Is it too late to become a positive parent?
You see all the great blog posts or Facebook images or pins about positive parenting, and it sounds great.
But you glance behind you on the path you’ve taken to get here, and it’s strewn with the sounds of your yelling, spanking, punishing, bribing, whining, and threatening.
You see another headline about handling toddler tantrums with love and empathy. But YOU haven’t had a toddler for 5 years, or 9 years, or 14 years, and you think:
Is it too late? Am I too late? Did I mess up my chance? Is it too late to become a positive parent?
I love the book Creating a Charmed Life. (That’s an affiliate link.) It’s a simple little self-help pick-me-up full of little snippets of humor and easy suggestions and insights for making your life brighter.
One of the things the author talks about is that little word TOO that gets in the way of so many things. I’m too old. It’s too late. She suggests just dropping the TOO.
That’s a simple statement of fact.
You could be more specific: my child is 14. Too much of her childhood has gone by? No. Her childhood is going by. 14 years are over.
But it’s not TOO late.
It’s just late.
Wherever you are, and whenever you are, start right there.
Start Where You Are
If your child is 8 years old, now is the right time to become a positive parent.
If your child is 12 years old, now is the right time to become a positive parent.
If your child is 18 years old, now is the right time to become a positive parent.
I even believe that positive parenting is the right choice to make if your child is already completely grown. Positive parenting is about creating a connected, respectful relationship full of cooperation and joy. You can start working on that even if your child is 25 or 30 years old.
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Start With Authentic Communication
One part of positive parenting is even easier when your kids are older, and that’s communication. You can say, out loud, directly:
“I’m sorry for the ways I have tried to control you. I’m sorry for having been an angry, demanding parent. I am learning about positive parenting, and I want to have a better relationship with you. I will try to do better from now on. I hope you will join me in making our relationship a happier place.”
That one admission doesn’t change everything. Your child might not believe you. They might make fun of you. They might believe you are trying to control or manipulate them. You’ll have to have similar conversations over and over again, and you’ll have a lot of hard work ahead of you.
I highly recommend the book Nonviolent Communication (affiliate link) for teaching a method of authentic communication that will help whether you want to talk to your child, your romantic partner, your co-workers, or absolutely anyone.
Start With Connection
In the past, you may have prioritized parenting goals like educational success, behavioral compliance, manners, extracurricular achievement, and so on.
No matter how old your child is, you can decide to prioritize the core connection between you.
Additional Reading: The Most Important Part of Parenting
Set aside any other goals and concerns that have gotten in the way of your connection. Focus deeply on the feelings between you, and begin to build that connected relationship.
Choose to become a positive parent today!
Choosing to become a positive parent is a process that you choose over and over again as you learn and grow. The benefits for you and your child increase over time.
It may be late, but it’s never too late to become a positive parent.