Daniel Wong

12 Effective Parenting Skills Every Parent Should Have (Backed by Science)

Updated on January 18, 2024 By Daniel Wong 31 Comments

Good parenting skills

Do you want to have good parenting skills?

Of course you do.

You want to help your children make the most of their potential, and you want them to be contributing members of society.

But it’s time-consuming to sift through all the parenting tips out there.

What makes it more confusing is that the tips from different “parenting experts” are often contradictory!

I wanted to know what parenting skills and tips have been proven to be effective. So I read through all the scientific articles I could find.

Based on many hours of research, I’ve come up with this list of 12 good parenting skills. (If you’d like to discover another three skills effective parents have, download the free bonus below.)

Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the skills found here, plus 3 exclusive bonus skills that you’ll only find in the PDF.

Research-backed good parenting skills.

To become more effective as a parent, practise the skills that have been proven to get the best results.

These will become the parenting strengths you can then rely on to raise children who develop into confident, successful adults.

Parenting skill #1: Focus more on your children’s positive behaviour than negative behaviour.

Yale University psychology professor Alan Kazdin explains that parents should be intentional about focusing more on their children’s positive behaviour than on their negative behaviour. [1]

The more parents scold or reprimand, the more the bad behaviour gets repeated.

When they receive a lot of scolding, children start to internalise the belief that “I’m a bad child who misbehaves and gets scolded”.

As such, they don’t feel motivated to correct their behaviour, because it has already become a part of their identity.

Effective parents understand that the better approach is to acknowledge or describe their children’s good behaviour when they see it.

You may have to go out of your way to do this. (You can also check out these 50+ positive things to say to your children .)

Approach this with patience and dedication and you’ll observe your children’s behaviour improving over time.

Parenting skill #2: Teach your children to focus on the needs of others.

Lara Aknin’s research shows that children find happiness through giving to others. [2]

In fact, children find greater happiness when they give to others sacrificially .

These are interesting findings, because most of us are naturally self-centred. We look out for our own needs before the needs of others.

But the research indicates that if we overcome our selfish nature and focus on the needs of others, we’ll be happier.

If you want your children to lead joyful, fulfilling lives, teach them to serve others and contribute. Involve them in activities where they get to help others and make a positive impact.

When your children think more in terms of contribution and less in terms of achievement, they’ll be on the path of building a happy and successful life .

Parenting skill #3: Don’t shout at your children.

Mother and daughter

You’ve probably already told yourself that you shouldn’t shout at your children.

But when your children are driving you up the wall, it isn’t easy to stop yourself from yelling.

Ming-Te Wang’s research findings are clear: The more you shout at your children, the more their behaviour will worsen. [3]

Instead of trying to control your children’s behaviour, understand their perspective and feelings. Then use logical reasoning to get through to them.

To improve your parenting skills and better manage your anger, try these tips:

  • Make a firm decision that you won’t shout at your children unless it’s a matter of safety
  • Decide beforehand what you’ll do if you start to become angry
  • Walk away from the situation if necessary
  • Take five deep breaths when you become agitated
  • Avoid using threats
  • Analyse the role you have to play in the conflict
  • Think about what unmet needs your child has, so that you can get to the root of the issue, e.g. he might feel as if he has no control over his life, which explains his rebellious or risky behaviour .

Parenting skill #4: Give your children responsibilities around the house.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest longitudinal studies ever done.

One finding of the study is that children who do more chores around the house become happier later on. [4]

Household responsibilities teach children important life lessons related to duty, cooperation, community and hard work.

People who learn such lessons early in life are more likely to become well-adjusted adults.

Successful parents make household chores a part of the family’s routine and culture. This sets children up for future success.

Parenting skill #5: Build a strong relationship with your spouse.

What does your marriage have to do with your parenting skills?

Children from low-conflict families are happier and more successful in the long run, as compared to children from high-conflict families. [5]

The research shows that parents who have a healthy marriage are more likely to raise children who are well-adjusted. Furthermore, you’ll set an example for when they start dating in high school .

One of the most important things you can do to benefit your children is to build a strong relationship with your spouse.

I don’t claim to be a marriage expert, but here are some pieces of advice I’ve received that have helped my wife and I to build a strong marriage:

  • Focus on solving problems instead of assigning blame
  • Remember that the relationship is more important than being right
  • Whenever possible, sit side-by-side when you’re at a restaurant or café
  • Make time to talk every day
  • Ask “What can I give to the relationship?” more often than you ask “What can I get from the relationship?”
  • Discuss your future plans together
  • Don’t pick on your spouse’s flaws
  • Compliment your spouse in front of other people
  • Occasionally ask your spouse, “What can I do to be a better husband/wife?”
  • Don’t compare your marriage with other people’s marriages
  • Be kind and polite to your spouse

Parenting skill #6: Teach your children to view challenges positively.

View challenges positively

Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck has spent decades trying to understand how your mindset affects how successful you become.

She has found that people who view challenges and obstacles positively are far more likely to become successful than those who don’t. [6]

Successful people look at challenges and think: “It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be fun. I’m going to learn a lot through the process of overcoming these challenges.”

On the other hand, people who aren’t so successful look at challenges and think: “It’s going to be hard, so I’d rather do something easier. I’ll try to avoid these challenges, but if I really can’t I’ll find a shortcut instead.”

These differing attitudes develop in childhood and adolescence. As such, good parents hone their skill of enabling their children to view challenges positively.

Parenting skill #7: Don’t do things for your children that your children should do themselves.

Parents want their children to be responsible and independent.

But, at the same time, they feel the urge to supervise their children closely and do things for their children that their children ought to do themselves.

This explains the prevalence of helicopter parents .

Larry Nelson’s research shows that helicopter parenting causes children to become less engaged in school , and causes their well-being to suffer too. [7]

A good parenting skill to develop is how not to be a helicopter parent.

Here are some ways to ensure you don’t become a helicopter parent and instead develop parenting strengths:

  • Don’t do things for your children that are their own responsibility
  • Let your children make age-appropriate choices
  • Let your children deal with the natural consequences of their choices
  • As far as possible, refrain from saying “You’re too young to…”
  • Don’t allow your children to become the centre of your universe
  • Let your children fail
  • Ask your children, “How do you think you might be able to solve the problem?”

Parenting skill #8: Help your children develop social skills.

Researchers tracked more than 750 children over a period of 13 to 19 years. They found a correlation between the children’s social skills as kindergarteners and how self-confident and successful they were as adults. [8]

These findings highlight the importance of teaching children social skills.

Here’s a list of social skills that you can help your children develop:

  • Giving feedback
  • Accepting differences
  • Respecting others’ rights and property
  • Identifying others’ feelings
  • Seeing things from others’ perspective
  • Making eye contact
  • Managing negative emotions
  • Not interrupting
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Disagreeing respectfully
  • Cooperating
  • Helping others
  • Complimenting others
  • Being polite
  • Asking for help

In addition, here’s a handy resource that’s filled with activities to teach children social skills.

Parenting skill #9: Guide your children without controlling or micromanaging them.

Guide your children

Psychologist Diana Baumrind has done years of research about the effects of different parenting styles on children. [9]

She concluded that there are three types of parenting styles in general:

  • Permissive : The parent is too lenient and gives in to the child’s unreasonable demands too often. The parent doesn’t set consistent boundaries or rules. Children with permissive parents often become “spoiled”.
  • Authoritarian : The parent is too strict, and is frequently harsh and uncompromising. The parent often coerces or forces the child into doing things. Children with authoritarian parents often become resentful and rebellious in the long run.
  • Authoritative : The parent is “just right”, showing warmth and affection toward the child without being indulgent. The parent sets boundaries for the child, but is willing to compromise or negotiate if the situation calls for it. All else being equal, children with authoritative parents are the most likely to lead happy, successful lives.

Furthermore, Wendy Grolnick’s research also indicates that children who are raised by controlling parents are less independent and are less likely to develop problem solving skills. [10]

Of course, it’s easier said than done for parents to adopt an authoritative parenting style all the time. But the research shows that this is the most effective approach to take.

So make an effort to guide and coach your children, without being controlling. This is a parenting skill that’s definitely worth developing!

(You can also look into educational coaching as a means to help your children become more proactive and self-motivated.)

Parenting skill #10: Give your children a sense of security.

Research by Lee Raby indicates that children who have a strong sense of security early on in life go on to perform better in school. These children also go on to have healthier relationships in adulthood. [11]

This may seem like an obvious finding, but it’s interesting to note that early experiences have such a profound impact on a child’s development.

To build on your parenting strengths and give your children a sense of security, do the following:

  • Show affection toward them
  • Appreciate them
  • Treat them with respect
  • Acknowledge their feelings
  • Set consistent boundaries
  • Give them your full attention when you’re with them
  • Be approachable
  • Remind them that you love them unconditionally
  • Keep your promises
  • Be dependable and trustworthy

Parenting skill #11: Help your children to develop resilience and perseverance.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that grit – defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” – is one of the most important traits that leads to success. [12]

When it comes to long-term success, the research indicates that grit is more important than factors like IQ and talent.

How can you master the parenting skills that will help your children develop grit?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Emphasise progress over perfection
  • Encourage them to take on manageable challenges
  • Emphasise effort over outcome
  • Model for them what it means to be gritty
  • Show them that you’re continually taking risks and getting outside your comfort zone
  • Talk about the challenges you face and what you’re doing to overcome them
  • Focus more on contribution and less on achievement
  • Let them make mistakes

Parenting skill #12: Manage your own stress effectively.

Stress management

A fascinating study conducted by Marilyn Essex shows that parents’ stress can affect their children’s genes for many years into the future. [13]

This highlights how vital it is for parents to manage their own stress effectively.

Stress affects you, but it also affects your children!

I’ve heard it said that stress is a fact of life, but that it should never become a way of life.

Managing stress is a huge topic on its own. So if you’re under a lot of stress, I encourage you to check out this article and this article for practical tips on how parents can manage their stress better.

Improve your parenting skills and watch your children thrive

You’re committed to developing the skills needed to be a good, effective, and even world-class parent.

How do I know this?

You’ve made it to the end of this 2,000-word article. That’s something only committed parents would do. 🙂

As you implement the tips listed in this article, you’ll become a better parent .

(Download the free bonus below to learn three more skills you ought to develop.)

Over time, you’ll observe your children becoming more responsible , resilient and self-motivated.

And you won’t have to nag them anymore either.

Of course, this is a journey that will take time and effort. But it’ll be worth it!

Like this article? Share it with your friends.

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August 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm

I like this tips I am a mother I have learnt a lot thanks

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April 6, 2020 at 11:20 am

The parenting skills described are excellent tips. Giving such information might surely help motivated parents to inculcate such skills. As for Parenting Skill Trainers these are useful tips.

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August 16, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Being a parent is one of the hardest things in the world. Reading this article , I now know where I have made mistakes and how I can now improve to be a better Mum.

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October 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm

I can see using these skills to re-parent myself. Nice job.

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October 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Thanks indeed,surely i learnt alot…..will mprove on my areas of weaknesses for better generation.

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July 17, 2020 at 6:29 am

Very great and stimulating article. I have learnt new skills in parenting.

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October 20, 2018 at 1:38 am

Very succinct. I have read many articles and books about parenting. This wonderful list is now a goto for me in the morning. It reminds me of what i want to stive for and helps me to set my parenting compass for the day. My kids are 6 and 8.

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December 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for the efforts in putting this together,I have learnt few things from this and noted my area of weaknesses. I trust God to be a better parent.

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January 20, 2019 at 2:05 am

Thank you for this valuable information and as an upcoming parent, I have realized what I was and how I have to be actually to be a parent in an effective way once again thank you for this info…

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February 16, 2019 at 11:29 pm

Thanks for the information,it has helped I’ve seen my faults ill rectify them.

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August 1, 2019 at 2:13 pm

am going to be a great parent

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September 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

Thanks for this article I have learnt a lot

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October 9, 2019 at 5:58 am

thanks i learn a lot from this article

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October 14, 2019 at 10:12 pm

Thank you so much for the tips was so helpful

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November 30, 2019 at 1:10 am

Is this article available in Spanish?

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November 30, 2019 at 9:56 am

I’m very sorry, this article isn’t available in Spanish. Hopefully Google Translate would work okay for you for now?

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January 5, 2020 at 5:19 pm

A very easy to read, compelling and informative article. The balance of what not to fo alongside the good advice determined through research is very helpful.

It is interesting that deliberate long term shaping of personality requires such counter intuitive behaviour – not simply allowing yourself the easiest way out or resorting to blame and punishment.

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February 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm

HOW do I tell my 6yr daughter, who’s getting put words of put downs from a kid that she thought was her friend..? She does not want to tell the teacher because, she don”t want to get him in to trouble ?

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April 1, 2020 at 3:59 am

Hello Dear My Son in now 18 but due to dyslexia he is not been able to read and write. 🙁 So can i do some thing for it now?

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September 17, 2020 at 5:41 am

Yes, you can always learn to read it is never too late. Have been a reading teacher for many years (30)in the early grades in an inner city public school.Have also helped older students. Never give up, please. There are adult volunteer tutors for adults – try your local library. These adult volunteers are committed to helping individuals such as your son.Every person can read. So sorry that schools must have passed your son along. So unfortunate and unfair to your son. Never give up!

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April 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Thank you for publishing this! It is indeed very challenging to be a parent esp on this day and age. This article really serves as a handy guide. Hope to see more posts. If I may also request parenting guide for teenagers.

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July 18, 2020 at 11:40 am

Thanks a lot for the insights. i want to ask permission to cite this article in my book about my personal experience as a parent. I want to leave a legacy for my children and my grandchildren to remember me. ThAnks a lot. God bless and more power to you.

July 18, 2020 at 9:00 pm

You’re welcome, Jessie. Sure, feel free to cite this article in your book and please provide the link to this blog post when you cite it. All the best as you work on the book and may God bless you!

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August 22, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Useful tips. Simple and expressive. Will be using and come back

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December 16, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Thank you for this interesting article! It is very challenging to be a parent at this day and age. Your article is a wonderful guide. Thank you so much👌

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May 20, 2021 at 2:17 pm

This is very useful and great post!

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December 20, 2021 at 1:14 am

Good stuff, Daniel.

Very helpful.

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February 6, 2022 at 2:33 pm

Great resource….. very helpful Thanks Osy

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December 10, 2022 at 1:40 pm

Remarkable. These are sure ways in building children to be positive minded, resilient. self reliant and confident. Thanks

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February 5, 2023 at 1:08 pm

Helpful article. Keep the good work!

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February 17, 2023 at 12:51 am

Thanks for the great information!

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12 parenting skills to improve

8 ways to improve parenting skills, be the best parent you can be.

Parenting is a whirlwind.

No matter what kind of parent you are, raising kids is just as challenging as it is rewarding. Bringing up a child who’s kind, confident, and strong enough to face the world takes work — and much of that work comes from you. 

As a parent, you’re your child’s first role model. Kids observe everything and learn their first lessons about the world and how they should behave from you. Many parents recognize this and strive to use a parenting style that teaches their children without disrespecting them.

Investing in your parenting skills helps you and your children grow together. Here are a few qualities you can model to help your kids become the emotionally intelligent , well-rounded people you want them to be. 

Learning how to be a better parent is a top priority for moms, dads, and caregivers worldwide. But resources are lacking. Research from ZERO TO THREE, a non-profit studying early childhood, shows that 54% of parents want more information about raising kids . 

There’s also a growing push among parents to approach the process differently from their upbringing. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, nearly half of parents say they aim to raise their kids differently than their parents did . And the movement toward gentle or mindful parenting in recent years asks parents to notice how they interact with their children and always respond with respect and positivity. 

Needless to say, parenting is complex. But whether you’re a gentle parent or follow a different leadership style, you can work to become a better parent by honing the following skills. 

1. Communication

Being a parent involves constant communication. In the toddler days, that communication might look like, “Don’t touch that!” or “Don’t eat that!” And when your kids get older, those common phrases might become, “Be home by 9!” and “Make good choices!”

Regardless of how old your kids are, developing strong communication skills early on will make the parenthood road easier and more effective. Use age-appropriate language that approaches instruction with fairness and an open mind. It’s not always easy to respond to behavior with calm , clear language, but a positive relationship starts with communication.

2. Active listening

Many children love to talk. They want to tell you about their toys, the bug they saw at the park, and a million other thoughts that enter their growing minds. 

As a parent, these early years are a perfect time to practice active listening and show your kids you care about what they have to say. And the more you practice this skill, you’ll teach your kids they can come to you with anything — which is especially important as they get older and have bigger problems. 

As an adult, it’s easy to forget the challenges of being a child. And when they don’t listen to your instruction or start throwing a tantrum, frustration grows. 

But children’s brains continue to develop until their mid-to-late 20s , so they don’t always have the ability to do what you ask. Additionally, they don’t finish forming the part of their brain responsible for emotional regulation until they’re eight or nine . Approaching children with empathy and compassion allows their minds to develop without extra pressure or confusion. 

4. Education

As a parent, you’re likely your child’s first teacher. You teach them to eat, walk, and talk long before they enter formal education. And even when kids start school, you still teach them by helping with homework and encouraging positive behaviors . 

Studying different education and coaching skills can help you find the best method for teaching your kids and helping them start their academic careers. It’s also a good practice to research learning styles and discover which one suits your child. That way, you can give them the specific tools they need to succeed.


5. Giving praise

Research shows that parental praise builds resilience and self-esteem . In fact, vague praise like a thumbs-up is actually more beneficial than specific praise because it doesn’t link a child’s good work to a trait like intelligence. Ambiguous praise brings less pressure and gives kids more space to improve. 

As a parent, you should strive to be your child’s cheerleader, showering them with compliments and helping them develop self-love . But it’s also important to do so thoughtfully and intentionally so they have room to grow and don’t feel pressure to perform.

6. Conflict resolution

A child’s world has more conflict than you might think, from parental rules to playground spats. If you want your kid to navigate childhood — and adulthood — successfully, they should understand the basics of conflict resolution . 

Teach them this vital skill by talking them through disagreements with others, like you or their siblings, and by modeling effective conflict resolution in your own life. Kids are sponges, and showing them how to behave is often more effective than telling them.

Learning how to be a good parent usually starts with keeping your little one safe. You babyproof the house, learn how to hold them properly, and watch them like a hawk to make sure they’re doing well and out of harm’s way. This is a critical part of good parenting, but how can you be sure your child will stay safe when you’re not around? 

Brushing up on your safety basics and teaching them to your child can go a long way toward putting your mind at ease, especially if you’re a working parent . Show them how to communicate when they’re hurt and find a trusted adult in any situation. It’s difficult to think of worst-case scenarios, but prepping your child helps prevent them. 


8. Autonomy and independence

Effective parenting isn’t just about your role in your family’s happiness and health. Your children should also learn how to be independent and strong so they know how to navigate the “real world” when they become adults. 

Start by giving them responsibilities within your family. Young children can do simple tasks like picking up their toys or feeding family pets. And as you explore the world together, like taking the subway or going to the movies, explain the actions you’re taking so they understand what to do when they’re independent. 

9. Cooperation

Teamwork is a vital life skill that everyone needs to learn — especially if you want your child to work well with others at school and even in an office. One of the best ways for kids to learn teamwork skills is to start practicing them with you. 

Work together to complete household projects, schoolwork, and more to teach them what healthy collaboration and cooperation looks like. Couple your efforts with positive reinforcement, and you’ll watch your kids become expert team players in no time. 

10. Stress management

Children’s mental health has worsened since 2020, so much so that the American Academy of Pediatrics has deemed it a national crisis . With this in mind, some of the most important advice for parents is to teach kids how to healthily manage stress and communicate their feelings . 

Social media , bullying, and more significantly strain today’s children. They can handle it effectively, and become stronger, if they have some great stress management techniques in their emotional toolkits. And it sets the tone for their future emotional regulation skills.

11. Life skills

No list of tips on parenting would is complete without the obvious: teach your kids practical life skills . They’ll eventually leave home and live on their own, and when they do, they’ll need to know how to do their laundry, cook their meals, and do all the other tasks that are part of daily living.

It’s also essential to help your kids develop problem-solving strategies and other soft skills they’ll need for success in the adult world.

12. Patience

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of patience in life . People need patience to get through everything from waiting at their local coffee shop to getting a test result from the doctor. Teach your children to be patient when they’re young, and show patience when you interact with them. It’s a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

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The skills above can help your kids live happy, healthy, and successful lives — but the learning has to start with you. By managing your emotions and behavior with conscious parenting , you’ll model healthy skill development and encourage your kids to be their best selves . 

Here’s some parental advice to help you (and your kids) gain these valuable skills:

1. Boost self-esteem 

Invest time in building your child’s self-esteem. Kids today have plenty of voices ready to tear them down, from societal beauty standards to bullies online. Make sure your children know that you’re their biggest fan and their constant supporter — and that, most importantly, they should stop comparing themselves to others . 

Model great self-esteem by boosting your own and avoiding negative self-talk . Before long, everyone in your home will feel better about themselves.


2. Recognize the good in your kids

Every kid misbehaves sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they intend to. Remember, a child’s brain doesn’t develop all at once. Emotional regulation takes time, as does understanding right and wrong. 

Giving your kids a time-out when they shout, hit, or throw toys might help change the child’s behavior at the moment, but take a moment to reflect and understand why they made that choice. In most cases, your child tries their best to be good.

3. Set limits

It’s natural to give kids limits to keep them safe. Parental guidelines keep them away from electrical outlets, foods they’re allergic to, and much more. But setting boundaries with your child doesn’t have to stop with telling them what not to do. 

Setting boundaries for yourself is also good practice. In fact, learning how to say no to your kids when you’re busy or tired teaches them patience and how to advocate for their needs.

4. Spend quality time with your kids

Spending quality time with your family with a game night, a weekend excursion, or a walk around the neighborhood helps kids practice social skills and build healthy relationships with their parents, siblings, and other relatives. If you and the rest of your family are tired, a quiet movie night does the trick too.


