“Positive parenting – sometimes called positive discipline, gentle guidance, or loving guidance – is simply guidance that keeps our kids on the right path, offered in a positive way that resists any temptation to be punitive.
Studies show that’s what helps kids learn consideration and responsibility, and makes for happier kids and parents.“ – Dr. Laura Markham
Positive parenting is an alternative to the punitive, authoritarian approach we are more acquainted with. It is a change of mindset from punishing bad behaviors to actively and creatively modeling and teaching your children about positive behaviors (Positive Parents, 2011).
Positive parenting involves a commitment to approaching your children with love, empathy, and kindness rather than creating powers struggles through the enforcement of a set of rules.
The evidence (formal and informal) which is rapidly growing supports the positive parenting approach and its effects on behavior, relationships, mental health and overall happiness.
The relationship between parents and their children can have a great influence on their psychological and social well-being. However, parents are not always prepared to be parents, especially when they do not have support from their families or partners.
The Positive Parenting Program – The Triple P – is a system designed to prevent and treat severe emotional, behavioral and developmental problems in children.
Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is described as:
“A multilevel, preventively oriented parenting and family support strategy” (Sanders, 1999).
This program was created by Matthew Sanders and his colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia. The purpose of this program is to prevent severe emotional, developmental and behavioral problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of parents. There are five levels of intervention of increasing strength:
Levels of Intervention
This program is a multilevel program. Each level has a different number of sessions that can be applied to address different types of behaviors.
Level 1: Universal Triple P
This level of intervention targets everyday behavior difficulties and it is for all parents interested in promoting their child’s development. The purpose is to encourage parents to participate in positive parenting interventions and help them become more confident and self-sufficient.
Level 2: Selective Triple P
This level is for parents with a specific concern about their child’s behavior or development. Many specific behaviors are targeted, such as bedtime routine difficulties, toilet training, and temper tantrums. Level 2 as an intervention includes one to two brief sessions to provide developmental guidance to parents.
Level 3: Primary Care Triple P
This level aims itself at parents having specific concerns about their children’s behaviors or development which require active skills training. The targeted behaviors are similar to the ones in level 2. This level includes a four-session intervention.
Level 4: Standard Triple P
This level targets parents of children with more severe problems who want intensive training in positive parenting skills. Possible behaviors to target are aggressive behaviors, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and learning difficulties. This level includes eight to ten intensive sessions.
Level 5: Enhanced Triple P
The highest level is for parents of children with concurrent child behavior problems and family dysfunction such as relationship conflict. Other behaviors are possibly persistent conduct problems and child maltreatment. Usually, at this level, children have quite severe behavioral problems. However, these problems are complicated by additional family factors.
Nowak and Heinrichs (2008) proved positive effects of the positive parenting program across all settings. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of the Triple P program on parents. The results show that:
“Triple P causes positive change in parenting skills, child problem behaviour and parental well-being in the small to moderate range, varying as a function of the intensity of the intervention” (Nowak & Heinrichs, 2008).
The program has proved to be able to affect parents and children’s lives in a meaningful way.
Parents need to be supported and, sometimes, taught how to be parents. The Positive Parenting Program has been proven to effectively impact parenting skills and children’s lives. This program also has many potential applications in other fields. Teachers can also use this program in order to better manage the classroom for example. Further research needs to be done in order to improve this program and its application. You can watch the video below for more information about the positive parenting program.