but it can go a long way.

  • Communicate with your grandchildren. Communication helps your grandchildren learn, it helps them understand the world, and it prevents your grandchildren from misbehaving. If you communicate with your grandchild about expectations and daily routines (i.e. you can play for 10 more minutes and then we are going to the grocery store), the child is less likely to get upset because they have a better understanding of what is expected from him or her and what to prepare for.