5. Communicate openly

Good parenting skills start with good communication. The more you talk to your children, the more likely they will be to talk to you. 

Keep an open dialogue with your kids about family dynamics, responsibilities, and their place in the world. When they ask questions , give them eye contact and answer as best you can, keeping their developmental level and your availability in mind. It sets the tone for communication in all parts of their lives.

6. Be flexible and open-minded

There’s one thing you can predict about raising kids: it’s unpredictable. Kids might get sick, feel overtired, or tell you they need help with a huge science project the night before it’s due. 

As a parent, your job is to remain flexible and ready to help your kids manage the situation as best they can. Sometimes, this means skipping a playdate to take a nap.

Other times, it means helping them learn effective project management and the consequences of procrastination . But as long as you approach the situation with a growth mindset and a willingness to help your child grow, you can handle anything.

7. Regulate your emotions

It’s important to teach your kids life skills, but it’s equally important to be a good role model and practice these skills in your life, too. Children watch everything, and if your parenting philosophy is “Do as I say, not as I do,” they will notice. 

Children mimic their parents from a young age , so show them how to behave. Practice using self-control and techniques like deep breathing or meditation to manage your emotions healthily, and your children will be more inclined to do the same. 

8. Offer unconditional love

Your child needs food, entertainment, and more on a day-to-day basis. But one thing your child needs most of all is your love. That’s why the most important parenting tip is to ensure your child knows that you love them all the time: bad or good behavior, happy or sad, winner or loser. If you’re a constant source of love and support, your kids will walk through the world a little bit bolder. 

Learning parenting skills isn’t easy, and there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. But trying is the best place to start. If you put in the effort to learn how to better yourself — through journaling, parent coaching , or any other technique — your whole family will see benefits that last for generations.

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Elizabeth Perry

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What’s positive parenting? 10 tips for navigating parenthood

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Positive Parenting Tips

Collage of children from infants to teens

As a parent you give your children a good start in life—you nurture, protect and guide them. Parenting is a process that prepares your child for independence. As your child grows and develops, there are many things you can do to help your child. These links will help you learn more about your child’s development, positive parenting, safety, and health at each stage of your child’s life.

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Infants (0-1)

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Toddlers (1-2)

A toddler girl

Toddlers (2-3)

Preschool aged child

Preschoolers (3-5)

School aged child holding a soccer ball

Middle Childhood (6-8)

Pre-teen girl

Middle Childhood (9-11)

Young teenage boy

Young Teens (12-14)

Teenage boy

Teenagers (15-17)

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What is Positive Parenting? 33 Examples and Benefits

positive parenting

And while most of us strive to be great parents, we may also find ourselves confused and frustrated by the seemingly endless challenges of parenthood.

As both parents of toddlers and teenagers can attest, such challenges are evident across all developmental stages.

But there is good news— numerous research-supported tools and strategies are now available for parents. These resources provide a wealth of information for common parenting challenges (i.e., bedtime issues, picky eating, tantrums, behavior problems, risk-taking, etc.); as well as the various learning lessons that are simply part of growing up (i.e., starting school, being respectful, making friends, being responsible, making good choices, etc.).

With its focus on happiness, resilience and positive youth development ; the field of positive psychology is particularly pertinent to discussions of effective parenting. Thus, whether you are a parent who’s trying to dodge potential problems; or you are already pulling your hair out— you’ve come to the right place.

This article provides a highly comprehensive compilation of evidence-based positive parenting techniques. These ideas and strategies will cover a range of developmental periods, challenges, and situations. More specifically, drawing from a rich and robust collection of research, we will address exactly what positive parenting means; its many benefits; when and how to use it; and its usefulness for specific issues and age-groups.

This article also contains many useful examples, positive parenting tips, activities, programs, videos, books , podcasts – and so much more. By learning from and applying these positive parenting resources; parents will become the kind of parents they’ve always wanted to be: Confident, Optimistic, and even Joyful.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients build healthy, life-enriching relationships.

This Article Contains:

What is positive parenting, a look at the research, how can it encourage personal development and self growth in a child, how old must the child be, what are the benefits, 12 examples of positive parenting in action, positive parenting styles, a look at positive discipline, positive parenting with toddlers and preschoolers, how to best address sibling rivalry, positive parenting with teenagers, positive parenting through divorce, a take-home message.

Before providing a definition of positive parenting, let’s take a step back and consider what we mean by “parents.” While a great deal of parenting research has focused on the role of mothers; children’s psychosocial well-being is influenced by all individuals involved in their upbringing.

Such caregivers might include biological and adoptive parents, foster parents, single parents, step-parents, older siblings, and other relatives and non-relatives who play a meaningful role in a child’s life. In other words, the term “parent” applies to an array of individuals whose presence impacts the health and well-being of children (Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg & van Ijzendoorn, 2008).

Thus, any time the terms “parent” or “caregiver” are used herein; they apply to any individuals who share a consistent relationship with a child, as well as an interest in his/her well-being (Seay, Freysteinson & McFarlane, 2014).

Fortunately, parenting research has moved away from a deficit or risk factor model towards a more positive focus on predictors of positive outcomes (e.g., protective factors ). Positive parenting exemplifies this approach by seeking to promote the parenting behaviors that are most essential for fostering positive youth development (Rodrigo, Almeida, Spiel, & Koops, 2012).

Several researchers have proposed definitions of positive parenting, such as Seay and colleagues (2014), who reviewed 120 pertinent articles. They came up with the following universal definition:

Positive parenting is the continual relationship of a parent(s) and a child or children that includes caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally.

(Seay et al., 2014, p. 207).

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (2006) similarly defined positive parenting as “ … nurturing, empowering, nonviolent… ” and which “ provides recognition and guidance which involves setting of boundaries to enable the full development of the child ’’ (in Rodrigo et al., 2012, p. 4). These definitions, combined with the positive parenting literature, suggest the following about positive parenting:

  • It involves Guiding
  • It involves Leading
  • It involves Teaching
  • It is Caring
  • It is Empowering
  • It is Nurturing
  • It is Sensitive to the Child’s Needs
  • It is Consistent
  • It is Always Non-violent
  • It provides Regular Open Communication
  • It provides Affection
  • It provides Emotional Security
  • It provides Emotional Warmth
  • It provides Unconditional Love
  • It recognizes the Positive
  • It respects the Child’s Developmental Stage
  • It rewards Accomplishments
  • It sets Boundaries
  • It shows Empathy for the Child’s Feelings
  • It supports the Child’s Best Interests

Along with these qualities, Godfrey (2019) proposes that the underlying assumption of positive parenting is that “… all children are born good, are altruistic and desire to do the right thing …” (positiveparenting.com).

Godfrey further adds that the objective of positive parenting is to teach discipline in a way that builds a child’s self-esteem and supports a mutually respectful parent-child relationship without breaking the child’s spirit (2019). These authors reveal an overall picture of positive parenting as warm, thoughtful and loving— but not permissive.

There is plenty of research supporting the short- and long-term effects of positive parenting on adaptive child outcomes. To begin with, work by the Positive Parenting Research Team ( PPRT ) from the University of Southern Mississippi (Nicholson, 2019) is involved in various studies aimed at examining the impact of positive parenting.

  • The following are included among the team’s research topics:
  • Relationships between positive parenting and academic success;
  • Positive parenting as a predictor of protective behavioral strategies;
  • Parenting style and emotional health; maternal hardiness, coping and social support in parents of chronically ill children, etc.

The PPRT ultimately seeks to promote positive parenting behaviors within families.

In their seven-year longitudinal study; Pettit, Bates and Dodge (1997) examined the influence of supportive parenting among parents of pre-kindergartners. Supportive parenting was defined as involving mother‐to‐child warmth, proactive teaching, inductive discipline, and positive involvement. Researchers contrasted this parenting approach with a less supportive, more harsh parenting style.

Supportive parenting was associated with more positive school adjustment and fewer behavior problems when the children were in sixth grade. Moreover, supportive parenting actually mitigated the negative impact of familial risk factors (i.e., socioeconomic disadvantage, family stress, and single parenthood) on children’s subsequent behavioral problems (Pettit et al., 2006).

Researchers at the Gottman Institute also investigated the impact of positive parenting by developing a 5-step ‘emotion coaching’ program designed to build children’s confidence and to promote healthy intellectual and psychosocial growth.

Gottman’s five steps for parents include:

  • awareness of emotions;
  • connecting with your child;
  • listening to your child;
  • naming emotions; and
  • finding solutions (Gottman, 2019).

Gottman has reported that children of “emotional coaches” benefit from a more a positive developmental trajectory relative to kids without emotional coaches. Moreover, an evaluation of emotional coaching by Bath Spa University found several positive outcomes for families trained in emotional coachings, such as parental reports of a 79% improvement in children’s positive behaviors and well-being (Bath Spa University, 2016).

Overall, research has indicated that positive parenting is related to various aspects of healthy child development (many more examples of evidence supporting the benefits are positive parenting are described further in this article). Such outcomes are neither fleeting nor temporary; and will continue well beyond childhood.

Another way of thinking about the role of positive parenting is in terms of resilience. When children—including those who begin life with significant disadvantages— experience positive and supportive parenting, they are far more likely to thrive.

It is in this way that positive parenting minimizes health and opportunity disparities by armoring children with large stores of emotional resilience (Brooks, 2005; Brooks & Goldstein, 2001). And since we know positive parenting works; what parent wouldn’t want to learn how to use it and thereby give his/her child the best shot at a healthy and happy life?

There are various mechanisms through which positive parenting promotes a child’s prosocial development.

For example, Eisenberg, Zhou, and Spinrad et al. (2005) suggest that positive parenting impacts children’s temperament by enhancing emotion regulation (e.g., “effortful control” enabling children to focus attention in a way that promotes emotion modulation and expression).

The authors reported a significant link between parental warmth and positive expressivity on children’s long-term emotion regulation. This ability to use effortful control was found to predict reduced externalizing problems years later when children were adolescents (Eisenbert et al., 2005).

Along with emotion regulation, there are many other ways in which positive parenting encourages a child’s positive development and self-growth.

Here are some examples:

  • Teaching and leading promote children’s confidence and provides them with the tools needed to make good choices.
  • Positive communication promotes children’s social and problem-solving skills while enhancing relationship quality with caregivers and peers.
  • Warm and democratic parenting enhances children’s self-esteem and confidence.
  • Parental supervision promotes prosocial peer bonding and positive youth outcomes.
  • Autonomy-promoting parenting supports creativity, empowerment, and self-determination.
  • Supportive and optimistic parenting fosters children’s belief in themselves and the future.
  • Providing recognition for desirable behaviors increases children’s self-efficacy and the likelihood of engaging in prosocial, healthy behaviors.
  • Providing boundaries and consequences teaches children accountability and responsibility.

Generally speaking, there are many aspects of positive parenting that nurture children’s self-esteem; creativity; belief in the future; ability to get along with others; and sense of mastery over their environment.

Warm, loving and supportive parents feed a child’s inner spirit while empowering him/her with the knowledge and tools necessary to approach life as a fully capable individual.

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The need for positive parenting begins – well, at the beginning. The attachment literature has consistently indicated that babies under one year of age benefit from positive parenting. More specifically, a secure attachment between infants and mothers is related to numerous positive developmental outcomes (i.e., self-esteem, trust, social competence, etc.; Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg & van Ijzendoorn, 2008).

The quality of the mother-child attachment is believed to be a function of parental sensitivity (e.g., mothers who accurately perceive and quickly respond to their babies’ needs; Juffer et al., 2008)— which is certainly a key indicator of positive parenting practices in their earliest form.

Not only is a secure mother-child attachment related to early positive developmental outcomes, but more recent attachment research also indicates long-term increases in social self-efficacy among girls with secure attachments to their fathers (Coleman, 2003).

There are even ways in which positive parenting benefits a child or family as soon as the parents learn of a pregnancy or adoption (i.e., see the subsequent ‘sibling rivalry’ section). Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough: Positive parenting begins as early as possible.

There is empirical evidence for numerous benefits of positive parenting, which cover all developmental stages from infancy to late adolescence. The following table provides a list of many such examples:

The evidence clearly supports a relationship between positive parenting approaches and a large variety of prosocial parent and child outcomes. Therefore, practitioners have developed and implemented a range of programs aimed at promoting positive parenting practices.

Here are some noteworthy examples; including those which target specific risk factors, as well as those with a more preventative focus:

  • Parent’s Circle program (Pearson & Anderson, 2001): Recognizing that positive parenting begins EARLY, this program helped parents of infants in the neonatal intensive care unit to enhance their parenting skills in order to better parent their fragile newborns.
  • The Home Visiting Program (Ammaniti, Speranza, & Tambelli, et al., 2006): Also focused on babies, this program aimed to increase parental sensitivity in order to improve secure mother-infant attachments. In doing so, psychologists visited high-risk mothers at their homes in order to improve parental sensitivity to their infants’ signals.
  • The Early Head Start Home-based Program (Roggman, Boyce, & Cook, 2009): This home-based program also focused on promoting parent-child attachment. Parents in semirural areas received weekly home-based visits from a family educator who taught them positive strategies aimed at promoting healthy parent-child interactions and engagement in children’s activities.
  • American Psychological Association’s ACT Raising Safe Kids (RSK) program (Knox, Burkhard, & Cromly, 2013): The goal of this program was to improve parents’ positive parenting knowledge and skills by teaching nonviolent discipline, anger management, social problem‐solving skills, and other techniques intended to protect children from aggression and violence.
  • New Beginnings Program (Wolchik, Sandler, Weiss, & Winslow, 2007): This empirically-based 10-session program was designed to teach positive parenting skills to families experiencing divorce or separation. Parents learned how to nurture positive and warm relationships with kids, use effective discipline, and protect their children from divorce-related conflict. The underlying goal of the New Beginnings Program was to promote child resilience during this difficult time.
  • Family Bereavement Program (Sandler, Wolchik, Ayers, Tein, & Luecken, 2013): This intervention was aimed at promoting resilience in parents and children experiencing extreme adversity: The death of a parent. This 10-meeting supportive group environment helped bereaved parents learn a number of resilience-promoting parenting skills (i.e., active listening, using effective rules, supporting children’s coping, strengthening family bonds, and using adequate self-care).
  • The Positive Parent (Suárez, Rodríguez, & López, 2016): This Spanish online program was aimed at enhancing positive parenting by helping parents to learn about child development and alternative child-rearing techniques; to become more aware, creative and independent in terms of parenting practices; to establish supportive connections with other parents; and to feel more competent and satisfied with their parenting.
  • Healthy Families Alaska Programs (Calderaa, Burrellb, & Rodriguez, 2007): The objective of this home visiting program was to promote positive parenting and healthy child development outcomes in Alaska. Paraprofessionals worked with parents to improve positive parenting attitudes, parent-child interactions, child development knowledge, and home environment quality.
  • The Strengthening Families Program (Kumpfer & Alvarado, 1998): This primary prevention program has been widely used to teach parents a large array of positive parenting practices. Following family systems and cognitive-behavioral philosophies, the program has taught parenting skills such as engagement in positive interactions with children, positive communication, effective discipline, rewarding positive behaviors, and the use of family meetings to promote organization. The program’s overall goal was to enhance child and family protective factors; to promote children’s resilience, and to improve children’s social and life skills.
  • Incredible Years Program (Webster-Stratton& Reid, 2013): This program refers to a widely implemented and evaluated group-based intervention designed to reduce emotional problems and aggression among children, and to improve their social and emotional competence. Parent groups received 12-20 weekly group sessions focused on nurturing relationships, using positive discipline, promoting school readiness and academic skills, reducing conduct problems, and increasing other aspects of children’s healthy psychosocial development. This program has also been used for children with ADHD.
  • Evidence-based Positive Parenting Programs Implemented in Spain (Ministers of the Council of Europe, in Rodrigo et al., 2012): In a special issue of Psychosocial Intervention, multiple evaluation studies of positive parenting programs delivered across Spain are presented. Among the programs included are those delivered in groups, at home, and online; each of which is aimed at positive parenting support services. This issue provides an informative resource for understanding which parents most benefited from various types of evidence-based programs aimed at promoting positive parenting among parents attending family support services.
  • Triple P Positive Parenting Program (Sanders, 2008): This program, which will be described in more detail in a subsequent post, is a highly comprehensive parenting program with the objective of providing parents of high-risk children with the knowledge, confidence, and skills needed to promote healthy psychological health and adjustment in their children. While these programs are multifaceted, an overarching focus of the Triple P programs is to improve children’s self-regulation.

A reoccurring theme in the positive parenting literature is that a warm, yet firm parenting style is linked to numerous positive youth outcomes. This style is termed ‘authoritative’ and it is conceptualized as a parenting approach that includes a good balance of the following parenting qualities: assertive, but not intrusive; demanding, but responsive; supportive in terms of discipline, but not punitive (Baumrind, 1991).

Along with an authoritative parenting style, a developmental parenting style is also believed to support positive child outcomes (Roggman et al., 2008).

Developmental parenting is a positive parenting style that promotes positive child development by providing affection (i.e., through positive expressions of warmth toward the child); responsiveness (i.e., by attending to a child’s cues); encouragement (i.e., by supporting a child’s capabilities and interests); and teaching (i.e., by using play and conversation to support a child’s cognitive development (Roggman & Innocenti, 2009).

Developmental parenting clearly shares several commonalities with authoritative parenting, and both represent positive parenting approaches.

Overall, by taking a good look at positive parenting strategies that work for raising healthy, happy kids; it is evident that positive parenting styles encourage a child’s autonomy by:

  • Supporting exploration and involvement in decision-making
  • Paying attention and responding to a child’s needs
  • Using effective communication
  • Attending to a child’s emotional expression and control
  • Rewarding and encouraging positive behaviors
  • Providing clear rules and expectations
  • Applying consistent consequences for behaviors
  • Providing adequate supervision and monitoring
  • Acting as a positive role model
  • Making positive family experiences a priority

In a nutshell, positive parents support a child’s healthy growth and inner spirit by being loving, supportive, firm, consistent, and involved. Such parents go beyond communicating their expectations, but practice what they preach by being positive role models for their children to emulate.

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The term ‘discipline’ often has a negative, purely punitive connotation. However, ‘discipline’ is actually defined as “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character” (Merriam-Webster, 2019).

This definition is instructive, as it reminds us that as parents, we are not disciplinarians, but rather teachers. And as our children’s teachers, our goal is to respectfully show them choices for behaviors and to positively reinforce adaptive behaviors.

Positive discipline again harkens back to authoritative parenting because it should be administered in a way that is firm and loving at the same time. Importantly, positive discipline is never violent, aggressive or critical; it is not punitive.

Relevant: Examples of Positive Punishment & Negative Reinforcement

Physical punishment (i.e., spanking) is ineffective for changing behaviors in the long-term and has a number of detrimental consequences on children (Gershoff, 2013). Indeed, the objective of positive discipline is to “teach and train. Punishment (inflicting pain/purposeful injury) is unnecessary and counter-productive” (Kersey, 2006, p. 1).

Nelsen (2006) describes a sense of belonging as a primary goal of all people; a goal that is not achieved through punishment. In fact, she describes the four negative consequences of punishment on children (e.g., “the four R’s”) as resentment toward parents; revenge that may be plotted in order to get back at parents; rebellion against parents, such as through even more excessive behaviors; and retreat, that may involve becoming sneaky and/or experiencing a loss of self-esteem (Nelsen, 2006).

She provides the following five criteria for positive discipline (which are available on her positive discipline website ):

  • Is both kind and firm
  • Promotes a child’s sense of belonging and significance
  • Works long-term (note: punishment may have an immediate impact, but this is short-lived)
  • Teaches valuable social and life skills (i.e., problem-solving, social skills, self-soothing, etc.)
  • Helps children develop a sense that they are capable individuals

In her comprehensive and helpful book for parents: Positive Discipline , Nelsen (2006) also describes a number of key aspects of positive discipline, such as being non-violent, respectful, and grounded in developmental principles; teaching children self-respect, empathy, and self-efficacy; and promoting a positive relationship between parent and child.

Stated another way, “ respecting children teaches them that even the smallest, most powerless, most vulnerable person deserves respect, and that is a lesson our world desperately needs to learn ” (LR Knost, lovelivegrow.com).

Since we know that positive discipline does not involve the use of punishment; the next obvious questions become “Just what exactly does it involve?”

This question is undoubtedly urgent for parents who feel like their child is working diligently toward driving them mad. While we will discuss some of the more typical frustrations that parents regularly encounter later in the article, Kersey (2006) provides parents with a wonderful and comprehensive resource in her publication entitled “101 positive principles of discipline.”

Here are her top ten principles:

  • Demonstrate Respect Principle : Treat the child in the same respectful way you would like to be treated.
  • Make a Big Deal Principle : Use positive reinforcement in meaningful ways for desired behaviors. Reward such behaviors with praise, affection, appreciation, privileges, etc.
  • Incompatible Alternative Principle : Provide the child with a behavior to substitute for the undesirable one, such as playing a game rather than watching tv.
  • Choice Principle : Provide the child with two choices for positive behaviors so that he/she feels a sense of empowerment. For example, you might say “would you rather take your bath before or after your brush your teeth?”
  • When/Then – Abuse it/Lose it Principle : Ensure that rewards are lost when rules are broken. For example, you might say “After you clean your room, you can play outside” (which means that a child who does not clean his/her room, will not get to play outside. Period.)
  • Connect Before You Correct Principle : Ensure that the child feels loved and cared for before behavioral problems are attended to.
  • Validation Principle : Validate the child’s feelings. For example, you might say “I know you are sad about losing your sleepover tonight and I understand”.
  • Good Head on Your Shoulders Principle : Ensure that the child hears the equivalent of “you have a good head on your shoulders” in order to feel capable, empowered and responsible for his/her choices. This is especially important for teenagers.
  • Belonging and Significance Principle : Ensure that your child feels important and as if he/she belongs. For example, remind your child that he/she is really good at helping in the kitchen and that the family needs this help in order to have dinner.
  • Timer Says it’s Time Principle : Set a timer to help children make transitions. This helps kids to know what’s expected of them and may also involve giving them a choice in terms of the amount of time. For example, you might say “Do you need 15 or 20 minutes to get dressed?” Make sure to let the child know that the time is set.

