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How To Practice Positive Parenting – S1 E7

As parents, we want nothing more than to have well-behaved children. But teaching kids right from wrong isn’t simple. When they throw a tantrum, do we put them in time out? Or do we just walk away?

To share best practices for discipline, host Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez chats with Dr. Randy Ahn, Implementation Consultant at the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). Do you have a child that whines or throws tantrums? These positive parenting tips can help you resolve household conflicts in a healthy, constructive manner.

Podcast Resources:
Positive Parenting Program
Triple P Blog
Strong Families AZ
Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez
Podcast Credits:

host Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez is the Program Director for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

host Guest: Dr. Randy Ahn is an Implementation Consultant at the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P).


Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Parenting Brief. I’m your host, Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez, an Arizona working mom and the Program Director for the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services. On each episode, we’ll answer your biggest parenting questions with the help of expert guests. From eating and sleeping, to talking and walking, no topic is off limits.

So, whether you’re an experienced parent with a house full of growing kids or expecting your first little baby, this podcast is for you.

Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of The Parenting Brief. Today, we’re exploring a huge question that every parent faces. When do I start disciplining and how do I discipline my child as parents? We want nothing more than for our children to be well behaved, polite, and [00:01:00] respectful, but resolving a tantrum or trying to change a seemingly bad behavior can leave us at a crossroads.

Do we take things away or put them in time out? Do we use rewards or just walk away? What’s the best way to handle this? Is there a best way to handle this? How can we really make sure that we’re teaching our children right from wrong? There is a solution and lucky for us, it’s been proven time and time again, to work through decades of ongoing research.

It lies in positive parenting strategies. These are simple and practical strategies that help parents be confident in managing their children’s behavior and help kids feel more confident in expressing themselves. To give us some tips on how parents can start or change their approach to discipline. I am joined by Dr. Randy Ahn, an implementation consultant at the Positive Parenting Program, otherwise known as Triple P

Thank you for joining us today, Dr. [00:02:00] Ahn.

Dr. Randy Ahn: it’s my pleasure.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: This concept of positive parenting turns the idea of discipline on its head. Can you explain a little bit about what it is?

Dr. Randy Ahn: So, I think when parents are finding challenges at home or maybe their kids have gotten into trouble at school, and they’re really searching for a way to just kind of immediately clamp down on some of the misbehavior that they’re seeing.

I guess the first thing that they learn about positive parenting is that isn’t where we immediately start. We always start with working on the parent child relationship and trying to build that attachment between a parent and a child. And then as we progress through the program, we eventually do get to the point where

Parents are learning some behavior management skills so that they can work with their children in positive ways. So, I get what you mean when you say it kind of turning it on its head because often parents do want to start [00:03:00] there, but we always start with the relationship first.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: How can we use the positive parenting strategies with our itty-bitty ones, you know, before we really start understanding or seeing, you know, behaviors that may come out as they are older. How is our behavior as parents and how we manage behaviors between birth to five, really impact that long-term positive parenting strategy?

Dr. Randy Ahn: Well, we do have some foundational principles that apply really to all age groups. And one right off the bat is for parents to have realistic expectations, not only for their children, but also for themselves. And so, this could mean, you know, not needing to be the perfect parent hovering around their kids 24/7, and also not expecting their children to be absolutely perfect in all regards.

So, we try to work with parents to build up the [00:04:00] expectation that they don’t have to be perfect. And certainly, their children don’t have to be perfect. We want parents to learn how to take care of themselves. And we know that if a parent is healthy, if they’re happy, if they’re in a stable relationship, they’re more available to their children.

And we always see a benefit to helping parents carve out a little time to focus on their own needs. It’s very important. It’s foundational to positive parenting. We always want parents to create a positive learning environment and positive parenting and Triple P there’s a focus on having parents function as their children’s first teacher.

So, there’s always opportunities and I’m not talking about homeschool. What we’re kind of faced with right now, doing homeschool and learning remotely. I’m talking about those in-between times. When you can spend a few minutes with your child, teach them a few things about what you know about how the [00:05:00] world works about answering their questions.

And we want parents to do this because it’s those in-between moments that can really help parents and children connect. We want parents to be assertive in their discipline and by assertive, I don’t necessarily mean aggressive, I mean, being proactive, having a plan in place, a plan that can address some of these problematic behaviors that they might be reporting and being able to implement that plan without the situation getting out of control or without using a lot of coercive tactics.

