The pitfalls of positive parenting

  • Reece H
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Abstract

Contemporary official parenting advice about disciplining children can be boiled down to 'Be nice'. I first expand on this claim, drawing on primarily Birth to Five and secondarily Parentchannel.tv, showing that 'Be nice' breaks down into the absence of punishment and the expansion of both positive reinforcement and leading by example, these three components comprising an approach that is popularly described as positive parenting. Second, I examine the ways in which such apparently innocuous advice could be damaging: positive parenting is arduous if not impossible, thereby setting parents up to fail, and partly because of this onerousness, it is arguably destructive of the spontaneity of the parent-child relationship. However, the difficulties of upholding a whole-heartedly spontaneous approach to parenting have led critics to endorse a model of the good parent as the reflective parent, and in conclusion I warn that this is just as coercive as the positive parenting model that it is designed to replace. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Birth to Five
  • Parentchannel.tv
  • child-rearing
  • discipline
  • parenting
  • positive parenting

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Authors

  • Helen Reece

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