The reader is encouraged to check-out Kersey’s 101 positive discipline principles, as they contain an enormous amount of useful and effective approaches for parents; along with principles that reflect many everyday examples (e.g., Babysitter Principle; Apology Principle; Have Fun Together Principle; Talk About Them Positively to Others Principle; Whisper Principle; Write a Contract Principle; and so much more).

This section has provided many helpful positive discipline ideas for a myriad of parenting situations and challenges. Positive discipline (which will be expounded on later sections of in the article: i.e., ‘positive parenting with toddlers and preschoolers,’ ‘temper tantrums,’ ‘techniques to use at bedtime,’ etc.) is an effective discipline approach that promotes loving parent-child relationships, as well as producing productive, respectful, and happy children.

positive parenting with toddlers

The notion of parenting a toddler can frighten even the most tough-minded among us. This probably isn’t helped by terms such as ‘terrible two’s,’ and jokes like “ Having a two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it ” (Jerry Seinfeld, goodreads.com).

Sure, toddlers and preschoolers get a bad rap; but they do sometimes seem like tiny drunken creatures who topple everything in their path. Not to mention their tremendous noise and energy, mood swings, and growing need for independence.

While their lack of coordination and communication skills can be endearing and often hilarious; they are also quite capable of leaving their parents in a frenzied state of frustration. For example, let’s consider the situation below.

The Grocery Store Blow-out

In this relatable example, a dad and his cranky 3-year-old find themselves in a long line at a grocery store. The child decides she’s had enough shopping and proceeds to throw each item out of the cart while emitting a blood-curdling scream.

The father, who may really need to get the shopping done, is likely to shrivel and turn crimson as his fellow shoppers glare and whisper about his “obnoxious child” or “bad parenting.” He, of course, tells her to stop; perhaps by asking her nicely, or trying to reason with her.

When this doesn’t’ work, he might switch his method to commanding, pleading, threatening, negotiating, or anything else he can think of in his desperation. But she is out of control and beyond reason. The father wants an immediate end to the humiliation; but he may not realize that some quick fixes intended to placate his child, will only make his life worse in the long run.

So, what is he to do?

Before going into specific solutions for this situation, it is essential that parents understand this developmental stage. There are reasons for the child’s aggravating behaviors; reasons that are biologically programmed to ensure survival.

For example, kids aged two-to-three are beginning to understand that there are a lot of things that seem scary in the world. As such, they may become anxious about a variety of situations; like strangers, bad dreams, extreme weather, creepy images, doctor and dentist offices, monsters, certain animals, slivers or other minor medical issues, etc.

While these childhood fears make life more difficult for parents (i.e., when a child won’t stay in his/her room at night due to monsters and darkness, or when a child makes an enormous fuss when left with a babysitter), they are actually an indicator of maturity (Durant, 2016).

The child is reacting in a way that supports positive development by fearing and avoiding perceived dangers. While fear of monsters does not reflect a truly dangerous situation, avoidance of individuals who appear mean or aggressive is certainly in the child’s best interest.

Similarly, fear of strangers is an innate protective mechanism that prompts children to stay close to those adults who keep them healthy and safe. And some strangers indeed should be feared. Although a challenge for parents, young children who overestimate dangers with consistent false-positives are employing their survival instincts.

In her book  Positive Discipline (which is free online and includes worksheets for parents), Durant (2016) notes the importance of respecting a child’s fears and not punishing her/him for them, as well as talking to the child in a way that shows empathy and helps him/her to verbalize feelings. Durant proposes that one of the keys of effective discipline is “… to see short-term challenges as opportunities to work toward your long-term goals” (2016, p. 21).

With this objective in mind, any steps a parent takes when dealing with a frightened or misbehaving child should always be taken with consideration of their potential long-term impact. Long-term goals, which Durant describes as “the heart of parenting” may be hard to think about when a child is challenging and a frustrated parent simply wants the behavior to stop.

However, punishing types of behaviors such as yelling, are not likely to be in-line with long-term parenting goals. By visualizing their preschooler as a high school student or even an adult, it can help parents to ensure that their immediate responses are in-line with the kind, peaceful and responsible person they wish to see in 15 years or so. Durant (2016) provides several examples of long-term parenting goals, such as:

  • Maintaining a quality relationship with the parent
  • Taking responsibility for actions
  • Being respectful of others
  • Knowing right from wrong
  • Making wise decisions
  • Being honest, loyal and trustworthy

Related: Examples of Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom

Grocery Store Blow-out Solutions

Long-term parenting goals are highly relevant to the maddening grocery store example. If the dad only thinks about the short-term goal of making his daughter’s behavior stop embarrassing him at the store, he might decide to tell her she can have a candy bar if she is quiet and stops throwing items from the cart.

This way, he might reason, he can finish his shopping quickly and without humiliation. Sure, this might work as far as getting the child to behave on that day— at that moment; BUT here are some likely consequences:

  • Next time they go shopping, she will do this again in order to receive the candy reward.
  • Pretty much every time they go shopping, she will do the same thing; and the value of the reward is likely to escalate as she gets tired of the candy.
  • She will learn that this behavior can get her rewards in all sorts of places beyond the grocery store, thus making her exhausted parents afraid to take her anywhere.

Moreover, the message she receives from the candy tactic will not reinforce the qualities the father likely wants to see in his daughter over time, such as:

  • Being respectful of her parents
  • Being respectful of others around her
  • Being respectful of others’ property
  • Being responsible for her behavior
  • Being courteous and considerate
  • Being helpful
  • Having good manners
  • Having good social skills

Therefore, the father might instead deal with this situation by calmly telling her that she needs to stop or she will get a time-out. The time-out can take place somewhere in the store that is not reinforcing for her, such as a quiet corner with no people around (e.g., no audience). Or they can go sit in the car.

If the store is especially crowded, the dad might also ask the clerk to place his cart in a safe place and/or save his place in line until he returns (which he/she will likely be inclined to do if it will get the child to be quiet). After a brief time-out, he should give his daughter a hug and let her know the rules for the remainder of the shopping trip, as well as the consequences of not following them.

In some cases, it might be better for the parent to simply leave the store without the groceries and go home. He won’t have completed his shopping, but that will be a small price for having a child who learns a good lesson on how to behave.

Very importantly, however; if he does take her home, this absolutely cannot be done in a way that is rewarding (i.e., she gets to go home and play, watch tv, or anything else she enjoys). She will need a time-out immediately upon arriving home, as well as perhaps the message that dinner won’t be her favorite tonight since the shopping was not done.

This is not meant to be punitive or sarcastic, more of a natural consequence for her to learn from (e.g., “If I act-out at the store, we won’t have my favorite foods in the house”). In fact, even though he may not feel like it, the father needs to speak to his daughter in a kind and loving way.

Regardless of whether the consequence is in the store or at home, the dad absolutely must follow-through consistently. If he doesn’t, he will teach her that sometimes she can misbehave and still get what she wants; this is a pattern of reinforcement that is really difficult to break.

Of course, the father cannot leave the store each time she misbehaves, as he won’t get anything done and he’s also giving her too much control. Thus, he should prepare in advance for future shopping trips by making her aware of the shopping rules, expectations for her behavior, and the consequences if she breaks them.

The father should be specific about such things, as “I expect you to be good at the store” is not clear. Saying something more like “The rules for shopping are that you need to talk in your quiet voice, listen to daddy, sit still in the cart, help daddy give the items to the clerk, etc.” The dad is also encouraged to only take her shopping when she is most likely to behave (i.e., when well-rested, well-fed, not upset about something else, etc.).

He might also give her something to do while shopping, such as by bringing her favorite book or helping to put items in the cart. Giving his daughter choices will also help her feel a sense of control (i.e., “You can either help put the items in the cart or you can help give them to the clerk”).

And, finally, the little girl should be rewarded for her polite shopping behavior with a great deal of praise (i.e., “You were a very good girl at the store today. You really helped Daddy and I enjoyed spending time with you”).

He might also reward her with a special experience (i.e., “You were so helpful at the store, that we saved enough time to go the park later” or “You were such a great helper today; can you also help daddy make dinner?”). Of course, the reward should not consist of food, since that can lead to various other problems.

There are many more positive parenting tips for this and other difficult parenting scenarios throughout this article, as well as numerous helpful learning resources. In the meantime, it is always wise to remember that your toddler or preschooler does not act the way he/she does in order to torture you— it’s not personal.

There are always underlying reasons for these behaviors. Just keep your cool, plan-ahead, think about your long-term goals, and remember that your adorable little monster will only be this age for a brief time.

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Siblings, whether biological; adopted; full or half stepsiblings; often pick at each other endlessly. Arguments between siblings are a normal part of life. However, sometimes the degree of animosity between siblings (e.g., sibling rivalry) can get out of control and interfere with the quality of the relationship. Not to mention creating misery for parents. Plus, there are negative long-term consequences of problematic sibling relationships, such as deviant behavior among older children and teens (Moser & Jacob, 2002).

Sibling rivalry is often complicated, as it is affected by a range of family variables, such as family size, parent-child interactions, parental relationships, children’s genders, birth order, and personality—among others. And it starts really early. Sometimes, as soon as a child realizes a baby brother or sister is on the way, emotions begin to run high. Fortunately, parents have a great opportunity to prepare their children from the start.

For example, the parent can foster a healthy sibling relationship by engaging in open communication about becoming a big brother or sister early on. This should be done in a way that is exciting and supports the child’s new role as the older sibling. Parents can support bonding by allowing the child to feel the baby kick or view ultrasound pictures. They can solicit their child’s help in decorating the baby’s room.

For some families, their newborn baby may be premature or have other medical problems that require time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In this situation, which can be quite stressful for siblings, parents should talk to the older child about what’s happening. Parents might also provide the child with updates on the baby’s progress, prepare the child for visits to the NICU, have the child draw a picture to leave with the baby, make a scrapbook for the baby, and set aside plenty of time with the older child (Beavis, 2007).

If the new child is going to be adopted, it is also important to encourage a connection. For example, along with explaining how the adoption will work, the child can be involved in the exciting aspects of the process once it is confirmed. In the case of an older child or international adoption, there are special things parents can do as well.

For example, if a child is in an orphanage, the sibling can help pick-out little gifts to send ahead of time (i.e., a stuffed animal, soft blanket or clothing). Having the child draw a picture and/or write a letter to the new sibling is another way to enhance the relationship. Adopting an older child will require particular preparation; as the new sibling will arrive with his/her own fears, traits, memories, and experiences that will certainly come into play.

There are a number of children’s books designed to help parents prepare their children for a new sibling, such as You Were the First (MacLachlan, 2013), My Sister Is a Monster : Funny Story on Big Brother and New Baby Sister How He Sees Her (Green, 2018), and Look-Look : The New Baby (Mayer, 2001).

There are also children’s books that help prepare children for adopted siblings, with some that are even more focused on the type of adoption. Here are a few examples: Seeds of Love : For Brothers and Sisters of International Adoption (Ebejer Petertyl & Chambers, 1997), A Sister for Matthew : A Story About Adoption (Kennedy, 2006), and Emma’s Yucky Brother (Little, 2002).

Along with the above tips, Amy McCready (2019) provides some excellent suggestions for ending sibling rivalry, these include:

  • Avoid Labeling Children: by labeling children in ways such as “the social one,” “the great student,” “the athlete,” “the baby” etc., parents intensify comparisons, as well as one child’s belief that he/she does not possess the same positive qualities as the other one (i.e., “if he’s the ‘brainy one,’ I must be the ‘dumb one,’”).
  • Arrange for Attention: Make sure each child has plenty of regular intentional attention so that they will be less inclined to fight for it.
  • Prepare for Peace: McCready describes several ways to teach conflict resolution skills that help to avoid further issues between siblings.
  • Stay out of Squabbles: Unless absolutely necessary (i.e., during a physical fight), it is best to stay out of squabbles. In doing so, the parent is not reinforcing the disagreement, while also enabling the children to work out solutions together.
  • Calm the Conflict: If you must intervene, it is best to help the children problem-solve the situation without judgment or taking sides.
  • Put them All in the Same Boat: McCready suggests that all children involved in the conflict receive the same consequence, which teaches them that they each will benefit from getting along.

These and other useful tips and resources are available on McCready’s Positive Parenting Solutions website . Luckily, by being thoughtful and preparing ahead of time, parents can avoid excessive competition between children and promote meaningful lifelong sibling bonds.

Before discussing positive parenting with teenagers, it is important to remember one key fact: Teens still need and want their parents’ support, affection, and guidance— even if it doesn’t seem like it. Just as with younger kids, parental figures are essential for helping adolescents overcome difficult struggles (Wolin, Desetta & Hefner, 2016).

Indeed, by fostering a sense of mastery and internal locus of control, adults help to empower a teen’s sense of personal responsibility and control over the future (Blaustein & Kinniburgh, 2018). In fact, the presence of nurturing adults who truly listen has been reported among emotionally resilient teens (Wolin et al., 2016).

Positive parenting practices such as quality communication, parental monitoring, and authoritative parenting style also have been found to predict fewer risky behaviors among adolescents (DeVore & Ginsburg, 2005).

As parents of teens know, there are many challenges involved in parenting during this developmental period. Adolescents often find themselves confused about where they fit in the area between adulthood and childhood. They may desire independence, yet lack the maturity and knowledge to execute it safely. They are often frustrated by their bodily changes, acne and mood swings.

Teens may be overwhelmed by school, as well as pressures from parents and peers. Teens may feel bad about themselves and even become anxious or depressed as they try to navigate the various stressors they face.

Many of these difficulties, which certainly need attention from parents, may also make conversations difficult. Parents may feel confused as to how much freedom versus protectiveness is appropriate. The Love and Logic approach (Cline & Faye, 2006) provides some terrific ways for parents to raise responsible, well-adjusted teens.

The authors’ approach for parents involves two fundamental concepts: “Love [which] means giving your teens opportunities to be responsible and empowering them to make their own decisions.” And “Logic [which] means allowing them to live with the natural consequences of their mistakes-and showing empathy for the pain, disappointment, and frustration they’ll experience” (Foster, Cline, & Faye, 2019, hopelbc.com, p. 1).

Just as with young children, the Love and Logic method is a warm and loving way to prepare teens for the future while maintaining a quality relationship with parents.

Another positive parenting approach that is particularly applicable to adolescents is the Teen Triple P Program (Ralph & Sanders, 2004). Triple P (which will be described in a subsequent post) is tailored toward teens and involves teaching parents a variety of skills aimed at increasing their own knowledge and confidence.

The program also promotes various prosocial qualities in teens such as social competence, health, and resourcefulness; such that they will be able to avoid engaging in problem behaviors (e.g., substance use, risky sex, delinquency, Bulimia, etc.). This approach enables parents to replace harsh discipline styles for those that are more nurturing, without being permissive. It aims to minimize parent-teen conflict while providing teens with the tools and ability to make healthy choices (Ralph & Sanders, 2004).

Parents of teens (or future teens) often shudder when considering the dangers and temptations to which their children may be exposed. With a focus specifically on substance use, the Partnership for Drug-free Kids website offers a great deal of information for parents who are either dealing with teen drug use or are doing their best to prevent it.

For example, several suggestions for lowering the probability that a teen will use substances include:

  • knowing your teen’s friends;
  • being a positive role model in terms of your own coping mechanisms and use of alcohol and medication;
  • being aware of your child’s level of risk for substance use;
  • providing your teen with substance use information;
  • supervising and monitoring your teen;
  • setting boundaries;
  • communicating openly about substance use; and
  • building a supportive and warm relationship with your teen (Partnership for Drug-free Kids; PDK, 2014).

These suggestions are discussed in more detail on the following PDF : Parenting Practices: Help Reduce the Chances Your Child will Develop a Drug or Alcohol Problem (PDK, 2014). By employing these and other positive parenting techniques, you are helping your teenager to become a respectful, well-adjusted and productive member of society.

positive parenting through divorce

Divorce has become so common that dealing with it in the best possible way for kids is of vital importance to parents everywhere.

Parental divorce/separation represents a highly stressful experience for children that can have both immediate and long-term negative consequences.

Children of divorce are at increased risk for mental health, emotional, behavioral, and relationship problems (Department of Justice, Government of Canada, 2015).

There is, however, variability in how divorce affects children; with some adverse consequences being temporary, and others continuing well into adulthood. Since we know that divorce does not impact all children equally, the key question becomes: What are the qualities that are most effective for helping children to cope with parental divorce?

There are differences in children’s temperament and other aspects of personality, as well as family demographics, that affect their ability to cope with divorce. But, for present purposes, let’s focus on the aspects of the divorce itself since this is the area parents have the most power to change.

Importantly, the detrimental impact of divorce on kids typically begins well before the actual divorce (Amato, 2000). Thus, it may not be the divorce per se that represents the child risk factor; but rather, the parents’ relationship conflicts and how they are handled. For divorced/divorcing parents, this information is encouraging—as there are things you can do to help your children (and you) remain resilient despite this difficult experience.

Parental Conflict and Alienation

There are several divorce-related qualities that make it more difficult for children to adapt to divorce, such as parental hostility and poor cooperation between parents (Amato, 2000); and interpersonal conflict between parents along with continued litigation (Goodman, Bonds, & Sandler, et al., 2005).

Parents dealing with divorce need to make a special effort not to expose their children to conflicts between parents, legal and money related issues, and general animosity. The latter point merits further discussion, as parents often have a difficult time not badmouthing each other in front of (or even directly to) their kids. It is this act of turning a child against a parent that ultimately serves to turn a child against himself (Baker & Ben-Ami, 2011).

Badmouthing the other divorced parent is an alienation strategy, given its aim to alienate the other parent from the child. Such alienation involves any number of criticisms of the other parent in front of the child. This may even include qualities that aren’t necessarily negative, but which can be depicted as such for the sake of enhancing alienation (Baker & Ben-Ami, 2011).

Baker and Ben-Ami (2011) note that parental alienation tactics hurt children by sending the message that the badmouthed parent does not love the child. Also, the child may feel that, because their badmouthed parent is flawed; that he/she is similarly damaged. When a child receives a message of being unlovable or flawed, this negatively affects his/her self-esteem, mood, relationships, and other areas of life ( Baker & Ben-Ami, 2011 ).

An excellent resource for preventing parental alienation is Divorce Poison : How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing (Warshak, 2010).

Warshak describes how one parent’s criticism of the other may have a highly detrimental impact on the targeted parent’s relationship with his/her child. And such badmouthing absolutely hurts the child. Badmouthed parents who fail to deal with the situation appropriately are at risk of losing the respect of their kids and even contact altogether. Warshak provides effective solutions for bad-mouthed parents to use during difficult situations, such as:

  • How to react when you find out about the badmouthing
  • What to do if your kids refuse to see you
  • How to respond to false accusations
  • How to insulate kids from bad-mouthing effects

Reasons that parents attempt to manipulate children, as well as behaviors often exhibited by children who have become alienated from one parent,  are also described (Warshak, 2010). This book, as well as additional resources subsequently listed, provides hope and solutions for parents who are dealing with the pain of divorce.

Importantly, there are ways to support children in emerging from divorce without long-term negative consequences (i.e., by protecting them from parental animosity). It is in this way that parents can “enable their children to maintain love and respect for two parents who no longer love, and may not respect, each other” (Warshak, 2004-2013, warshak.com).

Positive parenting is an effective style of raising kids that is suitable for pretty much all types of parents and children. This article contains a rich and extensive collection of positive parenting research and resources; with the goal of arming caregivers with the tools to prevent or tackle a multitude of potential challenges. And, of course, to foster wellness and healthy development in children.

Here are the article’s key takeaways:

  • Parents are never alone. Whatever the problem or degree of frustration, there is a whole community of parents who have faced the same issues. Not to mention a ton of positive parenting experts with effective solutions.
  • Positive parenting begins early. Positive parenting truly starts the moment a person realizes he/she is going to become a parent since even the planning that goes into preparing for a child’s arrival will have an impact.
  • Positive parenting applies to all developmental periods. With a positive parenting approach, raising toddlers and teenagers need not be terrible nor terrifying. Positive parenting promotes effective, joyful parenting of kids of all ages.
  • Positive parents raise their children in a way that empowers them to reach their full potential as resilient and fulfilled individuals. Positive parents are warm, caring, loving and nurturing— and so much more: They are teachers, leaders, and positive role models. They are consistent and clear about expectations. They know what their kids and teens are doing. They encourage and reinforce positive behaviors. They make family experiences a priority. They support their children’s autonomy and individuality. They love their children unconditionally. They engage in regular, open dialogues with their children. They are affectionate, empathetic, and supportive. They understand that their teenagers still need them.
  • Positive discipline is an effective, evidence-based approach that is neither punitive nor permissive. Positive discipline is performed in a loving way without anger, threats, yelling, or punishment. It involves clear rules, expectations, and consequences for behavior; and consistent follow-through. It is in alignment with parents’ long-term parenting goals.
  • Positive parenting is backed by empirical evidence supporting its many benefits. Positive parenting promotes children’s self-esteem, emotional expression, self-efficacy, sense of belonging, social and decision-making skills, and belief in themselves. Positive parenting fosters secure attachments and quality relationships with parents; school adjustment and achievement; reduced behavior problems, depressive symptoms, and risk behaviors; and positive youth development in general. The outcomes associated with positive parenting are long-term and often permanent.
  • Positive parenting is applicable to a vast array of challenges. Positive parenting applies to everyday challenges, as well as more frustrating and even severe issues. Positive parenting has been effectively used for dealing with temper tantrums, bedtime and eating issues, and sibling rivalry; as well as difficulties associated with divorce, ADHD, family stressors, teen pressures, and risk-taking—and much more.
  • Positive parenting solutions are both abundant and accessible. Because positive parenting experts have tackled so many parenting issues, available resources are plentiful. Along with the many tips and suggestions contained in this article; there is a whole online library of positive parenting-related activities, workbooks, books, videos, courses, articles, and podcasts that cover a broad range of parenting topics.

