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Oregon Family Magazine

Positive Parenting

04/01/2016 ● By Sandy Kauten
You’ve seen it countless times... You’re at the supermarket and a nearby family has a child is in full meltdown mode. Howling and crying while the weary parent is trying to pick up food for tomorrow’s lunches.  In your mind you think, “Glad that isn’t me!” and then realize, “At least not this time…”

Public tantrums are practically a rite of passage. They are exasperating for parents and, for the most part, not uncommon for kids. It’s important to understand that being frustrated by this behavior is normal and does not mean you are a bad parent. What’s most important in these situations, for both parent and the child, is how you respond.

Parenting is hard work and parenting well is a very important job.  Most parents realize somewhere along the journey they don’t have all the answers for the challenges parenting throws their way.  Many parents look to friends or relatives for help and advice, using individual family values as a guide. Some parents also want to do things differently from how they were parented as a child. The good news is, there are proven strategies to help families from all walks of life and backgrounds promote the healthy development of their children, and foster warm and loving family bonds along the way. One of these strategies is known as Positive Parenting.

At the core of Positive Parenting is the idea that parents offer children encouragement and attention, while being good role models and teaching effective communication skills. This is not being permissive or indulgent, but rather assertive and respectful, with discipline used as a teaching tool rather than a form of punishment.  Positive parenting classes and concepts are available through parenting education and support groups like that at Parenting Now!, a local non-profit whose vision is that “All children are raised by nurturing, skilled parents.”

Parenting Now!, LaneKids and the Oregon Research Institute are collaborating to bring an exciting new parenting education program to Lane County in April 2016.  The program is called the Positive Parenting Program or “Triple P” and is funded by a partnership between Trillium Community Health Plan and Lane County Public Health.

There are five key steps to Triple P's Positive Parenting programs:

· Create a safe, interesting environment

· Have a positive learning environment

· Use assertive discipline

· Have realistic expectations

· Take care of yourself as a parent

What are some examples of “Positive Parenting” you might incorporate into your own life? Here are just a few…

· Stopping what you are doing when your child wants to show you something, and paying full attention to them, even if only briefly.

·  Spending frequent, small amounts of time doing fun things with your child.

·  Being attentive to your own adult needs. Managing your own stress makes it easier for you to respond thoughtfully to your child’s needs. Take a break once in a while, get some adult time with your partner or a friend or take a walk with a pet. 

Lane County’s Triple P program has three phases:

1.  The Stay Positive Parents campaign is promoted across the county via social media, advertisements and LaneKids parenting blog articles with stay-positive parenting tips and strategies. Posters and brochures with these tips and strategies are distributed to health care clinics, schools and other places that reach parents.

2. Triple P positive parenting tip sheets and other parent support materials will be introduced into health care settings so that families who are looking for support and skills can get those tips from their children’s health care providers right when they need them.

3. Families on the Oregon Health Plan with Trillium will be given free access to the Triple P Online Parenting program. Parents who are unable to attend parenting groups at agencies, such as Parenting Now!, will still be able to get free, state-of-the-art parenting education through an online format. They will have help available to them when they need it.

You can get support to stay positive as you parent, even on those frustrating days that are bound to happen!

To learn more about Lane County Triple P, go to   For parenting education opportunities, local events, and articles on parenting, visit or follow LaneKids on Facebook.  To find out more about joining Parenting Now! or to see Parenting Now!’s blog go to or join Parenting Now!’s Facebook page.

Lynne Swartz, executive director of Parenting Now!, Tova Stabin of Parenting Now!, Lindsey Hayward and Taylor Ludtke, of Early Learning Alliance, and Carol Metzler, of Oregon Research Institute, contributed to this article.