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  • Writer's pictureInterval Health

What is Positive Parenting?

As a parent, it can be difficult to figure out the “style” that works for you. Even before you had kids, you might’ve found yourself looking online and through various books, trying to determine the best approaches. 

Naturally, your parenting style will be at least slightly influenced by the one you grew up with. But maybe you want to steer away from that, or maybe you want to try something different with your kids. 

That’s one reason why many parents are turning toward the positive parenting approach. At its core, it focuses on showing children warmth and love and letting them know they matter. It’s a research-backed approach designed to set your children up for success. But what is it, and how does it work?

What Are the Benefits of Positive Parenting?

Maybe you’ve heard of positive parenting, but you’re not sure whether it’s the right method for you. If that’s the case, consider some of the benefits backed by several studies. 

For starters, positive parenting has been shown to help kids do better in school. Not only can it improve their focus, but it often leads to fewer behavioral problems. 

Positive parenting can also lead to stronger mental health. That’s something your child will

carry with them into their teenage years and even into adulthood. In fact, research has shown that children who grow up with positive parenting tend to have stronger relationships as adults and better overall well-being.

How to Be a Positive Parent

There are several approaches to take when it comes to positive parenting. As long as you focus on making sure your child knows they are valued, you’re on the right track. But, one of the most popular ways to approach this parenting style is with PRIDE: 

  • Praise

  • Reflection

  • Imitation

  • Description

  • Enjoyment

Praise your child by noticing the good things they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to be specific and reinforce good behavior. Focus on effort and what they’re working on rather than the end results. 

Reflect on what your child says by repeating their words back to them. This helps them know you’re really listening and trying to understand. It encourages them to keep speaking and can foster healthy communication skills. 

Imitate your child by letting your own inner kid come out. Get down on their level and play with them. Imitate their actions, and let them teach you how to play. Studies have shown this kind of imitation can help your child with social skills and show them that whatever they’re doing is interesting to you. 

Similarly, try describing what your child is doing as though you were a basketball announcer calling a game. It lets your child know they have your full attention and can boost their self-esteem and confidence. 

Finally, show enjoyment. Add warmth and excitement to your interactions with your child through your words and actions. Laughing, smiling, making eye contact, and hugging your child are all fantastic ways to show enjoyment and let your child know they are loved and cared for. 

Why Is Positive Parenting Helpful?

Not only does positive parenting help your child understand their value, but it’s a very useful tool for decreasing inappropriate behavior. When you “catch” your child doing something good and you praise them with positive parenting, they’re more likely to repeat that behavior. It’s a learning tool that also helps them feel naturally validated and confident. 

If you think positive parenting feels right for your family, don’t hesitate to give it a try. You might be surprised by how quickly you see some of the benefits. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me. 


Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.


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