Considering the many positive parenting solutions and resources currently available, parents can approach their role as teachers, leaders, and positive role models with confidence and optimism. And, ultimately, by consistently applying positive parenting strategies; parents will experience a deep and meaningful connection with their children that will last a lifetime. ?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free .

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  • Newman, T., & Blackburn, S. (2002). Transitions in the lives of children and young people: Resilience factors. Interchange 78. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED472541
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Positive parenting is key for a happy family! I totally agree that positive parenting promotes effective, joyful parenting of kids of all ages. The most important things about such a model of parenting are to know your kid’s friends, being a positive role model in terms of your own coping mechanisms and use of alcohol and medication, and building a supportive and warm relationship with your child. We are responsible for the future generation, therefore raising happy and good person is a must!

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9 Steps to More Effective Parenting

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Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared.

These 9 child-rearing tips can help you feel more fulfilled as a parent.

1. Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.

Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless.

Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like "What a stupid thing to do!" or "You act more like a baby than your little brother!" cause damage just as physical blows do.

Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don't love their behavior.

2. Catch Kids Being Good

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well-intentioned?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: "You made your bed without being asked — that's terrific!" or "I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient." These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behavior you would like to see.

3. Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline

Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed.

You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time-out" or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is not following through with consequences. You can't discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

4. Make Time for Your Kids

It's often hard for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren't getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they're sure to be noticed that way.

Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a "special night" each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a note or something special in your kid's lunchbox.

Teens seem to need less undivided attention from their parents than younger kids. Because there are fewer windows of opportunity for parents and teens to get together, parents should do their best to be available when their teen does express a desire to talk or participate in family activities. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicates caring and lets you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways.

Don't feel guilty if you're a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember.

5. Be a Good Role Model

Young kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: Is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be aware that you're constantly being watched by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.

Model the traits you wish to see in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.

6. Make Communication a Priority

You can't expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, "say so." They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. If we don't take time to explain, kids will begin to wonder about our values and motives and whether they have any basis. Parents who reason with their kids allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way.

Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child's suggestions as well. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.

7. Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style

If you often feel "let down" by your child's behavior, perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Parents who think in "shoulds" (for example, "My kid should be potty-trained by now") might find it helpful to read up on the matter or to talk to other parents or child development specialists.

Kids' environments have an effect on their behavior, so you might be able to change that behavior by changing the environment. If you find yourself constantly saying "no" to your 2-year-old, look for ways to alter your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits. This will cause less frustration for both of you.

As your child changes, you'll gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won't work as well in a year or two.

Teens tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. But continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to earn more independence. And seize every available moment to make a connection!

8. Show That Your Love Is Unconditional

As a parent, you're responsible for correcting and guiding your kids. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child receives it.

When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which hurt self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, try to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.

9. Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent

Face it — you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — "I am loving and dedicated." Vow to work on your weaknesses — "I need to be more consistent with discipline." Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your partner, and your kids. You don't have to have all the answers — be forgiving of yourself.

And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you're burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy.

Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.

How to Be a Good Parent

Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

There is no one right way to be a good parent, although there are many proven ways to be a flawed one, such as abuse, neglect, or overindulgence. A key challenge is resisting the urge to manage, guide, or control kids at all times, but research suggests that parents who give their children room to explore, grow, and, importantly, fail, may be serving them better. No parent should allow kids to put their health or safety at risk, or to allow core house rules to be flouted, especially when it comes to daily home and school responsibilities. But beyond that, building a home life that provides caring, consistency, choices, and consequences should go a long way toward a child’s social, emotional, and intellectual development—which should also lead to a stronger parent-child bond and happier child-raising years for everyone involved.

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  • Making a Happy Home
  • Avoiding Pitfalls
  • Providing Emotional Support

A paradox of parenting is that kids typically need less from their mothers and fathers than the adults realize. What they need, though, is essential: Love, emotional security, conversation, validation, responsibilities, time outside, and opportunities to play and learn. Parents who can focus their attention on these baseline goals and avoid getting caught up in the minutiae of measuring minutes on screens or dictating which shirt gets worn to preschool, will find that they and their children will enjoy each other more , and that their kids will more quickly become comfortable with their own selves.

Daily routines, and regular rituals, can be a powerful way to bond with children and help them feel emotionally secure. Time spent each day reading together, listening to music, going outside, performing a simple chore, and especially a positive interaction to start the day and open time at bedtime to review the day and say goodnight, research finds, helps kids establish a stable, positive emotional outlook.

Research on the casual chitchat also known as banter has found that it is essential for children’s emotional development, and for their vocabulary. Informal talks with parents expand kids’ knowledge and skills, and has positive emotional and social effects that last into adulthood. Weekend plans, neighborhood news, funny memories, seasonal changes, to-do lists, dream recollections, and things that excite you are all valid topics for banter during quiet portions of the day.

There are reasons why younger kids don’t always cooperate with a parent’s requests, even if the parent doesn’t immediately recognize them as good reasons. A child deeply engaged with play, for example, may resist being called away to get dressed or come to dinner. To avoid conflict, a parent should observe what a child is involved in before demanding that they move away from it. It’s often helpful to talk to a child about what they’re doing, and even join them for a time, before requesting that they move on to a necessary task. Just five minutes of such “sensitive caregiving” can not only avoid resistance but help a child become better able to develop social competence.

Research suggests that it will. Many studies have found that dog ownership helps younger kids learn responsibility and empathy, and potentially even develop language skills. Recent research has also found that kids who live with a pet become less likely to have conduct problems or peer conflicts, with behavioral improvement averaging around 30 percent. The effect emerged simply by having a dog present in the home, and the results were even more striking when children were actively involved in walking and caring for the pet—although having a pet did not necessarily diminish the symptoms of clinically diagnosed emotional conditions.

In many cities and states, local laws prohibit children under a certain age from either staying home alone or being outside without an adult present. Many parents have protested such rules, arguing that kids entering the tween years should be allowed to be on their own if mothers and fathers determine that they’re responsible. This movement, often called free-range parenting , makes the case for overturning such laws to bring families more freedom, independence, trust, and joy, but while some municipalities have moved to amend their laws, many others have resisted.

It’s impossible for a parent to be perfect. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to be the right parent for your own child. Listening, being supportive, encouraging activity and creativity, and establishing a secure family structure all go a long way toward providing the kind of childhood that help kids thrive. Unfortunately, even in the pursuit of these goals, parents can go too far by overscheduling kids, micromanaging them, refusing to recognize learning or emotional struggles for what they are, modeling unhealthy responses to stress, violating boundaries, or criticizing kids or comparing them to others—even siblings—out of frustration.

In a word, no, and no child can be perfect, either. But parents who believe perfection is attainable, in themselves or their kids, often struggle to take any joy in their role, or to provide joy to their children. It’s easy for a parent to become self-critical and beat themselves up over opportunities they didn’t offer their kids, or for not pushing them hard enough. But an intense, overscheduled childhood may not be the right one for your child. Being a “good enough” parent , many experts suggest, is sufficient to raise children who are decent and loving, confident enough to pursue their interests, and able to fail.

It shouldn’t be. Many parents believe they should control children at all times, directing them to fit their own vision of what type of person they should become. Such parents may be shocked and angered when children resist such pushing, leading to power struggles and potentially years of conflict. Parents who instead focus on baseline expectations and standards for responsibility and routines, and stick to them, while working to understand their children’s temperament and emotional needs, can form a connection with their kids and work with them to discover and pursue their own interests.

In many families, one parent emerges as the “fun one,” or the “good cop,” with the other wedged into the role of the serious one, or the “bad cop.” Not only does this generate a potentially unhealthy family dynamic, it can also strain a couple’s relationship. Partners who discuss their values, and each other’s priorities as parents, can face their children with more confidence, divide responsibilities more evenly, and approach children with consistency.

It can be tricky for parents of young children to recognize when a child is acting out and when there is a valid reason for what appears to be unwelcome behavior. For example, a child may become overstimulated or feel rushed during a busy day; become angry because they’re hungry; struggle to express “big feelings”; react to a long period of physical inactivity with high energy and a need to play; or become frustrated by a parent’s inconsistent limits. Taking a step back to evaluate whether a child’s behavior may be caused by a factor outside their direct control can go a long way toward keeping parents from punishing children who may not deserve it.

Ideally, a responsible one. Surveys suggest that well over 90 percent of children have an online presence by age 2—often their own Instagram or Facebook accounts (created and maintained by their parents). “ Sharenting ,” or sharing news or images of a child, can provide parents with social validation and the support of an online community. But as kids enter the tween and teen years they may push back and feel exposed or embarrassed by what their parents have posted, leading to family conflict. Parents should understand the privacy settings of all their social media platforms, consider whether a particular photo may eventually embarrass a child and as kids get older, ask for their approval before sharing anything online.

When a parent is anxious or worried, a child may become anxious as well. Parents who talk about adult worries with kids, fail to model or teach coping skills, or who are unreliable or fail to keep promises, can drive anxiety in their sons and daughters. But parents who swoop in to eliminate any source of anxiety, by, for example, taking over difficult tasks, can also inadvertently raise kids who may struggle to cope with challenges or stress. Parents who make time to listen, take children’s concerns seriously, provide consistent support, step back and let kids solve problems on their own (or not), and allow ample free time for play, can help children thrive.

For more, see Children and Anxiety

Children may feel anxious in a variety of situations—at the doctor’s office, at a birthday party, before a test, or in a storm—and look to parents for help. Unfortunately, simply telling them to “calm down” likely will not work. But encouraging them to calm themselves by taking slow, deep breaths, chewing gum or singing, talking openly about their worries and naming them, or finding humor in the situation can help them get through it and be better prepared to handle future stressors.

When kids are feeling stress, parents can easily become anxious as well, but mothers and fathers should aim to avoid displaying it, or “ mood matching ,” which may only amplify a child’s stress. Keeping calm and grounded, perhaps through the application of mindfulness techniques, can help parents remain a source of support even in difficult moments.

Younger children feel emotions deeply, but their emotions may also change quickly, sometimes shocking parents and making them feel helpless. A child may have a limited ability to control their emotions, but a parent can help them develop the competence they need to manage their feelings themselves, and gain confidence and self-esteem in the process. An important step is to help children identify and talk about negative emotions like sadness or anger and not deny or suppress them.

Highly sensitive children may struggle with their feelings more than other kids, become more easily overwhelmed, or take setbacks more personally. Parents who can successfully manage their own emotions can help a sensitive child by creating a calm environment at home, maybe in one specific place; focusing on the child’s strengths while accepting their struggles as part of the mix; and working with the child to recognize their triggers and the most effective ways to respond.

Too often, children who are depressed don’t tell their parents about it; two out of three parents admit that they worry they wouldn’t recognize depression in a child , and clinicians find that children often report having symptoms for two to three years before they get help. Many kids avoid talking about depression at home because they think a parent won’t listen, will just tell them it’s temporary, or try to fix it quickly like a boo-boo. Other kids keep quiet because they want to protect their parents’ feelings. Creating a home where difficult feelings can be talked about and respected is an important step toward children feeling comfortable enough to speak about anything, including depression.

The idea of bringing a child to a psychologist is scary for many parents, but they should not see it as a personal failure but an active and positive step toward helping their child get the help they need. And as the experts on their family, parents should work to find someone they believe their child (and themselves) will be comfortable with. Parents should ask potential providers about their typical approach, how closely they involve parents in therapy, how to talk about it with their child, and how soon they should expect improvement.

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Humans do not need dietary sugar.

"Come on now--Is that really the truth?"

As children grow older, their lying becomes more knowing and more sophisticated. And their reasons for lying become more varied and increasingly similar to their parents'.

good parenting skills

As they approach adolescence, girls may feel subtle gender expectations to quiet down and be less assertive. These recommended three activities may be protective.

good parenting skills

Displaying empathy for your kid is pretty easy when their feelings don't conflict with yours. How do you respond when your feelings are directly in conflict with your child's?

good parenting skills

Being the “perfect parent” isn’t good for you or your child. Here’s why and how to adopt a new 3-step approach that will make you both happier.

good parenting skills

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good parenting skills

Those with a growth mindset about opportunity made active plans and persisted toward goals. Mindsets matter most when opportunities seem scarce.

good parenting skills

While the child depended a lot on parents to grow, the adolescent depends a lot on peers to grow.

good parenting skills

For teens, a week can feel like an eternity. How can adults help adolescents who are struggling to find hope for the future?

good parenting skills

If the days of bettering oneself through a liberal arts education have transformed into simply “making more money,” then let’s just teach kids to write ransom notes.

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50 Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

We've gathered our all-time favorite parenting tips from our board of advisors in one outstanding article that will have a profound effect on your whole family.

There are no perfect parents, but there are plenty of things you can do that will make you a fantastic one. Throughout the year, our board of advisors—a brain trust of the best pediatric doctors, developmental experts, and educators in the country—shares the latest thinking about raising happy and healthy kids.

Now we've gathered our all-time favorite nuggets of advice in one place. Broadly speaking, this is what the experts say about how to be a good parent:

  • Spend quality time with your kids
  • Be a good role model
  • Praise your kids
  • Trust yourself
  • Teach your kids social skills
  • Teach gratitude
  • Make meal time family time
  • Say "I love you"
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Keep up with your kids' routine health care

Read on to learn more about what this looks like in practice and how to put these expert tips to good use.

Set Smart Limits

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don't clip your child's wings. Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So when they're developmentally capable of putting their toys away, clearing their plate from the table, and dressing themselves, let them. Giving a child responsibility is good for their self-esteem (and your sanity!).

Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save them, you teach them self-reliance and resilience.

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Pick your battles. Kids can't absorb too many rules without turning off and tuning out. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter like no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Create Your Own Quality Time

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don't worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That's the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when they're a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents' voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set them up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There's no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage family time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with their parents. Kids with engaged parents do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals—like bedtimes and game night—that you do together.

Be a Good Role Model

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when they should apologize.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It's how you want your child to behave, right?

Kiss and hug your partner in front of the kids. Your partnership is one example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it's important to set a great standard.

Respect parenting differences. Support your co-parent's basic approach to raising kids—unless it's way out of line. Criticizing or arguing with your partner will do more harm to your relationship and your child's sense of security than if you accept standards that are different from your own.

Know the Best Ways to Praise

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, "You're great," try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, "Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience."

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let them know how you feel. It's a great way to reinforce good behavior so they're more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact: What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child "catch" you whispering a compliment about them to Grandma, Dad, or even their teddy.

Trust Yourself

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you're too tired to cook doesn't make you a bad parent.

Trust your gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to their health and well-being. If you think something's wrong, chances are you're right.

Just say "no." Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become a constant volunteer at your child's school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don't accept disrespect from your child. Never allow your child to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If they do, tell them firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.

Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child's life—your co-parent, grandparents, daycare teacher, babysitter—to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Don't Forget to Teach Social Skills

Ask your children three "you" questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, "What was your favorite part of school today?"; "What did you do at the party you went to?"; or "Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon?"

Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person's eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid's strong emotions. When your child's meltdown is over, ask them, "How did that feel?" and "What do you think would make it better?" Then listen to them. They'll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let them talk it out.

Raise Grateful Kids

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.

Don't raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind: Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach them accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.

Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer: When you're kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a "gratitude circle" every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Don't Stress About Dinner

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don't give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before they eat it and truly decide whether they like it.

Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If they refuse to finish whatever food is on their plate, just let it go. They won't starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect—a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits.

Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what's for dinner and cook it for them.

Always Say "I Love You"

Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely. They're individuals.

Say "I love you" whenever you feel it, even if it's 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible.

Keep in mind what grandmas always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.

Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry's piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it!

Boost Brainpower & Physical Activity

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can't talk doesn't mean there aren't lots that they'd like to say. Simple signs can help you know what your baby needs and even how they feel well before they have the words to tell you, which is a great way to reduce frustration.

Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. (And parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often!)

Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on their tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in their stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Keep Up With Your Kids' Health

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world.

Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

Be vigilant about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding their bike or scooter.

Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid's fever is caused by a virus, don't push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid's toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It'll become as natural as brushing their teeth.

Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe themselves to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line.

Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty: They sense the urge to pee and poop (this is different from knowing that they've already gone), and they ask for a diaper change.

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The 10 Best Tips From Parenting Experts

There are so many websites, books, and products offering different ideas about child discipline that it can feel overwhelming. However, while there's no one right way to discipline, there are many proven techniques to try that tend to get positive results.

When you're trying to address your child's behavior problems, it's important to seek credible information that's based on the best parenting strategies. 

Family, friends, family counselors, and your child's pediatrician are all potential resources for effective discipline practices. However, it can be tricky to know which ones are most likely to work with your kids. If you're looking for proven techniques, try these parenting expert-tested discipline techniques. Learn more about the best parenting advice from 10 top experts in the field.

Best Parenting Advice

To help you get answers about which discipline strategies work best, 10 parenting experts offered their most important parenting tips. Here's what they had to say:

  • It's Ok for your child to be mad at you
  • Treat your child with respect
  • Look at the big picture
  • Give effective instructions
  • Use natural consequences
  • Problem-solve together
  • Use discipline to teach, not punish
  • Provide praise for good behavior
  • Be consistent with discipline
  • View misbehavior as a sign your child has a problem

It's OK for Your Child to Be Mad at You

“Be a parent, not a friend. This means you cannot be afraid to be the bad guy. Your child might be angry with you sometimes. Deal with it. The alternative is having an obnoxious kid. Let him fail sometimes. If you don’t, how do you expect him to ever learn how to cope with life’s ups and downs? Nobody is successful at everything. Sometimes, you have to fail in order to succeed.”

Lori Freson , Licensed Marriage, and Family Therapist

Treat Your Child With Respect

“Do not name call or hit: Kids learn from you, being abusive or hitting just teaches them to handle conflict with aggression and meanness. If you feel super angry in the moment, take a time out and walk away, come back later and have a plan for discipline. If you lose your cool, explain that you did and make clear you wish you had not. A firm and even angry but measured tone is much more effective than sounding out of control and vindictive.”

Dr. Gail Saltz , Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Bestselling Author, and Television Commentator

Look at the Big Picture

“Once your child hits the teen years, don't get lost in the details by focusing too much on the day to day behaviors and moods of your child. At this point, frequently remind yourself that your teenager will soon be able to leave the house and will have the power to decide how emotionally connected he or she wants to remain with you for the rest of your lives. The more you focus on building a democratic relationship during the teen years, the more your soon-to-be grown child will like and appreciate you for years to come.”

Seth Meyers, Psychologist

Give Effective Instructions

“If you have to tell your child the same thing repeatedly before they respond, then you are training them to ignore you.”

David Johnson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Use Natural Consequences

"Use natural consequences if possible. Parents may feel they have to punish kids for mistakes or misbehavior rather than letting real-life take its course. If your child refuses to put on his coat, let him get cold. If he fails to clean his room, let his toys get lost. It’s tempting to engineer other consequences, like taking away video games or TV time, because we don’t always trust that natural consequences will work. But over time they do have a way of shaping behavior."

Heidi Smith Luedtke, Personality Psychologist and Author of "Detachment Parenting: 33 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Kids Melt Down"

Problem-Solve Together

" Problem-solving is what must replace punishment in order to develop responsible, respectful behavior in children and adults. Punishment is a coercive manipulative tactic used to get children to do what we want. It does nothing to develop character and empathy. In fact, it is what is part of creating bullies. Children do not learn through fear and force. Their unacceptable behavior is meant to tell us that they are having a problem, not being a problem."

Bonnie Harris , Parenting Educator and Director of Connective Parenting

Use Discipline to Teach, Not Punish

"Understand the meaning of the word discipline. It's all about teaching and education, not punishment , threats, and training. Think of yourself as a teacher and show your child you respect them by explaining why the limit needs to be set. Help them understand it's for their own good and the benefits to them. Respect is a gateway to your child's cooperation!"

Tom Limbert , Parenting Coach and Author of "Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time"

Provide Praise for Good Behavior

"It may seem hard to believe when you're struggling with your kids, but children really do want to please their parents. Nothing makes a child happier than the pride they feel when receiving praise from their mother or father. This desire to please our parents is so strong that it lasts right into adulthood."

Dana Obleman , Author of "Kids: the Manual"

Be Consistent With Discipline

"Be consistent. Inconsistent discipline can actually reinforce negative behaviors because your child will keep trying in the hopes that this time he won't get in trouble."

Susan Bartell , Psychologist, and Author of "Top 50 Questions Kids Ask"

View Misbehavior as a Sign Your Child Has a Problem

"The child's problem is there is something that he needs and wants and doesn't know how else to get other than misbehaving. A parent often has a problem with the child's behavior. Unfortunately, the parent usually starts by trying to solve her problem and never gets around to solving the child's problem."

Nancy Buck , Developmental Psychologist and Creator of Peaceful Parenting Inc.

By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

What Is Good Parenting?

Good parenting involves things parents do to nurture their kids as they grow. Learn a good parenting definition and discover what good parenting is on HealthyPlace.

Good parenting is a broad concept, encompassing multiple aspects of your and your child’s lives together. Good parenting is an accumulation of actions and interactions that you have with your child. It is driven with purpose and end goals in mind. Good parenting aims to develop in children character traits like independence, self-direction, honesty, self-control, kindness, and cooperation. To that end, good parenting creates a foundation for a child’s healthy, positive development.

Good parenting also involves parents living their lives as role models. Kids listen to and watch what their parents do, taking everything in. As they absorb their parents’ actions and words, they begin to emulate them. Good parenting means being aware that your children are watching, learning, and copying you. Now that you’ve seen a description of good parenting, we’ll go a bit deeper into a good parenting definition.

What Does Good Parenting Mean?

Good parenting focuses on the overall health and wellbeing of kids. Good parenting focuses both on the here-and-now of a child’s life and on raising kids who are successful in their lives as they mature and become adults. To that end, good parenting approaches kids with love, warmth and acceptance. Healthy parenting means nurturing the whole child, attending to physical, mental, social, emotional, and intellectual needs.

