Positive Parenting and Pre-empting Trouble – Exploring the Joy Superpower of Pre-empting Trouble with Children

Every parent hopes that their children will grow up to be as healthy – physically and mentally – as possible. However, it can sometimes feel confusing and tricky for the parents to know which ways of parenting are best for the child. Fortunately, a large amount of research has been done about the different approaches when it comes to the most beneficial and effective parenting in the long run. 

Luckily, parenting research has moved towards a more positive focus on predicators of positive outcomes, instead of focusing only on a deficit or risk factor model. According to Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D, when manifesting positive parenting the concentration is on promoting the parenting behaviors that are most important for fostering positive youth development. The underlying assumption of positive parenting is, quoting Godfrey (2019), that “all children are born good, are altruistic and desire to do the right thing”.

“The underlying assumption of positive parenting is that all children are born good, are altruistic and desire to do the right thing”

The emphasis on the positive side of parenting has overall created good results – however, when problems arise, it can be harder to manifest the positivity of it. What is the right way to make sense of conflict and problematic behaviour on children? 


One way of conceptualizing inappropriate behaviour on youth is to understand that they are trying to solve a problem – what is the parents’ biggest challenge is to help them find better ways of solving their problems. According to Gardner et al. (2007) understanding and teaching emotional intelligence as early as possible can for instance help minimize the risks of chronic antisocial behavior and drug use. Perception of emotions, emotional facilitation, understanding emotions and management of emotions are some of the most important skills that can help a child from an early age. 


Unfortunately, nowadays parents and their children might also face new kinds of challenges and obstacles. For instance, it has been studied by Steers et al. (2014) that social media has created modern problems for parents; there has been a recent study by professor Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan where it was found that there are ties between parents’ increased stress and social media. This highlighted especially the pressure of mothers to be the ‘perfect mother’ and comparison to others via social media platforms. 

Another recent obstacle has been COVID-19, which has obviously impacted all of us – especially children who are in a growing and sensible stage altogether. The statistics according to luriechildrens.org are scary: 71 % of parents said the pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of at least one of their children. Referencing the same study, it is seen that the biggest threat is the social isolation as well as remote learning and too high of a screen time. 


Fortunately nowadays we have more information about effective parenting and right practices with children than ever. By educating and learning themselves every parent can strive to be the best possible version of themselves and thus create the most beneficial future to their children. 

“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children” 

– Marianne Williamson

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