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Solution-oriented parenting

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

We all tend to tell your child what not to do. "Don't run," "don't be so dangerous," "stop teasing," "don't make noises," and so on. Sometimes it goes on like this all day long. Children don't know what to do. It may sound strange, but children usually don't know how to stop, or what to do instead of their "undesirable" or "irritating" behavior. They need your help with this. But how do you do that in a positive way?

Children who go their own way, don't listen and don't do what you want, don't even ask many times, that is tiring and costs us a lot of energy. How nice would it be if your children immediately listen and behave well? It's with us!

The word 'not' does not work

Unconsciously, children only hear your message without the word 'not'. So they only hear what you want them to stop. This process also works in the same way in adults. Just think of the joke, "Don't think of a pink elephant." And what are you doing? You immediately think of a pink elephant. That's how our brains are programmed. This happens very quickly and unconsciously. It cannot be stopped. And that's how it works with children. If you tell them what not to do, they will do it right. So stop telling your child what not to do and start telling your child what to do. For example, instead of saying "don't run", say "walk down the stairs slowly". As a result, your child hears on a subconscious level what to do. And it is also much clearer and more concrete for children. Your child knows what is expected of him or her. An additional advantage is that this way of parenting creates a more positive atmosphere. You no longer have to constantly play police officer, and it immediately feels much more pleasant. So express your expectation.

How do you do that?

  1. Wait a while before correcting your child.

  2. First, think about what behavior you do want to see. If you don't immediately know what behavior you expect from your child, first think about what behavior bothers you.

  3. Then think about the opposite of this: what do you want your child to do? That is usually the desirable behavior. Then name the behavior as calmly, clearly and concretely as possible.

Solution-oriented view

Instead of constantly thinking and talking about what is going wrong and why, you look at possibilities. What are you already satisfied with and how can you expand that? The solution-oriented approach originates from psychotherapy. Today it is also often used in education, coaching and business because it works so well.

1. Look for possibilities and exceptions
When you raise a solution-oriented child, you look at what is going well. And you pay attention to exceptions, the situations in which things suddenly went well. By paying attention to moments that go well, more creativity arises. Make use of the child's strengths and qualities. What are their talents? Be aware of the forces and learn to put them in where you can. Giving good compliments can strengthen the powers. Giving compliments is also an important part of solution-oriented parenting. The way you give a compliment makes all the difference. For example, do not reinforce the result ("what a beautiful drawing"), but the process ("You are doing well").

2. Attention to feelings
Emotions play an important role in the development of children. They largely determine how children behave. So there is a strong link between behavior and feeling. We often want children to behave differently, but for that we need to pay attention to their emotions first. If we see emotions and deal with them well, behavior often changes on its own. A solution-focused educator will acknowledge emotions. Also your own feelings. It is okay to be angry or to react curtly. It's about acknowledging your feelings. Taking your child seriously and acknowledging them makes them feel understood and more comfortable. Acknowledging feelings can be done by paying attention to your child's feelings. Name the feeling and listen to it. This can be done through non-verbal signals, but also through your reaction. For example, by almost literally repeating what your child says or by asking solution-oriented questions such as what could you do to feel better about it?

3. You are the expert
There is often a lot of advice given about parenting. But what works for one person doesn't automatically work for another. Every family, every child and every parent is different. In solution-oriented thinking, we assume that you as a parent know best what is good for your children. You've been to all the important moments and spend the most time with them. In addition, it is also important that solutions and advice suit you, as a father or mother. If something works for you, it will work better. By thinking carefully about what works in your family, you often find many keys to solutions. Doesn't what you always do work? Then do something completely different. Be creative, come up with something your child would never expect, kids love that!

Positive parenting ensures good and solid contact with your child, ensures that you can approach your child positively and strengthens your bond.

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