A definition of good parenting acknowledges that parenting is both an art and a skill. While good parenting doesn’t mean perfect parenting (that’s impossible), it does mean that parents do their best to interact positively and respond to their kids’ needs every day. Every parent’s best varies from day to day or even hour to hour within the same day. What’s important is that a parent has a child’s best interests at heart no matter what (" ‘Good Enough Parenting’ Has Its Time and Place ").

Having a child’s needs and interests at heart isn’t so difficult when you know the elements that comprise good parenting.

What is Good Parenting? Elements of Good Parenting

The following elements are present in good parenting.

Parents are supportive of their children, assisting them with school and activities when needed, attending their events, and asking about their lives.


Parents set guidelines and rules that align with their values and purpose. Rules are consistent, clear, and explained. Consequences are gentle and logical.

Routine, as well as structure and consistency, provides stability and a sense that the world is logical and predictable. It fosters healthy, positive development.

Parents trust their kids. If kids break that trust, parents talk openly, discipline, and explain why they are disciplining. Also, parents act in ways that their kids can trust them and what they say and do.


Good parenting means being actively involved in kids’ lives. Setting aside time to do things together, attending school events and other activities, and staying current with what’s happening in kids’ lives are some aspects of involvement.

Positive focus.

Parents help children have a positive perspective rather than a negative outlook. While processing negative events and situations is important, good parenting involves helping kids find positivity and forward direction.

Guidance. Good parenting involves guiding their children to be successful, but it does not involve controlling, micromanaging, or hovering over kids.

Responsibility. Parents give children age-appropriate tasks and chores. As kids grow, so do their responsibilities in order to foster success and a healthy work ethic.  

Above all else, good parenting is driven by love. This helps kids feel valued and facilitates healthy self-esteem and a belief in themselves and their abilities. When parents openly show love and affection, children learn to be caring and kind to others.

Good Parenting: Parents Matter

As a parent, know that you are important. You are an asset in your children’s lives, helping them develop character. Good parenting is a skillset that can be nurtured and honed; it isn’t something some parents can do while other parents can’t. Driven by love and purpose, all parents can practice good parenting.

Developing parenting skills involves patience and practice. And it’s well worth it. Good parenting nurtures kids academically, socially, and emotionally. The above elements of good parenting are protective, helping kids be mentally healthy; indeed, good parenting practices can prevent anxiety , depression , eating disorders , and alcohol and drug use and abuse throughout childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.

It’s important to note that we’ve been talking about good parenting. It’s something parents do. It’s not about judging parents and labeling them as good (or bad) parents. Good parenting has less to do with the parents and more to do with the raising of kids.

  • Top 5 Parenting Skills You Will Need in the Digital Age
  • Good Parenting Qualities and Characteristics You Can Develop

article references

APA Reference Peterson, T. (2022, January 11). What Is Good Parenting?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-skills-strategies/what-is-good-parenting

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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Ways To Be a Better Parent: Good Parenting Skills and Tips

good parenting skills

Crystal Bourque

good parenting skills

As your child develops from a baby and toddler to a schooler and teenager, many things change, but the basic principles remain the same. The good news is, being a good parent is primarily intuitive. However, the structure is also equally critical for the development of your child.

To help you be an awesome parent, we turned to the results of the study and recommendations from the AAP, figured out how not to yell at a child (which is exactly what the ideal parent should not do), asked the author of the ‘The Collapse of Parenting’ Leonard Sax for advice and described how to remain a good parent even in difficult life situations.

Raising Kids Today: Parenting Skills for Keep Up with the Times

Good parenting skills, top 6 ways to be a better parent without yelling.

  • When Your Child has Mental or Emotional Issues
  • How to Be a Good Parent During Divorce

How to Be a Good Parent After Divorce


good parenting skills


To be successful in a competitive world, children must learn to be honest and have self-control. They must be able to make decisions and function independently yet be kind and empathetic to others. They cooperate with others based on healthy moral principles, behaving appropriately, even in difficult circumstances.

Parents who can instill these abilities and values in their children have done an exceptional job of preparing them for the real world. Children have eight basic needs that a good parent provides to make sure that they have the best chance to thrive and be happy.

  • Security . Being safe, warm, and fed are the most basic needs of a child. Consistent security is the foundation of stability and growth.
  • Stability . A stable family and community environment give the child a sense of their role and value.
  • Consistency . Dealing with consistent values, expectations, emotions, and behavior helps the child develop confidence and balance.
  • Emotional support . Being accepted and recognized are important aspects for children to develop trust, respect, and self-esteem.
  • Love . A sense of being in a place where one belongs and is accepted is the most profound gift.
  • Education . Formal schooling is important to prepare your child to become a productive member of society one day, but life lessons are, in many ways, even more valuable.
  • Positive role models . Having the opportunity to look up to and imitate someone with positive qualities gives the child aspiration to develop and become better.
  • Structure . Having rules and boundaries provide a child clarity of his or her role and what is expected of them.

Safeguard, educate, and provide clear expectations and a consistent routine to prepare your child to face any challenge and transition successfully through his or her childhood development phases.

good parenting skills

As a mom or dad, knowing what skill set to have and how to apply it is a good starting point for effective parenting. The most central factor is time. Every one of the parental skills has one thing in common — time. Spending as much time as possible in your child’s company is an opportunity to invest in all his or her basic needs. Effective parents convey these qualities in the following ways.

  • Listens . Observing and listening with attention and understanding let you know what and when your child needs something or has a problem to solve. Encourage your child to express his or her emotions and thoughts. Learn a reflective communication style to clarify what your child is saying by repeating the idea back in different words.
  • Honesty and transparency . Tell your child your feelings and expectations and encourage him or her to do the same. This habit will go a long way to prevent conflicts from developing.
  • Problem-solving . Engage with your child on a win-win basis and always be fair and objective. Be careful not to let emotions get the better of you. Guide your child to solve his or her problems as much as possible. Ask him or her to suggest solutions rather than prescribe your ideas.
  • Respect . Respect for oneself, others, and property is the hallmark of healthy relationships. Share your values with your child and explain what the purpose is. A person who behaves accordingly gains the trust of others.

Guide your child as much as possible rather than prescribe. Let them know your expectations. Show respect and understanding. Encourage talking about their feelings and experiences. Behave toward them in a way that you want to be reciprocated. When children behave badly, it is sometimes a reflection of the example of the parent.

good parenting skills

According to research , yelling makes up one of the 8 discipline strategies that make behavior problems in children worse. The following are additional tips on what makes a better parent  without  yelling.

Make Fair Rules

Making fair rules helps a child learn what they can and can’t do. Creating clear rules decreases yelling because when a child breaks a rule, everyone understands how and why.

Decide on Consequences

A better parent will decide the consequences their children will face for breaking the rules. The AAP suggests  take-away privileges, reduced screen time, time-outs, and other logical consequences instead of yelling.

Establishing consequences for breaking a rule decreases yelling because it helps your child make better decisions.

For example, telling your child they can’t use their smartphone if they don’t put away the dishes after dinner puts the decision in your child’s hands. If they don’t do the chore, you don’t need to yell. As a result, your child simply loses their smartphone for the evening.

Offer Positive Reinforcement

There’s a lot of research about how positive reinforcement is highly beneficial as a parenting skill.

According to a 2018 article published by the APP , ‘striking children, yelling at them or shaming can elevate stress hormones and lead to changes in the brain’s architecture.’ Instead, the APP recommends that ‘adults should reinforce appropriate behaviors, set limits, redirect children and set expectations.’

good parenting skills

Why Do You Yell?

As a parent, why do you end up yelling at your child?

A better parent asks questions and re-evaluates their actions to learn good parenting skills.

If you struggle with yelling, there’s no shame in taking a deep breath or a time-out. If the situation isn’t dangerous, your child can wait for discipline.

Give Fair Warnings

Use a ‘When . . . Then . . .’ phrase with your child. For example, ‘When you put away your books, then you can play with your tablet this afternoon.’

This statement decreases yelling because you’ve offered your child a fair warning.

Follow Through

A better parent consistently disciplines their children, which is crucial because it helps children to change their behavior (in a positive way).

Follow-through helps children grow and decreases yelling because you teach a small person to think before they act. So if your child breaks a rule, you must enforce the consequences. Good parenting skills do not necessarily refer to parents who do everything for their child, but, rather, those who use effective parenting to provide a safe and caring space for their kids and guide them through their development. Good parents may not always do everything right but they are always there.

Every good parent should have the Findmykids app on their smartphone to keep the child safe even at a distance! Learn more about the service and start using it today .

Strengths as a Parent in Difficult Times

Learning how to be a better parent is not only important in good times. All families go through difficult patches. It is during these challenging times that you will truly find out what makes a good parent.

When Your Child Has Mental or Emotional Issues

good parenting skills

Encouraging creativity in a structured environment gives your child the best opportunity to develop into a happy and productive adult. Even then, and despite your best efforts, young kids, or even older child, can develop mental or emotional issues. 

According to the CDC , almost 10 percent of children between 2- and 17 years old are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. More than 7 percent have a diagnosed behavioral problem or anxiety while more than 3 percent in the same age group have received a depression diagnosis.

Some of these conditions often occur together, which intensifies the effects and complicates treatment. Viewed together with the fact that even more children with mental health issues are undiagnosed and untreated, which has negative consequences on their health and development, the situation needs attention.

  • The first line of care and the most important foundation of a child’s mental health is at home. When your child is consistently sad or withdrawn, threatens or tries to hurt themselves, has sudden, overwhelming fears, is uncontrollable or takes risks, or has severe mood swings it is possible that he or she suffers from a mood or behavioral disorder.
  • If their behavior suddenly changes or there are signs of alcohol or drug use, a parent must be alert. A child with such difficulty concentrating or staying still that it interferes with their functioning in school or with daily tasks possibly has ADHD.
  • If you observe any of these patterns, talk to your child to find out what he or she has difficulty with, or if anything is bothering him or her. Seek out a family therapist or other professional if needed.
  • And when seeking out a medical professional, it’s also crucial to ask questions about any medication prescribed, whether you have a small child or older children.

According to Leonard Sax, MD, Ph.D., ( The Collapse of Parenting ), many parents don’t know just how common it is in the United States for medical professionals to prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs to children as a ‘first resort rather than a last resort.’ As a result, ‘American kids are now factors of ten more likely to be on medication compared with kids outside North America.’ And, ‘We are experimenting on children in a way which has no precedent, with medications whose long-term risks are largely unknown.’

Your family life is paramount, and you want your child to grow into a successful adult. However, parents must stay alert for sudden behavior changes and act quickly to provide the support children need to handle mental health issues.

How to be a Good Parent During Divorce

good parenting skills

Although a stable and loving two-parent home is widely considered the best circumstance for a child to grow up, unfortunately, this is not always the reality. Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation after a median duration of just under eight years. This means that, in many cases, young children are affected.

Focusing on good parenting skills or a good parenting style during a divorce is more important than ever.

Evidence from a study called Family Structure Transitions and Child Development: Instability, Selection, and Population Heterogeneity by Dohoon Lee and Sara McLanahan showed that separation and divorce are linked to an increased risk for adjustment problems in children and adolescents, including, lower grades, school dropout, conduct problems, substance use problems, and depressed mood.

Being a better parent during a divorce ensures your children are better prepared to cope with divorce-related stress.

Try to set your hurt and anger aside for the benefit of the kids and go out of your way to make them feel loved, accepted, and valuable, and that they belong in both your and your partner’s lives.

  • Be as consistent as possible.
  • Always strive to be a good example of responsibility and respect.
  • Separate your feelings from behavior. In other words, don’t take your pain out on the child.
  • Be extra vigilant for clues that your child is struggling emotionally or performance-wise.
  • Regularly talk to your kid. Improve your communication with your partner and separate disagreements from discussions about what is best for your kid.

good parenting skills

Parents don’t have all the answers, and raising children in today’s digital world creates additional challenges. However, after a divorce, it’s even more crucial to lean into being a better parent for the sake of your kids.

A 2014 study called The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effects of Divorce  revealed that many kids feel less close to their fathers after a divorce. Another study,  Mothers and their children after divorce: Report from a 25-year longitudinal study , showed that mothers could be less affectionate and supportive after a divorce. Discipline also becomes less effective and consistent.

As a result, to be a better parent after divorce, it’s a good idea to develop household rules and offer appropriate discipline when needed.

Even if you now have separate lives, encourage your child to spend time with and maintain a close relationship with your ex-partner. Although shared responsibilities, coordination, and decision-making can be difficult and exhausting, parents who provide guidance to their kids have the best chance at happiness and success.

  • Make sure that your arrangements are consistent and unexpected things are kept to the minimum. This will help make your kid feel cared for and secure.
  • Peaceful cooperation with your ex-partner will teach your kid the value of compromise and joint problem-solving.
  • It is important to separate the feelings of hurt and anger that you may have from your behavior in front of your child. Don’t involve your child in any disagreement or conflict.
  • Focus on regular, good communication with your ex-partner. Make joint decisions that affect your child. Try to function as a team and support one another when it comes to the well-being of the kids.
  • Resolve issues quickly. Compromise. Don’t let the small stuff get in the way and escalate. Always do what is best for your child.

Parenting Skills Activities by Age

Parenting style and decisions change along with the child’s development. The needs and expectations of your baby and toddler differ from those of your schooler and teen. As their interaction with the world expands, their maturity level increases. You should always gauge and balance their maturity level and ability to handle responsibility with the autonomy and freedom that you allow them to have.

good parenting skills

Infants have very basic needs and they have not yet developed the distinction between themselves and their environment. They require warmth, rest, safety, nourishment and time to establish a bond with their primary caretaker. Their main developmental tasks are to learn to eat, sleep, and become used to their bodies and interaction with others. They are starting to develop trust. Therefore, as a parent, you should:

  • Establish a routine of feeding, sleep, and caressing
  • Learn how to comfort your baby for the best results
  • Look after yourself and get sleep and rest when you can
  • Relax and enjoy your baby by not focusing on small issues

All too soon, your baby will become a toddler and he or she will start to move around more, explore, and interact.

good parenting skills

At the age of around one to two years, toddlers start to learn to walk and talk. Discovering more of the environment and people around them, toddlers become more autonomous and cautiously test their independence. However, they are still self-centered and can be quite stubborn. At this age, their language and physical skills develop quickly. They learn to navigate rules in their world.

  • Support your toddler’s attempts to be more independent
  • Allow him or her to develop a sense of mastery
  • Set limits to ensure their safety and your well-being
  • Show that you tolerate his or her anger and other emotions
  • Try to see things from your toddler’s perspective
  • Keep your child safe during their explorations
  • Encourage his or her curiosity

good parenting skills

Between the ages of about three and five, your preschooler becomes slightly less self-centered, more aware of his or her place in the world, and starts learning to manage their emotions and behavior. Their social skills develop quickly, which set the basis for when they venture into the world and go to school. They are experiential learners and test the boundaries of their bodies and minds.

To set your preschooler on the right path, you should:

  • Teach by demonstrating empathy and talking about feelings
  • Continue to create a routine in his or her daily life, which is comforting as your preschooler discovers new things that can be scary to them
  • Ensure that he or she gets sufficient rest and sleep
  • Monitor what food is available but allow your preschooler to decide how much to eat — provide smaller, regular meals or snacks to prevent consistent and unhealthy eating.
  • Listen reflectively to your kid on a regular basis. Ask him or her to describe their experiences and feelings.
  • Set limits but empathize when they are disappointed — teach self-discipline rather than enforced punishment.
  • Interact regularly with your child and create social time.

good parenting skills

In your child’s school and preteen years, they become less self-centered, more attuned to others, and (usually) more caring and cooperative. In their formative years, schooler needs guidance to develop emotional intelligence and self-regulation skills more than ever.

  • Utilize these typically reasonable years to cement your relationship and let your child develop his or her unique identity.
  • Balance your child’s need for self-sufficiency, interaction with peers, and making time to spend quality moments with him or her
  • Plan regular family outings or events to cultivate strong connections
  • Gage your kid’s maturity and need for independence — balance rules and accommodations accordingly
  • Listen attentively to your kid and encourage sharing problems
  • Let them come up with potential solutions and teach them to negotiate and compromise
  • Recognize and praise their strengths and accomplishments
  • Limit the use and reliance on electronic devices to specific times of day
  • Know your child’s friends, relationships, and values
  • Don’t get involved in power struggles and act firm rather than punishing

good parenting skills

In your child’s early teens, between 13- and 15 years, expect variable behavior and emotions as they try to settle into independence. At this point, he or she has developed a personality but may still be trying to find a stable identity.

The outside world has an increasing influence on your teen as they navigate peer relationships, look up to role models, and widen their exposure through social media and school, sports, and other events.

At this stage, the focus of the parent is on demonstrating respect and positive values, managing your own emotions, balancing freedom with responsibility, and communicating regularly.

  • Continue to schedule regular conversations to check in every day
  • Allow freedom appropriately but know what your teenager is doing, where, and with whom
  • Eat as many meals together as possible, especially at dinnertime
  • Demonstrate and encourage healthy self-care, including meals, sleep, and relaxation
  • Support your teen as much as you can to strive for and achieve their goals
  • Act more than a parent than a friend — guide, be firm, and offer support
  • Keep computers in a family space
  • Continue to have regular family meetings and outings

Remember that engagement with your child — whatever his or her age — is the critical component in their development. As a baby or toddler, this means physical contact and care. When your child grows older, communication about their experiences and emotions becomes like a light to guide them to confidence.

Listening reflectively, talking about emotions, establishing boundaries and structure, and balancing independence with responsibility are very important too. Notice changes in your child’s behavior. Monitor their activities online and in the real world.

Set appropriate safeguards on social media. When your child is old enough to have a smartphone, install an app like Findmykids  so that you know where they are when you’re worried. It will give you valuable peace of mind so that you can allow them more leeway to explore their independence while also staying safe and protected.

good parenting skills

Do you still have questions about how to be an awesome parent? Here are some commonly asked questions and answers.

What Age is Hardest to Parent?

According to a survey , most of the 2000 parents interviewed agreed that age eight is the most difficult to parent.

And there’s a good reason for this!

In 2013, BMC Pediatrics published the results of a study titled Study protocol: the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) . The study determined that children between the ages of 6 to 8 receive an increase in Adrenal Androgens. In other words, the hormones eventually become responsible for puberty (a few years later).

Can Parenting Skills be Learned, or are They Innate?

When it comes to parenting, everyone brings a different set of innate parenting skills to the table. However, as every parent will come to learn, a specific set of parenting skills will only work for some children.

This means there’s no such thing as the perfect parent. Every awesome parent learns the skills, tips, and tricks they need to become better parents.

How Can Parents Encourage Their Children’s Independence and Autonomy?

The simplest way parents can help their children become more independent is to allow them to attempt different tasks and activities on their own. Keep in mind it’s important to give age-appropriate tasks to your kids. Be sure to keep their development stage in mind.

While giving children a chance to try new things, parents can further encourage independence and autonomy by praising accomplishments. Avoid belittling children, as this does not promote healthy self-esteem and is more damaging than helpful.

What are Some Common Mistakes that Parents Make, and How Can They Avoid Them?

The key thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as the perfect parent. Awesome parents strive to continuously learn how to improve their skills to best help their children navigate each stage of life.

However, there are some common mistakes parents make. The good news is knowing about these mistakes will help you avoid them.

  • Be Flexible. Try different tools, tips, and skills to see how your child responds best
  • Do not spank your child. This 2016 study shows a direct link between aggressive behaviors in children and spanking
  • Explain why bad behavior isn’t tolerated. It’s not enough to admonish or punish your child. They need to know what’s ‘bad’ about their actions
  • Set rules and be consistent with discipline. Follow through!
  • Know your own needs and limit

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Four Skills Every Parent Needs To Raise Successful Kids

Most parents want to see their children grow up healthy, happy, and successful. They ultimately want the best for their offspring and tend to view them in high regard. However, children require proper care and guidance from their parents to grow into the healthiest and most successful versions of themselves.

Perhaps one of the best ways parents can set their children up for success is by implementing the proper parenting skills. Before addressing these, it could be important to understand exactly what it means to be a parent.

What Does It Mean To Be A Parent?

good parenting skills

Essentially, a parent is defined as "one that begets or brings forth offspring" and "a person who brings up and cares for another". Bringing up and caring for children is a lifelong commitment that takes work. Parenting is multidimensional and involves providing for one's child, shielding them from harm, teaching them, and placing their needs before one's own.

Despite all these responsibilities, it may also be important for parents to know when to let go. This can be somewhat challenging for parents, especially as their children grow up. Once children reach a certain age, they may need to experience certain things independently and learn from their own mistakes. 

Many people mistakenly believe that young children are less aware of their environment than their older counterparts, but this may not be accurate. Even small children notice the behaviors, words, and actions in their environment. If negative behaviors are frequently displayed to them, children can pick up on some bad habits. Conversely, children exposed to positive influences and behaviors are more likely to imitate those behaviors.

Critical Parenting Skills

Most parents have an innate desire to help their children thrive. Still, they may need more than just good intentions to have a positive impact on their kids. Here are some of the critical parenting skills moms and dads may need:


Perhaps one of the best things parents can do for their children is to teach them to be responsible individuals. Responsibility is a trait that may serve children well in all aspects of life. Responsible individuals are considerably more likely than their irresponsible counterparts to succeed in life.

There may be many ways for parents to help their children grow into responsible adults. One of these strategies is to have kids clean up after themselves once they’re old enough to do so. As basic a task as this is, it could serve as a gateway for children to learn the merits of responsibility.

Children who are asked to clean up after themselves may learn that their consequences have actions, and that they are responsible for these actions. For instance, someone who makes a mess will have to clean the mess up. This concept can apply to both literal and metaphorical messes. Sometimes, parents make the mistake of  swooping in and cleaning up their kids' messes, which can rob them of this important lesson.

