Parenting 101

Effective parenting increases the likelihood that you will raise children who are responsible,  competent, and high in self-esteem.  Children who feel good about themselves have no need to act out.  You, the parent, therefore have less of a reason to fight with them.

Effective Parenting

1.   Moderate to high restrictiveness
Clear rules, firm limits.  Parent willing to listen and be flexible, but always in charge.

2.   Insistence on mature behavior
Child given age-appropriate responsibilities.
Parental expectations are high, but realistic.

3.   High parental  acceptance/warmth
Never criticize the child, only the behavior.
Demonstrate affection with hugs, etc.

4.   High responsiveness
Parent promptly attends to the child’s
Physical, emotional and other needs.

5.   High positive involvement
Show interest by asking questions and doing
activities together.  Spend some one-on-one
time with each child in the family.

Ineffective Parenting

1.   Unyielding restrictiveness or extreme
2.   Little insistence on mature behavior


3.   Low parental acceptance/warmth
4.   Inconsistent responsiveness

5.   High negative involvement

Other guidelines for effective parenting:

  1. Say “do_____”, rather than “don’t do_____”.  When kids are told that what they are doing is wrong or even imperfect, they often sulk or rebel.
  2. Rather than issuing commands, offer choices.  Say:  “First you_____,  then you may_____.”
    Or else:   “You have a choice.  You can_____ (what you expect), and then_____(the positive consequence that follows); or you can_____(the misbehavior about to be committed), and then_____(the negative consequence that follows).
  3. Don’t threaten consequences unless you are ready to enforce them, or else your kids will misbehave even more.  Be consistent.  Kids cannot become competent and responsible unless they experience a connection between their actions and the consequences.
  4. Never defend your actions when enforcing your rules – that will only lead to unnecessary arguing.  Offer to hear your kid’s opinions and feelings later, after the rule has been enforced.
  5. Present a united front with your spouse.  If you have differences about parenting, never discuss them in front of the kids.