So, I think the message for positive parenting ultimately is for parents to learn how to become more planful and intentional in how they are choosing to manage behavior.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: I think the thing that surprises me or surprised me, it doesn’t tend to surprise me as much anymore, but surprised me is at moments of not being able to control how funny I think my [00:06:00] child is when they are acting up.

And so there’s this transition time between like babies and toddlers, where what they do and how they do it is adorable and hilarious even if not ideal and it makes it hard to know what to do. And when, so is there an age or specific behaviors that a kiddo may start to have that parents should start using some of these positive parenting strategies?

Dr. Randy Ahn: Something you said I wanted to comment on, which is, you know, finding humor in some of the things that children do. That’s part of being a parent and sometimes misbehaviors can be amusing, and we laugh, but we have to be very careful not to accidentally reward that because. We know that if you do that, you’ve kind of gone down that slippery slope where, you know, especially around mealtimes, playing with food, that kind of thing, or just acting silly out in public, [00:07:00] that can be fine at home, perhaps that when you get out into public, that can be a little bit more embarrassing for parents.

So, parents just need to be mindful to not end wittingly, encourage these kinds of behaviors that would embarrass them. Or behaviors that really encouraged later misbehavior. So, for example, whining is a good example of that. If you have a child who’s whining for something and you find that you’re constantly giving into whining, you’re basically reinforcing your child to do it more because they’re getting something out of it.

So positive parenting would work with that parent to try to find a different way to work with their child so that everyone’s needs were met. And the parent felt that the situation was a little bit more manageable. There are many things that parents can do to prevent these kinds of behaviors from escalating.

And again, it’s being planful. It’s really recognizing when children are behaving appropriately and calling that out. Yeah. Because [00:08:00] children will really respond to that. We forget that children are so in tuned to the voice of a mother or a father. It’s so rewarding just to hear anything. That a parent might say to a child.

And so just a recognition that you’re sitting nicely at the table, you’re using your manners. You’re speaking in a indoor voice. You’re showing respect for people that goes miles. When parents are trying to raise children during this time.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Yeah, that reinforcement of that positive behavior definitely goes a long way for sure. There are a lot of approaches to behavior, correction and discipline that have really been passed down in families simply because that’s how our parents disciplined us. Whether it was time out in a corner, spanking or taking toys away. What do you say to the idea or when people say things like, well, that’s how I was raised, and I turned out okay.

And grandparents saying something similar [00:09:00] about, well, it worked for you when you were a kid. And even just I feel an over presence in social media at times of, well, the problem is parents are too soft on their kids. How can we help parents feel confident in making the shift from how they were raised to a more effective, positive parenting strategy?

Dr. Randy Ahn: I think it’s working with parents; you know, part of the program is there’s a technical side where parents are learning the actual positive parenting strategies, trying them out, getting practice in working with their children in this way. But the other side of positive parenting is. A focus on parent, self-regulation having a parent really reflect on their parenting plan.

And part of this is based on how they were raised and really kind of thinking back in their life, their family of origin, and thinking about the impact of how they were raised on their current behavior and how they [00:10:00] get along with others. We want parents to be intentional about the strategies that they choose.

There’s a whole tool kit for them to choose that don’t necessarily rely upon coercion or yelling at your kids. What we’ve known for several decades now is that, that kind of family conflict. You can get used to that level of discord and conflict in a family and it becomes normal, but we know that that’s related to later problems in life.

It’s difficult for kids to focus in school. It’s related to difficulties with mental health disorders, substance abuse, and so forth. So, I think, you know, we never dictate to parents what they should do. We provide a tool kit and parents really have to select which of the. Strategies are best suited for their family, but we also want to inform parents on what we know about the field and the [00:11:00] research on the consequences of high conflict and families.

And then parents can really make their choice, but we never want to get in that position where we’re, you know, prescribing, you know, this is how you raise your kids. That’s really not our place for that. Parents need to decide on their own.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Great. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Dr. Ahn.

Dr. Randy Ahn: Thank you.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of The Parenting Brief. Want to learn more about implementing positive parenting? Check out the show notes for more helpful information, including free resources on the Triple P website. While you’re there, you can follow The Parenting Brief on your favorite podcast app.

That way you’ll never miss a new episode. Be sure to share the episodes with your friends, cousins, siblings, or any of the moms or expecting moms in your life. A little help can go a long way until next time. This is Jessica. You got this, Mom.[00:12:00]

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