They may do this with the best of intentions, but the impacts of this choice can be harmful. Children who are never made to clean up their messes may grow up to believe that their parents are responsible for doing damage control for them. 


good parenting skills

Communication is another critical parenting skill that can impact how well children do in life. Not only does communicating help children learn new skills and knowledge, but it can also teach them effective ways of interacting with others. How young people interact with others can impact how other people perceive them, which jobs they end up attaining, and whether they achieve certain goals in life. Therefore, parents are responsible for modeling appropriate behavior and teaching their children how to communicate with others.

As children grow and mature, they may take cues from their parents on the appropriate ways to communicate with others. Depending on how parents communicate with their children (and others), these cues can have positive or negative effects. For instance, children who grow up around parents who frequently scream and swear when angry or frustrated might adopt these same habits. Conversely, young people who grow up with parents who can calmly and effectively communicate, even in the midst of a conflict, may learn these important communication skills and use them in their own relationships in the future. 

Morality may be another important parenting skill. This is because, similarly to responsibility and communication, moral character is another trait that children will pick up on from observing their parents. Integrity, kindness, respect, and courage are some of the many moral values that parents can teach to their children.

It may be difficult for children to learn the value of morality in this day and age, especially since parents are not their only influences. For example, various forms of media in our society may encourage people to break the rules or engage in reprimandable behavior, especially if they can get away with it. Perhaps the best way for parents to keep their children from going down a dangerous path is to teach them to behave admirably by treating others with respect, showing integrity, and being leaders, not followers.

Discipline is arguably one of the most controversial parenting skills. Different parents may have different ideas on the appropriate ways to discipline their children. Still, discipline may be essential for children because it teaches them important lessons about boundaries, consequences, and accountability. 

Parents can sometimes make the mistake of either disciplining their children too much or not often enough. Both mistakes can have adverse impacts later in life. Children who are always coddled and given what they want may grow up to believe the world will treat them as their parents did during their formative years. Realizing this is not the case can be a harsh lesson.

On the other hand, the effects of punishing children severely can be just as bad or worse. Overdoing disciplinary behaviors can cause kids to rebel against their parents. Children may adopt the mindset of "I have nothing to lose, so why should I listen?" Parents may discipline their children with the best of intentions, but a balance of compassion and clear boundaries may be best. Like most scenarios, extremes on either end of the spectrum may be detrimental.

good parenting skills

The Challenges Of Parenting

Parenting is sometimes characterized as a natural role that moms and dads take on when their children are born. That might make it seem like it’s always easy, but there will be good times and bad times. There will also be instances where parents wonder if they are doing the right thing or truly setting their children up for success. Mistakes may be made along the way, and that is okay. 

Parents sometimes feel like they’re alone in raising their children, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A good support system can make a significant difference, especially when you’re tired, frustrated, or you’re facing a unique parenting challenge. Trusted relatives and friends may be able to provide you with the support you need. If you find you need more assistance, though, consider professional counseling. 

Counseling For Parents

Even in modern society, counseling is sometimes unfairly stigmatized, especially for parents. This can make moms and dads feel like they’re failures if they need outside help when raising their children. Online counseling may be a better alternative in these cases. You can start sessions from the comfort of your home. Plus, many people report that this type of counseling is more conducive to sensitive discussions about child-rearing. 

Online mental health services have been proven effective many times over by researchers in the field of mental health.  A recent study demonstrated the benefits of online parenting programs, including a decrease in parenting stress and depression. These same programs were found to lessen child anxiety, behavior problems, and negative parent-child interactions. 

Parenting can be overwhelming, especially in contemporary society. The benefits of seeking out help and guidance can make a considerable difference. If you’re still hesitant to pursue counseling, it could be helpful to keep in mind that asking for help is a sign of emotional maturity and self-awareness. The compassionate and professional counselors here at Regain are waiting to hear from you— reach out and start moving towards your parenting goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are parenting skills important?

Good parenting skills are necessary for any new family, though your parenting style may differ from any other parent’s. 

Good parenting skills are essential because they can help your child develop social skills and become an independent adult capable of living independently and solving their own problems. 

A good parent also knows that good parenting skills can help the child develop early learning skills before a child is in school, which can help them in school as they get older. 

What are the 4 types of parenting?

Experts say that there are four main parenting styles. It might be clear that these styles are not equally effective, and if you’re a good parent or one with experience, you will likely be able to tell which are the more effective parenting styles for your situation.

  • Authoritarian parenting: These parents are those who may enforce strict rules for their children without giving much reasoning behind them. They may also enforce very strict and potentially damaging consequences when their child slips up. They rarely consider their child’s perspective.
  • Authoritative parenting : An authoritative parent also develops rules and consequences but tries to work through their child’s behaviors before problems arise. They often take their child’s opinions and perspectives into consideration, act as a good role model, and provide rewards for good behavior.
  • Permissive parenting: A permissive parent may set rules but rarely enforces them and doesn’t set any consequences for bad behavior. Permissive parents commonly act as their child’s best friend and might even fear their child-hating them for providing discipline.
  • Uninvolved parenting: These parents are generally less involved in their child’s lives. They may rarely ask about their children’s activities or seldom provide them with care and guidance. A child may be mostly responsible for their own self-care and behavioral management.

A good parent is ultimately, in many cases, an authoritative one, though they may also utilize qualities from other parenting styles. 

It may be hard to determine what good parenting is, and that is because one parent’s skills in parenting may differ significantly from another’s. At the end of the day, a good parent loves and respects their child while also offering discipline when necessary.

What is effective parenting?

Research suggests that effective parenting is essentially using parenting skills and tips to become the best parent for your child.

For the most part, good parenting includes two things . First, it’s essential that good parents prepare their children to grow up and face the adult world. Parents can accomplish this by teaching their children social skills, life skills, and developmental skills. 

In addition, parents must achieve this goal by being a present and active force in their child’s life. The best parenting advice is to be present, and a good role model for your child, and, with some patience, their life and social skills will likely develop the way they should.

What is the best parenting?

Parenting advice often states that the best parenting style is authoritative but flexible; not too strict but not too lenient. 

A good parent who is authoritative can set boundaries and rules with their children without harsh or overbearing punishments. They listen to their children, consider their points of view, and act as a good role model for behavior rather than merely saying what is right and wrong.

An authoritative parent is very present in their child’s life without being overbearing or treating their child like their best friend. They have the power to discipline their child, but they often may not need to as their children learn to be on good behavior through life experience.

What three skills are involved in parenting?

There are many skills that good parents require to become better at taking care of their children, parenting them the best that they can. Here are the top three:

  • Social skills. It’s possible to utilize these skills in many ways, from examining your children’s behavior and knowing how they feel to maintaining a healthy relationship with your family.
  • Creativity. A good parent can think outside of the box and help their child problem-solve. Creative parents also value their child’s learning processes and can help them discover the adult they will grow up to be
  • Emotional intelligence. Finally, parents who can manage their children’s (and their own) stress and emotions will raise children ready to set foot in the adult world. A child that knows how to process their feelings will be prepared to create their own relationships.

Why is parenting important in a child's life?

Parenting is essential in a child’s life. 

Parents are the first people a child will know and are the first to teach the child the skills they need to grow and develop. 

A healthy parent-child relationship will eventually allow the child to become independent and confident in their own problem-solving strategies and emotional management. 

Parenting tips can be a great way to learn how to be a better support system in your child’s life. Parenting teenagers is challenging, as is parenting children at other ages; still, children rely on parents for guidance and support in the adult world, and it’s essential to be there for them at any point in their life.

What are 5 positive parenting tips?

What are the golden rules of parenting, what is the healthiest parenting style, what is considered toxic parenting .

  • What Is Tiger Parenting And How Do I Cope With It?
  • What Neglectful Parenting Means For The Child

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  • The Top 10 Parenting Skills

The Top 10 Parenting Skills

  • Restoring Families

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Being a good parent can feel like an impossible achievement. And if you mess up, the consequences feel dire—your child’s well-being is on the line, after all. It’s true that your parenting skills will inform and impact the health of your family and your child. But it’s also true that no parent is perfect, nor should they be.

While perfection is not the ultimate goal, you can learn to improve your caretaking abilities through good parenting tips and examples of good parenting. Feeling more confident and well-equipped to parent will boost both your well-being and your child’s.

Key Takeaways

  • Good parenting skills prioritize a child’s safety, security, and physical and emotional well-being.
  • Examples of good parenting include offering unconditional love, validation, praise, and clear boundaries.
  • The 4 Cs of parenting include care, consistency, choice, and consequences.
  • Teen and family treatment at Newport Academy helps reconnect and repair the parent-child bond.

What Are Good Parenting Skills?

Good parenting skills prioritize a child’s safety, security, and physical and emotional well-being. These skills help a child grow up to have high self-worth, a healthy attachment style, compassion, self-compassion, and trust in the world around them. In other words, good parenting skills help children to become healthy, well-adjusted adults who treat themselves and others well.

Research shows that good parenting skills help teens  have better  mental  health  and  higher self-esteem . Furthermore, skillful parenting  can prevent teens  from experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Parenting skills examples include being able to set boundaries, knowing how to talk to a teenager , and dealing with defiant teens . Moreover, good parenting skills also encompass self-care, like finding ways to stay calm when facing parenting challenges.

Why Are Parenting Skills Important?

Gaining better parental skills can help your child become better adjusted and improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Good parenting skills foster confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and trust in your teen. These skills also help your child seek out and maintain healthy relationships. And good parenting helps your child foster key life skills, such as developing healthy coping mechanisms for difficult emotions.

Furthermore, parental skills improve your relationship with your teenage son or teenage daughter . If you work to improve your parenting, your child will be more likely to trust you and value your input. They’ll come to you more often with their problems and concerns. And both of you will feel more connected and secure in your relationship.

Good parenting matters not only for you, but for the whole family. Good parenting skills inform the family dynamic and the health and well-being of everyone in it.

10 Top Parenting Skills

Every parent wants to raise healthy, happy, successful kids. But that’s easier said than done. At one time or another, anyone who parents will experience a moment where they feel too exhausted, frustrated, and emotionally depleted to be the best parent they can be.

And that’s okay. Nobody is perfect, including parents. You don’t have to be at your best all the time in order to raise well-adjusted and healthy kids. And there is no cookie cutter way to parent that works for everyone. Many different parenting styles can be effective and positive.

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But there are skills you can cultivate to improve your parenting style and your relationship with your kids. A scientific analysis of parenting skills by Robert Epstein whittled these down to 10 practices, which he called “The Parents’ Ten.” These 10 parenting skills are based on a combination of expert advice, things that appear to be most effective, and the things parents actually do.

Here are Epstein’s 10 parenting skills.

  • Love and affection , including unconditional love, physical affection, praise, and quality time together
  • Stress management , through regulating your own nervous system as well as your child’s—including practicing and teaching effective ways to relax and express emotions in a healthy way
  • Relationship skills , including showing respect and care for others even in conflict
  • Encouraging autonomy and independence by treating your child with respect and high regard and supporting body autonomy, consent, and self-reliance
  • Prioritizing education and learning , by allowing your child to explore their curiosities, as well as providing appropriate educational opportunities for them
  • Modeling life skills , like financial and future planning
  • Behavior management , through extensive use of positive reinforcement rather than punishment or other punitive measures
  • Supporting health , including both physical and mental health practices for yourself and your child
  • Spirituality, which may look like a respect for nature, a connection to something bigger than oneself, or a compassionate religion
  • Ensuring your child’s safety , including mental, physical, and emotional safety, by being aware of their activities, behaviors, mental health, and friendships  

Is Unconditional Love a Parenting Skill?

Focusing on unconditional love is one of the healthiest and most useful parenting skills to develop. Unconditional love means a parent loves their child regardless of the child’s achievements, outcomes, or mistakes.

In other words, the child knows they don’t have to do anything to earn their parent’s love. They are loved, respected, and accepted for exactly who they are, not what they accomplish.

But unconditional love doesn’t mean you should be lax in setting boundaries or upholding expectations and consequences. On the contrary, kids respond better to parents who are firm, but also fair and warm.

Unconditional love is a bit too broad and all-encompassing to be considered a skill on its own. But many good parenting skills can be found under the umbrella of unconditional love. These skills include things like respect, validation, praise, and supporting independence and autonomy .

The 4 Cs of Parenting

In addition to parenting skills that have been proven to be effective, there are also the 4 Cs of parenting. The 4 Cs of parenting are guiding principles to simplify the responsibilities of a parent. They include care, consistency, choice, and consequences.

good parenting skills

10 Tips for How to Be a Better Parent

Improving your parenting skills can feel intimidating. But being a better parent is about making the effort, not being perfect. Getting better at parenting is done the same way you get better at anything else. In other words, through practice, repetition, patience, and trial and error.

Here are 10 tips for how to be a better parent through cultivating healthy skills and improving your relationship with your child.

Praise and appreciate your child.

There are sensitive teens . Don’t just praise them for their accomplishments. Offer praise for their natural character strengths, like humor, courage, and kindness. Praise them for sticking to their values, and for showing up for others and for themselves.

Offer validation.

Validate your child’s emotions and experiences, even when you don’t fully understand where they’re coming from. Teens want to be respected and acknowledged. Validating their fears, joys, and frustrations will help them feel heard and safe.

Maintain connection.

Connect with your child frequently, through conversations and with physical affection. Make sure they know you’re there for them. Model and encourage healthy emotional expression, including tough emotions like anger or sadness .

good parenting skills

Encourage autonomy.

Allow your child to be their own independent , autonomous person. This includes autonomy over their body as well as in the world around them. Encouraging autonomy in your child teaches them to find their own voice in the world.

Avoid helicopter parenting.

It’s tempting to be a helicopter parent and try to protect your kids from anything that could hurt them. But it’s actually better for a teenager to make their own choices and be responsible for the consequences that occur. This teaches them that their actions matter and will help them make good decisions in the future.

Create clear boundaries and consequences.

Discipline doesn’t mean punishing kids. New research shows that physical discipline and overcontrolling behavior is associated with poor mental health in children . Instead, set and enforce clear and fair rules, and consequences for breaking those rules.

Model healthy relationships.

This includes being respectful, taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and reactions, and treating others (and yourself) with compassion and kindness.

Have high expectations.

Parenting experts use the word demandingness to describe how much parents control their child’s behavior and require them to be mature. Having a high level of demandingness combined with a high level of responsiveness is associated with authoritarian parenting, which research shows is the healthiest parenting style. Hold your child to high standards—without shaming them when they don’t achieve a goal.

Be responsive.

good parenting skills

Responsiveness refers to how accepting parents are of their child’s behavior and how sensitive they are to their child’s emotional and developmental needs. Being responsive and attuned to your child’s needs will help them achieve healthy development and maturity.

Practice self-compassion.

Being kind to yourself, even when you’re not feeling great about your parenting, will help you stay balanced and positive. Research done on parenting during COVID found that parents who were more self-compassionate were less critical of themselves, experienced less stress, and were less likely to perceive parenting challenges as personal failures.

How Treatment at Newport Academy Supports Good Parenting Skills

Raising a teen is no easy feat. It’s normal to struggle with the question of how to be a better parent. Improving your parental skills can help improve your relationship with your child as well as help them develop and mature in a healthy way. Poor parental skills can create conflict for the teen and parents at home, in school, and in personal and family relationships.

Teen treatment at Newport Academy can help teens and families manage difficult emotions, build better parenting skills, improve communication, and develop healthy coping tools. Newport Academy treats the whole family system, not just the adolescent. Our teen treatment programs help rebuild parent-child bonds to help teens and parents trust and respect one another and strengthen family relationships. We tailor our treatment to clients, using modalities including CBT , DBT , and family therapy in order to provide the best possible care.

Teens, parents, and families in Newport Academy treatment programs receive:

  • Tools to cultivate unconditional love, emotional connection, and respect among the whole family
  • Problem-solving skills for dealing with personality clashes, defiance, and other difficult family issues
  • Resources to build connection, self-esteem, self-worth, trust, and confidence in oneself and with others
  • Healthy coping mechanisms to navigate the stresses of adolescence and parenting

Start the healing journey today: Contact us for a free teen or family mental health assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 10 main parenting skills.

The 10 main parenting skills were compiled by Robert Epstein and include: love and affection, stress management, relationship skills, autonomy and independence, education and learning, life skills, behavior management, health, spirituality, and safety.

What are parenting skills examples?

Parenting skills examples include offering unconditional love, validation, praise, clear boundaries, communication, modeling healthy relationship skills, being responsive and attuned to your child’s needs, letting your child have independence and autonomy, and allowing consequences for your child’s actions.

What are the 4 Cs of parenting?

The 4 Cs of parenting refer to the main pillars that should be in your parenting. These include care, consistency, choice, and consequences.

Why are parenting skills important?

Parenting skills are important because they help your child become better adjusted and improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Good parenting skills foster confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and trust in your teen. These skills also help your child seek out and maintain healthy relationships. And good parenting helps your child foster key life skills, such as developing healthy coping mechanisms for difficult emotions. They also improve the parent-child relationship.

Epidemiology Psychiatric Sci. 2023 Mar; 32 (e16): 10.1017.

Fam J Alex Va. 2022 Apr; 30(2): 164–173.

J Psychol Behavior Stud. 2021 Dec; 10.32996.

Front. Psychol. 2021 Oct; 12: 10.3389.

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15 Effective Parenting Skills Every Parent Should Know & Have

How to Improve Parenting Skills

Maintaining strong parenting skills is crucial to becoming a better mother or father. Every parent wants their kids to unlock their potential, feel happy, and grow up to achieve their dreams and be valued member of society.

With the plethora of information out there, parents spend hours sifting through blogs, parenting tips, and personal accounts about how to raise their children.

While this can be informative, it is also time-consuming and confusing. Each expert seems to have their own unique approach to unlocking one’s parenting strengths.

Because of this, good-natured individuals become stressed about becoming the perfect parent. Nonetheless, successful parents share a few skills that can be replicated by nearly anyone.

In this article, we will simplify these key strategies and offer ways you can apply these tips to your daily parenting.

What are Parenting Skills?

In general, parenting skills are the characteristics and abilities that allow you to care for your child and be an effective parent. These are any abilities that help you ensure your child grows up healthy and happy.

They deal with giving your child enough attention, helping them grow, educating them, inspiring them, and so on. Every parent has their own list of parenting strengths.

These count as parenting-related skills. When you apply your other strengths, such as career strengths, to your parenting, these strengths become parenting skills.

For instance, if you are resilient at work, you could apply this resilience to your parenting. It is then used for the benefit of your child and is therefore a parenting strength.

15 Skills That Good Parents Have

Every parent has their own unique skill set. Building any positive skill will benefit you as a parent.

There are a few in particular, though, that has proven to make a big difference to the relationship between you and your kids.

In particular, parenting experts recognize these skills as must-haves for parents:

1. Put an emphasis on your child’s healthy behavior instead of their bad behavior

Experts agree: parents should focus on their child’s positive behavior instead of scolding them for their bad behavior.

In fact, scolding and reprimanding only lead to more bad behavior occurs. It is counterintuitive but true.

If a child is constantly scolded, they begin to believe they are inherently bad, abnormal individuals. Their misbehavior becomes a part of their identity and an ingrained habit.

As such, they become demotivated and do not wish to change their behavior.

Instead of setting a child up for this path, recognize their good behaviors. Over time, your child will internalize the idea that they are appreciated, recognized, and have strong positive qualities.

2. Help your child help others

Children feel fulfilled and happy when they help others. Unlike more selfish adults, kids actually enjoy giving sacrificially.

As adults, we become more self-centered and focus on our needs instead of those of others.

However, if we do stay away from selfishness, individuals become happier. The same is true with children.

If you want them to be happy, satisfied, and feel like they have made a difference in the world, introduce them to the power of giving. Involve them in volunteering and donating activities.

Success and happiness is rooted in contribution, not individual achievement.

3. Stop yelling at your kids

You probably instinctively know that yelling at your kids is not the best way to communicate with them. However, yelling is usually a knee-jerk reaction to your child’s occasional annoyance.

Recent research has proven that yelling at kids has the opposite of the desired effect: it worsens their behavior. It makes children assume they are naturally bad child.

Do your best to understand your kids. Help them create a reasonable plan to tackle their issues. To manage your anger, try to create action plans before your kids irritate you.

Take deep breaths, walk away when necessary, and avoid making any sort of threats.

4. Give kids chores and responsibilities

Dome of the most in-depth, well-researched studies proves chores truly benefit kids.

According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, children who do more chores tend to be more resilient and happy. These benefits last for longer than just childhood.

Many important lessons are learned through chores. Kids become more responsible, develop a strong work ethic , cooperate, and develop a strong sense of duty.

Even the most successful parents recognize the benefit of assigning chores. Kids with chores in childhood tend to become more successful as adults.

5. Stay close to your spouse

While marriage may not seem directly linked with your parenting, it does play a key role with your relationship with the kids.

If you maintain a good relationship with your spouse and avoid conflict, your kids are more likely to be happy and successful

Healthy marriages lead to emotionally well-adapted children. Having a true bond with your spouse will positively influence the children as well.

A few common relationship-building tips include: agreeing on plans together, being kind to your spouse, not comparing your marriage to that of others, focusing on your partner’s strengths, and making time to talk to them daily.

6. Teach kids to love challenges and venture outside their comfort zone

Carol Dweck, a world-renowned psychologist, dedicated her career to researching how mindset plays a role in success.

One of her key findings was that those who challenge themselves and use a growth mindset are more likely to succeed.

Successful people look at challenges in a positive light. They understand that challenges, by their nature, will be tough. However, the growth that occurs from them is what truly matters.

Many successful people even find ways to make challenges fun. Less successful people may look for shortcuts or find ways to stay in their comfort zone . They make excuses for why they never take risks.

Both of these outlooks are developed during one’s early years (childhood and adolescence). Good parents influence their children’s views on challenges in a positive way.

7. Allow your children to be independent

Most parents recognize that independence and responsibility are beneficial qualities. However, many helicopter parenting pulls good-natured adults in the wrong direction.

Instead of fostering independence in their kids, they supervise them at every moment. These authoritarian parents tend to do things for their kids that the kids can do themselves.

Helicopter parenting can impair a child’s ability to focus and succeed in school. It also decreases their well-being.

You can do this to avoid being a helicopter parent: let kids make age-appropriate decisions, allow your kids to fail, do not overfocus on your kids, and let kids understand the consequences of their actions.

8. Help your kids establish social skills

Researcher Mark Greenberg and his team tracked 750 adolescents to see which skills correlated most with success.

They found that if the children were socially skilled as kindergartners, they were more likely to become confident as adults.

These results reveal just how crucial social skills are doing childhood. As a parent, try to help your kids develop these skills first:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Cooperating
  • Active listening
  • Emotional management
  • Respecting others, especially other’s differences
  • Asking for help
  • Giving feedback
  • Complimenting others

9. Help and guide children, but do not micromanage them

Another acclaimed psychologist, Diana Baumrind, focused her career in the effects of certain parenting styles on children.

She categorized parenting techniques into three main styles: permissive parenting, authoritarian parenting, and authoritative parenting.

Permissive parents are overly lenient with their children’s needs. They give in to their every whim and believe the universe centers around their child. This is a common mistake parents make.

The lack of consistent rules can lead to chaos and an unbalanced parent/child relationship. Kids often become spoiled under this parenting type.

Authoritarian parents are the opposite. They are too strict and inflexible. In the long run, kids with authoritarian parents become secretive, rebellious, and resentful.

Authoritative parents are the most balanced of all the types. They love and acknowledge their children without being overly indulgent. They can be flexible but also have reasonable and age-appropriate rules.

Kids with this type of parent are the most likely to be successful later on in life. Strive to use this parenting style the most.

10. Ensure your children feel safe

Security early on in childhood correlates with children performing better in school. They are also more likely to have healthy relationships as they grow older.

Security can come from a number of sources. As a parent, you can boost a child’s sense of security by:

  • Displaying affection toward them
  • Saying you appreciate your child
  • Respecting their child and listening to them
  • Keeping your promise
  • Setting consistent boundaries
  • Give them your full attention when talking
  • Remind your child you love them, no matter what

11. Encourage your children to be resilient

According to Dr. Angela Duckworth, a psychologist states that perseverance for long-term goals is the key to long-term success.

In fact, grit has been proven to be a marker for success than the innate talent of IQ.

The specific ways you can use parenting abilities to help a child develop grit include:

  • Letting them make mistakes
  • Model resilience
  • State that effort is more important than the outcome
  • Focus on contribution instead of achievement
  • Teach them how to overcome challenges
  • Encourage them to take manageable risks

12. Manage your stress so it does not affect your kids

You may not realize how much of an impact your stress has on your children. A study by Marilyn Essex found that stress has a direct relation to a child’s future.

This is exactly why you should try to manage your stress. Not only does it negatively impact you, but it is also bad news for your kids.

If you find yourself constantly stressed out, try to focus on tasks that make you happy. Find your passions and incorporate them into your daily life. Take deep breaths and distance yourself from conflicts.

You could also try meditating or journaling to relieve stress.

13. Be a good role model

You are your child’s first role model. Instead of listening to your words, though, they often imitate your actions. The latest research proves that children start copying your actions as early as age 3.

Do not let your children get exposed to potentially negative and detrimental habits. For instance, consider that many parents struggle with trying not to swear or participating in unselfish behavior.

However, realize that self-control takes time and effort. If you slip up from time to time, that is alright. It should be expected.

But, ensure that your children understand you do not want them to replicate these behaviors and that you are working to reduce this behavior yourself.

14. Dedicate time to your kids

In today’s busy environment, making time for anyone is difficult. However, realize that these are your children. The real question is how to make time for those you truly love.

You do not have to spend all day with your kids to make them feel loved (if you are short on time).

In fact, spending a few hours with your kids, giving them undivided attention, would be better than being half present for the entire day. A few ways you can spend time with your kids are:

  • Scheduling time weekly for one on one time with your child
  • Play with them and be engaged in their stories
  • If you have older children, take them with you in your errands
  • Replace screen time with family time outside
  • Be present during important milestones

15. Set logical and age-appropriate limits

Not all limits and rules are bad. Sometimes, they actually help kids become successful and learn about the difference between right and wrong.

Of course, there is a difference between being a perfectionist parent who never wants kids to question rules. Kids should understand why you set rules and the benefits of following them.

They should not simply follow rules “just because you said so.”

Positive behaviors are learned through rules. Without rules, kids can be unruly and breed bad behavior.

You may be met with negative emotions from your kids, but try to help them deal with these emotions instead of giving in to their every whim. Dealing with “no” now will help them deal with challenges as adults.

Why are Parenting Skills Important?

Parenting skills are an important aspect of parenting and child development. These crucial skills help ensure you maintain a good relationship with your child.

Additionally, parenting abilities help your child learn the best behaviors from you. It makes you a figure the child will look up to and improves the child/parent relationship.

String parenting skills can help you gain self-control as a parent. Even though you may be an imperfect parent, strong parenting skills prevent you from letting your bad habits take control of you.

The best parenting abilities help you stay focused on your parenting goals. This will help your child achieve success later on. They can learn to copy strengths from you as well.

In general, your parenting skills bring out the best in both you and your child. They can truly unite your child.

How to Measure Parenting Skills?

The best way to measure your parenting abilities is to ask your child directly. Ask them if they feel heard and listened to.

Does your child believe you spend enough time with them? Do they understand why you have the rules you set?

These questions, among others, will all help determine which parenting skills are well-developed and which need some attention.

If you change your parenting skills or develop new skills, try to notice if your child’s behavior changes. If it changes for the better, it is likely your new skills had a positive impact on the child.

You could also take a more in-depth test that evaluates your skills.

For instance, the FRIENDS Protective Factors survey can measure your family’s resilience, support of your child, nurturing abilities, and knowledge of child’s developmental stages.

It is most often used in circumstances of neglect, but the survey is another tool that can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a parent.

Gaining insight from a spouse could also reveal crucial information about your parenting style. They can provide an adult’s viewpoint on your strengths and weaknesses.

Your spouse has prior experience as a child and can compare the strategies you use to those to his or her parents utilized.

Then, you can measure the differences and see if they are beneficial or negative differences.

How to Improve Parenting Skills?

You can improve your parenting abilities in a number of ways. Firstly, you must listen to your kids. Make it a top priority to speak to them daily.

Ask them for feedback on your parenting so they feel heard and valued. When you spend time with them, give your children your complete attention.

Take their advice to heart, but also ensure you do so to a reasonable extent. Whenever your child opens up to you, be careful with what you say to them. Children are sensitive, so try to be honest while also gentle.

Your body language can also impact how a child interprets the message you tell them. Pay attention to your eye contact and body language for this reason.

Ensure your rules are specific. Do not stray away from these rules or give into your child’s every want. However, you should also be reasonable with these rules. They should be age appropriate.

Avoid turning into a helicopter parent. Becoming a micromanaging parent decreases your flexibility and openness, both key parenting traits.

Also, avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Developing parental skills takes time, effort, and feedback. Look to role models for how to teach your kids.

If you have a living mother or father, this is a great opportunity for parents. Ask your parents for the insights they learned about raising children. Apply them to your own life.

Parenting skills should be regularly reevaluated. Aim to do this at least every few months. However, yearly is the absolute minimum.

This is so because so many changes about a child during a month, let alone a year. Your parenting techniques should also adapt as the child grows and matures.

Activities for Practicing and Developing Parenting Skills

There are a number of activities that can help you develop parenting skills. They do not have to be overly challenging or enduring. In fact, the following activities can be performed by nearly any parent.

3 Examples of Activities

1. Growing your relationship through communication 

Throughout daily life, there are many opportunities to connect with your child. You can leverage everyday moments to effectively communicate and inspire them.

Whenever a child presents you with their art or something they built, complement them. If they write something, recognize their effort. The more specific the praise, the better it is for the child’s confidence.

Talk to them about their passions. Keep the conversation going and stay engaged. Ensure the child remains engaged by asking questions.

2. The discipline and consequence activity

The best parents know exactly how to respond to both positive and negative behaviors. Kids should learn that their choices have consequences.

Sometimes, they are positive. However, they should also learn from making mistakes.

When considering consequences, take the child’s personality and reason for misbehavior into account. If you know the child is misbehaving just to get your attention, ignore them.

However, if they are misbehaving due to a rule misunderstanding, explain the rule to them. If a child throws a toy, help them realize that choice has consequences by taking the toy away immediately.

This helps them associate the specific action with a direct consequence.

Try not to give your child any positive attention for misbehaving. This would only make them more likely to repeat the negative action.

3. How would you give directions?

Every parent delegates tasks and rules to their child differently. However, certain direction-giving techniques are better than others. Consider whether you overwhelm your child with too many tasks at once.

When calling a child to come to dinner, do you also tell them to clean up and wash their hands? This could overwhelm them.

You could also be too vague in your instructions. Something like “it is time to head downstairs” does not give your child a specific reason to do so. They will not know what to expect from doing the task.

Thus, they are less likely to listen. Teach your kids to listen to you without yelling. This means rationalizing with them and ensuring they know you are in charge.

Bonus: Parenting Skills Workbook

A number of high-quality workbooks outline the top skills parents must maintain. One of these workbooks is the Positive Parenting Workbook.

In this popular book by blogger Jessica Eanes, the truth behind dealing with hectic life is revealed. She inspires readers to develop EQ, communicate effectively, set clear goals, and enjoy the present.

She provides a number of prompts to help you evaluate your parenting strategies. Eanes also leaves room for you to track your progress. A number of key parenting principles are outlined by her anecdotes.

Parenting Skills Workbook

For example, one of the key insights provided in the book is that empathy should be a key element of your parenting strategy.

Another insight is that the reason children get upset is because of a neurological self-control deficiency. This is something all children experience during this age.

Therefore, the best way to approach angry children is by calming them down first. Only then should you move on to rationalizing with them.

With this book, you can formulate a clear plan to avoid tantrums, handle outbursts, move past back-talking, and address other negative behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Skills

What skills do you need in parenting.

There are many key skills that every parent should possess. For example, all parents should love their kids unconditionally. They should give their child ample attention and communicate well with them.

This means explaining why there are rules in the household. Parents should also ensure their kids feel safe speaking to them.

Other important parenting traits include: stress management, emotional management, resilience, being a healthy role model, getting along with others, practicing active listening, working as a team, and staying patient.

What are positive parenting skills?

A number of skills are crucial to positive parenting . These are mainly balance, active listening, unconditional love, support, and emotional validation.

The latter involves telling the child you care about their feelings and accepting their emotions. This is opposed to what many parents do: tell children they should not feel a certain way.

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Being a parent is extremely challenging but also immensely rewarding. Hone your parenting skills with our articles.

The following is a list of all our parenting skills pages ordered alphabetically by page title. We have included sub-section lead pages in bold .

  • Adolescence, Understanding
  • Babies and Sleep
  • Babies, Feeding
  • Babies, Sleeping Problems in
  • Babies, Weaning
  • Baby, Looking After a New
  • Body Image, Positive
  • Bullying, An Introduction to
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  • Children, Supporting Formal Learning
  • Children, Supporting Informal Learning
  • Children, Supporting Through Exams
  • Children, Teaching Social Skills
  • Children’s Parties, Planning and Preparing
  • Children's Parties, Managing
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  • Independence, Increasing
  • Learning and Developing
  • Parenthood, Preparing for
  • Parenting Boys
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  • Parenting Tips
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  • Parenting, Mindful
  • Parents, Meeting Other
  • Pregnancy and Babies
  • Pregnancy and Eating - Diet in Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy and Wellness
  • Puberty, Sex and Relationships, Talking About
  • Puberty, Understanding
  • Relational Aggression, Managing ‘Mean’ Behaviour
  • School Holidays, Tips for
  • School, Choosing a
  • Self-Care for Parents
  • Study Subjects, Choosing
  • Tantrums, Dealing with
  • Teenage Aggression, Coping with
  • Teenage Parties and Sleepovers
  • Teenagers and Alcohol
  • Teenagers and Drugs
  • Teenagers and Mental Health
  • Teenagers, Communicating with
  • Teenagers, Coping with
  • Teenagers, Talking to - Areas of Concern
  • Teenagers, Talking to About Sex and Relationships
  • Teenagers, Worrying About
  • Toddler Behaviour, Managing
  • Toddlers and Young Children
  • Toddlers and Young Children, Understanding
  • Toddlers, Feeding & Managing Fussy Eating

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9 Good Parenting Skills That Every Parent Should Practice

Good parenting skills can shape our littles ones for a better future. It is our responsibility as parents to guide, nurture and use parenting skills that will help them to be happy, healthy and responsible individuals. Good parenting skills also helps for our young ones to have a healthy physical and emotional health.

Good Parenting Skills

Parenting is a tough journey, but it can be rewarding when we continuously learn and apply appropriate good parenting skills. This journey builds both the parent and the child and plays an important role in building a healthy environment for children to thrive in, but that can only be achieved when good parenting skills are being applied.

You are going to learn about effective parenting practices that will help your child to thrive, these practices include effective communication, active engagement, positive discipline and more.

This post is about 9 parenting skills that every parent should apply for their children to thrive.

Good Parenting Skills

1. effective communication .

examples of good parenting skills

Good parenting involves open and honest communication with your child. Even when it comes to rules, make them understand why certain rules have been put into place and this will also make them understand the world better, will instill good values in them and it will promote health conflict resolution. Listen attentively to their thoughts, concerns, and feelings, and express your own thoughts and expectations clearly and respectfully. Ask them frequently how they are doing, how they feel about themselves and certain activities they take part in such as school, this serves as support for their academic and personal growth. Effective communication will make you to be in touch with your child’s life and helps to build trust as your child will find it easier to confide in you about heavier and personal situations.

2. Positive Reinforcements   

Child development resources for parents

Recognize and praise your child’s achievements and good behavior. Offering positive reinforcement helps build their self-esteem, encourages positive habits, and strengthens the parent-child bond. It even goes further to teach them to be grateful for the little things and to appreciate life so that they can live positively. Encourage them to have gratitude journals. Incorporating a gratitude journal into your daily routine can bring about transformative changes in your perspective, attitude, and overall happiness. It allows you to cultivate a deeper appreciation for life’s blessings, big and small, and create a positive mindset that permeates all areas of your life. Below is a link of a great gratitude journal that one can buy from Amazon, it guides the individual on how to reflect, to be grateful and provides sufficient spaces for them to write daily lessons and appreciate any day as it comes.

Name of the Journal : Daily Reflection, and Gratitude Journal: 365 days by Moseki

Link : A good gratitude journal

3. Encourage Independence

Foster your child’s independence by allowing them to make age-appropriate decisions and take on responsibilities. Gradually giving them autonomy helps develop their confidence and decision-making skills. Encourage your children to solve problems on their own. When they encounter a challenge or difficulty, guide them through the process of finding a solution rather than immediately providing the answer. This empowers them to think critically and develop problem-solving skills. Teach your children practical skills that promote independence, such as dressing themselves, tying shoelaces, preparing simple meals, or managing their own belongings. Gradually increase the complexity of these tasks as they grow older and more capable.

4. Nurturing Emotional Intelligence

Teach your child to recognize and manage their emotions effectively. Help them understand empathy, self-awareness, and problem-solving, equipping them with vital skills for healthy relationships and personal growth. Help your child identify and label their emotions. Use everyday situations as opportunities to discuss feelings and emotions. For example, ask them how they feel about a particular event or how they think someone else might be feeling. Help your child learn to regulate their emotions by teaching them calming techniques such as deep breathing, counting to ten, or taking a break. Encourage them to identify their triggers and develop strategies to manage their emotional responses effectively. This is a rare parenting skill, but it is vital for your child’s upbringing.

5. Quality time

free parenting skills workbook pdf

Spend quality time with your child, engaging in activities they enjoy. This dedicated attention strengthens the parent-child relationship, boosts their self-esteem, and creates lasting memories. When spending quality time with your child, give them your undivided attention. Put away distractions such as phones or work-related tasks and focus on engaging with the person you’re with. Active listening and being fully present in the moment can enhance the quality of the time spent together. Remember, the essence of quality time lies in the intentionality and presence you bring to the moments you share. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels valued, heard, and loved.

6. Consistent Discipline

Implement fair and consistent discipline strategies that promote appropriate behavior and teach valuable life lessons. Avoid harsh punishment and focus on teaching consequences and problem-solving. Establishing clear boundaries and rules helps children understand what is expected of them and promotes discipline and respect. Consistency in enforcing these boundaries is crucial for their development, it also serves as a good parenting skill.

7. Unconditional Love

Express your love and affection for your child consistently. Let them know that your love is unconditional, regardless of their achievements or mistakes. This creates a secure and loving environment for their overall well-being. Use words to express your love regularly. Say “I love you” to your children and offer specific compliments and affirmations about their character, efforts, and accomplishments. Be sincere and specific in your praise. Remember, unconditional love is a lifelong commitment. It requires consistency, patience, and understanding. By practicing these good parenting skills, you can create a nurturing environment that fosters your children’s emotional well-being and helps them develop a healthy sense of self-worth and resilience.

8. Lead by Example  

parenting class curriculum

Children learn by observing their parents’ behavior. Model the qualities and values you want to instill in them, such as honesty, kindness, responsibility, and respect. Be a positive role model. Treat others, including your children, with kindness, respect, and empathy. Show them how to communicate respectfully, listen attentively, and consider others’ feelings and perspectives. Approach challenges with a positive and optimistic attitude. Show your children how to face adversity, setbacks, and disappointments with resilience and a growth mindset. Teach them that setbacks are opportunities for learning and growth.

9. Self-care

Taking care of oneself as a parent is crucial for overall well-being and effective parenting. Prioritizing self-care activities, seeking support when needed, and managing stress positively contribute to a parent’s ability to be present and attentive to their child’s needs. Show your children the importance of self-care by taking care of your physical and mental well-being. Prioritize healthy habits such as exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, and managing stress effectively. Take time for self-reflection to better understand your needs, emotions, and goals. Journaling, mindfulness, or therapy can help you gain clarity and develop a deeper connection with yourself. Below is a good journal from Amazon, it will help you to reflect and to remain positive throughout your challenges and once you practice self-care, then you will be able to foster good parenting skills.

This post was all about 9 good parenting skills that every parent should practice for a great upbringing.

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12 Good Parenting Tips Everyone Thinks Are Actually Bad

Posted: October 19, 2023 | Last updated: November 19, 2023

<p>In a world of fast-paced technology and instant access to information, some parents believe in satisfying their child’s every whim immediately. However, constantly providing instant gratification can lead to a lack of patience and an inability to delay gratification, which are essential life skills. Teaching a child to wait and work towards their goals can instill discipline and perseverance.</p>

Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges and advice from various sources. Yet, sometimes, what seems like good parenting may be misconstrued as the opposite.

<p>As culinary preferences ebb and flow, certain food trends have taken the spotlight in recent times. While many trends add excitement and innovation to the dining experience, some have begun to overstay their welcome. It’s important to reflect on these trends that might have lost their charm and consider why it might be time for them to gracefully exit the culinary stage.</p>

1. Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries with children is often misinterpreted as being strict or unloving. However, establishing clear limits is a crucial aspect of good parenting. Boundaries provide children with a sense of security and help them understand the difference between right and wrong. When parents set and enforce reasonable boundaries, they are teaching their children important life skills, such as responsibility and self-discipline.

<p>Many parents feel the pressure to ensure their child excels in every aspect of life, from academics to sports and the arts. While encouraging a child to explore their interests is important, pushing them too hard can lead to stress and burnout. Each child is unique, and it’s essential to allow them to discover their own passions and abilities at their own pace.</p>

2. Allowing Independence

Some parents fear that granting their children independence too early will lead to rebellion or neglect. Nonetheless, encouraging independence from an early age is a sign of good parenting. Allowing children to make age-appropriate choices and take on responsibilities helps them develop crucial life skills and a sense of autonomy. It fosters confidence and prepares them for the challenges of adulthood.

<p>Kids have a unique sense of fashion, and parents frequently find themselves puzzled by their children’s clothing choices. From wearing a superhero cape to school to insisting on dressing like a princess for a trip to the grocery store, parents often raise an eyebrow at their child’s sartorial selections. While self-expression is important, parents can’t help but wonder why their child insists on donning the most unconventional outfits at the most inappropriate times.</p>

3. Constructive Criticism

Critiquing a child’s work or behavior is often seen as detrimental to their self-esteem. However, providing constructive criticism is a valuable parenting tool when done with care and empathy. Children need feedback to grow and learn from their mistakes. When parents offer constructive criticism in a supportive manner, it helps children improve their skills and develop resilience.

<p>Parents who restrict their children’s screen time are sometimes accused of being overly controlling. Nevertheless, limiting screen time is a responsible parenting strategy. Excessive screen use can have negative effects on children’s physical and mental health, as well as their social development. Setting reasonable screen time limits ensures that children have a well-rounded childhood with a balance of activities.</p>

4. Limiting Screen Time

Parents who restrict their children’s screen time are sometimes accused of being overly controlling. Nevertheless, limiting screen time is a responsible parenting strategy. Excessive screen use can have negative effects on children’s physical and mental health, as well as their social development. Setting reasonable screen time limits ensures that children have a well-rounded childhood with a balance of activities.

<p>This is a common myth that many parents believe. However, there is no evidence to suggest that swimming after eating will cause cramps or increase the risk of drowning. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education found no correlation between swimming after eating and the incidence of cramps or drowning.</p>

5. Encouraging Healthy Eating

Encouraging children to eat a balanced diet is sometimes mistaken for being too strict or controlling about food. However, promoting healthy eating habits is a fundamental aspect of good parenting. A nutritious diet is essential for a child’s growth and development. Parents who educate their children about the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, and balanced meals are setting them up for a lifetime of good health.

<p>Seatbelts and car seats were not always mandatory or even widely used when Millennials and Boomers were kids. It was common to see children sitting on parents’ laps or in the front seat of a car without proper restraints. Today, car seat safety is taken very seriously, and laws require children to be secured in age-appropriate seats or boosters until they reach a certain age or height.</p>

6. Emphasizing Routine

Promoting a structured daily routine for children is sometimes seen as rigid or inflexible parenting. Nevertheless, establishing a consistent routine can be highly beneficial. It helps children feel secure, reduces anxiety, and fosters a sense of predictability in their lives. Routines also teach important time management skills, which are valuable as children grow.

<p>Another respondent shared a story of a father who forced his young children to sell drugs to make money. This is not only illegal but also morally reprehensible. Children should never be put in dangerous situations for the sake of financial gain.</p>

7. Encouraging Responsibility

Encouraging children to take on responsibilities from a young age may be mistaken for overburdening them. However, teaching responsibility is a crucial aspect of parenting. It helps children develop important life skills, including accountability, organization, and independence. By assigning age-appropriate chores and tasks, parents empower their children to become capable and self-sufficient individuals.

<p>Letting children face the consequences of their actions is sometimes misunderstood as neglectful parenting. However, allowing natural consequences can be a powerful learning tool. When children experience the direct outcomes of their choices, they gain a better understanding of cause and effect. This valuable life lesson helps them make more informed decisions in the future.</p>

8. Allowing Consequences

Letting children face the consequences of their actions is sometimes misunderstood as neglectful parenting. However, allowing natural consequences can be a powerful learning tool. When children experience the direct outcomes of their choices, they gain a better understanding of cause and effect. This valuable life lesson helps them make more informed decisions in the future.

<p>Above all, parents want their children to know that they are loved unconditionally. They long to express the depths of their love and support, even though words may fall short. Parents want their children to feel secure in the knowledge that their love is unwavering, regardless of their achievements or mistakes. It’s a love that transcends time, distance, and any challenges life may present. They hope that this unwavering love will be a constant source of strength and comfort for their children throughout their lives.</p>

9. Encouraging Open Communication

Parents who encourage open communication with their children may be seen as invasive or overly involved. Nonetheless, fostering a safe and open dialogue is vital for healthy parent-child relationships. When children feel comfortable talking to their parents about their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, it strengthens the bond between them. It also allows parents to provide guidance and support when needed.

<p>Taking care of yourself as a mom is probably one of the most important things you can do for your kids. A mentally ill, stressed out, overwhelmed mom is not the best thing for your kids. You have to make time to take care of yourself and your family. And yes, sometimes that can be difficult to do. But self-care is an essential part of coping with the stress of raising a child. </p> <p>Even if it just means one night a week, you take a bath in solitude, or you get to watch a funny movie before bed, or you put down the <a href="https://parentportfolio.com/chores-list-for-the-whole-family/">chore list</a> and relax instead. Do some self-care that makes you feel happy, not just for you but also for your kids.</p> <p>Don’t let the <a href="https://parentportfolio.com/mom-guilt-and-how-to-manage-it/">mom guilt</a> get the best of you. Mothering children requires you to take care of yourself too. And taking care of yourself does NOT make you a bad mother. It’s good parenting. </p>

10. Prioritizing Self-Care

Parents who prioritize self-care are sometimes criticized for being selfish or neglectful of their children. However, taking care of one’s physical and mental well-being is essential for effective parenting. When parents maintain their own health and happiness, they are better equipped to provide love and support to their children. Self-care models healthy habits and teaches children the importance of self-compassion.

<p>Encouraging children to be independent is sometimes perceived as neglectful parenting. However, nurturing independence in children is a valuable aspect of good parenting. It allows them to develop problem-solving skills, self-reliance, and a sense of accomplishment. Parents who promote independence are helping their children become confident and capable individuals.</p>

11. Encouraging Independence

Encouraging children to be independent is sometimes perceived as neglectful parenting. However, nurturing independence in children is a valuable aspect of good parenting. It allows them to develop problem-solving skills, self-reliance, and a sense of accomplishment. Parents who promote independence are helping their children become confident and capable individuals.

As children, we often engage in activities that bring us joy and excitement without fully understanding the potential risks involved. Looking back, we may realize that some of the things we did as kids for fun were actually quite dangerous. From climbing trees without safety precautions to playing with fireworks without proper supervision, our innocent...

12. Allowing Age-Appropriate Risks

Parents who permit their children to take age-appropriate risks may be labeled as careless. Nonetheless, allowing children to experience controlled risks is crucial for their development. It helps them build resilience, assess potential dangers, and learn valuable life lessons. When parents strike the right balance between safety and risk-taking, they empower their children to grow and adapt.

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<p>One step-parent allowed their 9-year-old stepdaughter to spend hours alone in her room with markers and papers, assuming she was drawing or making a <a href="https://parentportfolio.com/wordless-picture-books/">picture book</a>. However, the parent later discovered that the child had been using the family calendar to make cards for everyone for upcoming holidays and birthdays. Although the parent did not ask the child about it, they were proud of the child’s logic and long-term planning abilities.</p>

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Parents Are Highly Involved in Their Adult Children’s Lives, and Fine With It

New surveys show that today’s intensive parenting has benefits, not just risks, and most young adults seem happy with it, too.

A graduation cap is decorated with small flowers and the words “the adventure continues.”

By Claire Cain Miller

American parenting has become more involved — requiring more time, money and mental energy — not just when children are young, but well into adulthood.

The popular conception has been that this must be detrimental to children — with snowplow parents clearing obstacles and ending up with adult children who have failed to launch , still dependent upon them.

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But two new Pew Research Center surveys — of young adults 18 to 34 and of parents of children that age — tell a more nuanced story. Most parents are in fact highly involved in their grown children’s lives, it found, texting several times a week and offering advice and financial support. Yet in many ways, their relationships seem healthy and fulfilling.

Nine in 10 parents rate their relationships with their young adult children as good or excellent, and so do eight in 10 young adults, and this is consistent across income. Rather than feeling worried or disappointed about how things are going in their children’s lives, eight in 10 parents say they feel proud and hopeful.

“These parents, who are Gen X, are more willing to say, ‘Hey, this is good, I like these people, they’re interesting, they’re fun to be with,’” said Karen L. Fingerman, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies adults’ relationships with their families.

As for the adult children, she said, “You get advice from a 50-year-old with life experience who is incredibly invested in you and your success.”

Also, these close relationships don’t seem to be holding back young people from reaching certain milestones of independence. Compared with their parents as young adults in the early 1990s, they are much more likely to be in college or have a college degree, Pew found. They are somewhat more likely to have a full-time job, and their inflation-adjusted incomes are higher. (They are much less likely, though, to be married or have children.)

Experts say contemporary hyper-intensive parenting can go too far — and has only gotten more hands-on since the young adults in the survey were children. Young people say their mental health is suffering , and recent data shows they are much more likely to say this than those before them. Some researchers have sounded alarms that one driver of this is children’s lack of independence, and that overparenting can deprive children of developing skills to handle adversity.

The new data suggests that, indeed, young adults are more reliant on their parents — texting them for life advice when older generations may have figured out their problems on their own. But the effects do not seem to be wholly negative.

Professor Fingerman and her colleagues have found that close relationships between parents and grown children protected children from unhealthy behaviors, and young adults who received significant parental support were better able to cope with change and had higher satisfaction with their lives. It was a finding “we just couldn’t believe the first time,” she said, because of the assumptions about over-involved parents.

Both things can be true, said Eli Lebowitz, director of the Program for Anxiety Disorders at the Yale Child Study Center — “that they do rely a lot on their parents, and they do get a lot of positive support from them.”

In previous research , parents often expressed ambivalence about their continued involvement in their adult children’s lives. But the Pew study suggests that has changed, Professor Fingerman said, perhaps a sign they have come to embrace it.

Among parents, seven in 10 say they are satisfied with their level of involvement in their grown child’s life. Just 7 percent say they’re too involved, and one-quarter would like even more involvement. Young adults say the same.

Adriana Goericke, from Santa Cruz, Calif., texts with her daughter, Mia, a college sophomore in Colorado, a few times a day. They share pictures of their food, workouts or funny selfies.

When her daughter asks for advice, mostly about navigating friendships and dating, her mother said she sees her role as a sounding board: “She knows I’m not going to try and run her life, but I’m always there if she needs me.”

Mia Goericke has seen friends who can’t solve problems or make small decisions on their own, but she said that’s different from asking her mother for help. “She will usually ask me what my goals are and try to understand my thinking rather than just tell me what to do,” she said. “It’s like an incredible resource I have at my fingertips.”

When baby boomers were growing up, there was a belief, rooted in the American ideal of self-sufficiency, that children should be independent after age 18. But that was in some ways an aberration, social scientists said. Before then, and again now, it has been common for members of different generations to be more interdependent.

Parents’ involvement in young adults’ lives began to grow in the 1970s. The transition to adulthood became longer , and less clear-cut: It was no longer necessarily the case that at 18 children left home for college, marriage or jobs. Parenting gradually became more intensive , as people had fewer children and invested more in their upbringings.

Cathy Perry, 66, said she has a very different relationship with her sons, 32 and 36, than she had with her parents when she was that age. They all live in the St. Louis area, and text on a family group chat several times a week. Her older son shares updates on his children, and asks for advice on his career, finances and home remodeling.

As a young adult, she lived an 11-hour drive from her parents, and calls were charged by the minute. “I feel that I have a much closer and more open relationship with my kids, where they are more free to express their opinions on things I might not agree with,” she said.

Open, emotional conversations have become more of a priority for parents, research shows : “They may be the first generation of adults who have parents who actually grew up with the mind-set of talking about this kind of stuff,” Professor Lebowitz said.

In the survey, six in 10 young adults said they still relied on their parents for emotional support, and a quarter of young adults said their parents relied on them for the same, including 44 percent of daughters who said their mothers did.

About seven in 10 parents of young adults said their children ask them for advice, especially about finances, careers, physical health and parenting (among those with children). That’s a change from when they were young — half said they rarely or never asked their parents for advice.

There were gender differences: Young adults were somewhat more likely to say they had a good relationship with their mother than their father. Young women communicated with their parents more frequently than young men.

Cultural and policy factors play a role in parents’ involvement in their grown children’s lives. In the United States , parents and children often rely on one another for child care and elder care . In many immigrant families, it is common for multiple generations to live together or support one another. And technology has made it easier to stay in regular touch.

There is also an increasing understanding that children have different needs, and decreasing stigma around helping them, said Mark McConville, a clinical psychologist in Cleveland. Consider a bright teenager with ADHD, he said. A generation ago, his potential might have been written off. Now, it’s much more likely that his parents identify the issue and find programs to support him — and as a result, that he attends college.

He said a small subset of young adults struggle with starting independent lives (the subject of his book, “ Failure to Launch : When Your Twentysomething Hasn’t Grown Up … and What to Do About It”). But overall, “this new prioritization of their relationship with their kids and attending to their kids’ needs” helps children succeed, he said.

Economic factors have changed, too. Young people are more likely than in their parents’ generation to have student debt — 43 percent do in their late 20s, compared with 28 percent when their parents were that age, Pew found — and are buying homes later, if at all .

Partly as a consequence, parents support their children financially for longer periods — one-third of young adults told Pew they were not financially independent from their parents. They are a bit more likely to live with their parents than the previous generation.

But for many families, support in the form of money or housing can be beneficial to parents, too. Of young adults living at home, three-quarters helped with expenses. One-third of young adults gave their parents financial help in the last year, particularly in low-income families.

And a majority of adult children living at home and parents in that situation said it had a positive effect on their relationship.

“There’s a two-way street going on that I think we need to acknowledge,” Professor Fingerman said. “They’re not all kids living in the basement being pampered. They’re kids having relationships with their parents that are good ones.”

Audio produced by Tally Abecassis .

Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times in 2008 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. More about Claire Cain Miller

How to Communicate Better With the Teens in Your Life

Simple strategies can go a long way toward building a stronger, more open relationship..

Active listening is an essential skill when seeking to engage any family member in conversation — teens included. Here is how to get better at it .

There are many reasons why a teen might not be opening up to you. These are the most common explanations for their silence .

Is your kid dismissing your solutions to their problems as irritating or irrelevant? It is usually because they’re not looking for you solve their problems.

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To boost a preschooler's language skills, consider reminiscing

'parent talk' study compares reminiscing, book sharing and toy play as language learning settings.

Language skills are strong predictors of academic, socioemotional and behavioral outcomes when children enter school. They learn language in preschool years by interacting with others, especially their parents. Book sharing is a popular way parents engage young children in conversation. However, not all parents are comfortable with book sharing and not all children like having books read to them.

A new study on "parent talk" by Florida Atlantic University, in collaboration with Aarhus University in Denmark, provides an alternative. To boost the quality of a preschooler's language experience and skills, consider reminiscing with them.

To determine the effects of encouraging parents to reminisce with their children, researchers examined properties of conversations between Danish parents and their 3- to 5-year-old children as they engaged in three different activities. The parents and children were asked to share a wordless picture book (book sharing), reminisce about past events, and build with LEGO bricks.

From transcripts of parent-child conversations in these three activities, researchers measured properties of parent speech that have been found to be related to children's language development. They also measured how much the children talked, as child output also has been found to be a positive predictor of their language growth.

Results of the study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology ,reveal that reminiscing is very good at eliciting high quality speech from parents, and in many ways, is just as good as book sharing. Book sharing and reminiscing were higher than toy play on three measures of interactive quality: less frequent use of directives, more frequent use of what/who/where questions, and more frequent use of why/how questions.

Only reminiscing, not book sharing, differed from toy play in parent speech being higher in grammatical complexity and in more frequently expanding child utterances. Both reminiscing and book sharing increased the lexical richness of parent speech compared to toy play.

"Findings from our study should bolster arguments that have been made for reminiscing as a basis for culturally sensitive intervention to increase the quality of children's language experience," said Erika Hoff, Ph.D., senior author and a professor, Department of Psychology, FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. "Talk in reminiscing is characterized by longer and more complex sentences than talk in many other settings, and particularly elaborative reminiscing in which the adult scaffolds and encourages the child's talk, has been found to benefit children's language growth. Reminiscing also is argued to be more widespread as a naturally occurring practice across cultures and levels of socioeconomic status than book reading."

Interestingly, researchers did not find any differences between mothers and fathers. Until now, literature on differences between fathers' and mothers' talk to their children has been scant with mixed findings and heavily reliant on samples in the United States. A Danish sample offered the opportunity to study differences between mothers and fathers in a place where parenting roles are less gender-typed than elsewhere.

While findings provide new evidence that reminiscing is an activity that elicits parent use of rich language, the researchers caution that it does not diminish differences in the quality of parent speech related to parent education level. More educated parents more frequently labeled objects and events, their speech was grammatically more complex, and they more frequently repeated and expanded their children's prior utterances.

"Reminiscing is good, but it's not a magic bullet that closes societal and educational gaps. The applied motivation behind our line of research is to find ways that will close the gap in the language experience of children from more advantaged and less advantaged families," said Hoff. "Of course, it's good to find activities that enrich all children's language experience, and all children will benefit from such experiences. However, such activities can't be expected to eliminate all differences in children's experience."

Even though differences in language use associated with parent education are not eliminated, an important finding from this study is that the biggest effects on the quality of parent talk to children is the activity that parents and children are engaged in.

"I would suggest to parents that it's not just important to spend time with your children. What you're doing when you're spending time with them also is important," said Hoff. "It's good to carve out some time just to have a conversation. If you like reading books, read books, if you would rather talk about planning the future or talking about the past, do that. Make time to have conversations with your children."

Study co-authors are Fabio Trecca, Ph.D., senior researcher; Anders Hojen, Ph.D., an associate professor; and Dorthe Belses, Ph.D., a professor, all with the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University; and Brett Laursen, Ph.D., a professor of psychology, FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

This research was supported by Styrelsen for Uddannelse og Kvalitet (The Danish National Agency for Education and Quality) and by TrygFonden (grant 147476 to Belses).

  • Child Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Learning Disorders
  • Language Acquisition
  • Educational Psychology
  • K-12 Education
  • Early childhood education
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Interpersonal relationship
  • Hyperactivity
  • Great Ape language
  • Memory-prediction framework
  • Asperger syndrome

Story Source:

Materials provided by Florida Atlantic University . Original written by Gisele Galoustian. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • Erika Hoff, Fabio Trecca, Anders Højen, Brett Laursen, Dorthe Bleses. Context and education affect the quality of parents' speech to children . Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology , 2024; 91: 101632 DOI: 10.1016/j.appdev.2024.101632

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    Child Development Positive Parenting Tips Español (Spanish) | Print As a parent you give your children a good start in life—you nurture, protect and guide them. Parenting is a process that prepares your child for independence. As your child grows and develops, there are many things you can do to help your child.

  6. What is Positive Parenting? 33 Examples and Benefits

    By learning from and applying these positive parenting resources; parents will become the kind of parents they've always wanted to be: Confident, Optimistic, and even Joyful. Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free.

  7. 9 Steps to More Effective Parenting (for Parents)

    1. Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.

  8. Top 10 Parenting Tips

    Love, connection, understanding, and enjoying the journey are the most important things. Both you and your child are learning and growing together, and embracing imperfection paves the way for a more joyful and fulfilling experience. Table of Contents How to be a good parent? What are good parenting tips? 1. Be a responsive parent 2.

  9. 5 Evidence-Based Ways to Practice Positive Parenting

    1) Respect your child's autonomy and independence. Allow them to make choices and to make their own mistakes. When possible, let them choose the clothes they wear, their play activities, and the...

  10. How to Be a Good Parent

    A Personal Perspective: Mirroring is a natural behavior. Using it consciously can make you a more effective supporter. 1. 2. There is no one right way to be a good parent, although there are many ...

  11. Good Parents: Characteristics of Good Parenting

    Learn how to raise happy and well-rounded kids with these 12 traits of good parenting skills, such as guide and support your child, encourage independence, be kind and respectful, and discipline effectively. Find out how to teach your kids to be good people, set expectations for behavior, and connect with them in positive ways.

  12. Parenting Tips: 50 Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

    Now we've gathered our all-time favorite nuggets of advice in one place. Broadly speaking, this is what the experts say about how to be a good parent: Set limits. Spend quality time with your kids ...

  13. The 10 Best Tips From Parenting Experts

    Treat your child with respect. Look at the big picture. Give effective instructions. Use natural consequences. Problem-solve together. Use discipline to teach, not punish. Provide praise for good behavior. Be consistent with discipline. View misbehavior as a sign your child has a problem.

  14. Good Parenting Qualities and Characteristics You Can Develop

    Good Parenting Qualities: Skills to Learn and Use The following attributes are behaviors and actions—things that parents do or provide that encompass good parenting: Outwardly express love, caring, affection Studies show that providing guidance in a loving, affectionate way is the most important quality of good parenting.

  15. Good Parenting Skills That Will Benefit Your Family

    Good Parenting Skills: Parental Traits That Will Benefit Your Family One of the most important traits that parents can develop and use is the ability to think of the long-term, big picture. Rather than getting stuck in the day-to-day struggles and stressors, when parents keep the big picture in mind, the whole family thrives.

  16. What Is Good Parenting?

    Good parenting aims to develop in children character traits like independence, self-direction, honesty, self-control, kindness, and cooperation. To that end, good parenting creates a foundation for a child's healthy, positive development. Good parenting also involves parents living their lives as role models.

  17. The Power of Positive Parenting

    Positive parenting is about showing children love, warmth and kindness. It's about guiding children to act the way you want by encouraging and teaching them. It's about helping children thrive by sending the powerful message: You are loved, you are good, you matter. The Power of Positive Parenting information sheet (PDF)

  18. Ways To Be a Better Parent: Good Parenting Skills and Tips

    Good Parenting Skills Top 6 Ways to be a Better Parent Without Yelling Strengths as a Parent in Difficult Times When Your Child has Mental or Emotional Issues How to Be a Good Parent During Divorce How to Be a Good Parent After Divorce Parenting Skills Activities by Age Infants Toddlers Preschoolers Schoolers Teenagers FAQ

  19. Parenting Skills That Every Parent Should Have

    Good parenting skills are necessary for any new family, though your parenting style may differ from any other parent's. Good parenting skills are essential because they can help your child develop social skills and become an independent adult capable of living independently and solving their own problems.

  20. Parenting Skills: Tips for Parents

    Key Takeaways Good parenting skills prioritize a child's safety, security, and physical and emotional well-being. Examples of good parenting include offering unconditional love, validation, praise, and clear boundaries. The 4 Cs of parenting include care, consistency, choice, and consequences.

  21. 15 Effective Parenting Skills Every Parent Should Know & Have

    What are you great at? Identify your talents are and learn how to use them to boost your motivation at work. Take the free test Maintaining strong parenting skills is crucial to becoming a better mother or father.

  22. A

    A - Z List of Parenting Skills. Being a parent is extremely challenging but also immensely rewarding. Hone your parenting skills with our articles. The following is a list of all our parenting skills pages ordered alphabetically by page title. We have included sub-section lead pages in bold.

  23. 9 Good Parenting Skills That Every Parent Should Practice

    Good parenting skills also helps for our young ones to have a healthy physical and emotional health. Parenting is a tough journey, but it can be rewarding when we continuously learn and apply appropriate good parenting skills. This journey builds both the parent and the child and plays an important role in building a healthy environment for ...

  24. 12 Good Parenting Tips Everyone Thinks Are Actually Bad

    Story by Claire • 3mo. 1 / 19. 12 Good Parenting Tips Everyone Thinks Are Actually Bad ©Photo credit: Shutterstock. Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges and advice from various ...

  25. Parents Are Highly Involved in Their Adult Children's Lives, and Fine

    But two new Pew Research Center surveys — of young adults 18 to 34 and of parents of children that age — tell a more nuanced story. Most parents are in fact highly involved in their grown ...

  26. To Boost a Preschooler's Language Skills, Consider Reminiscing

    Findings show reminiscing is very good at eliciting high quality speech from parents, and in many ways, is just as good as book sharing (wordless picture books). By gisele galoustian | 2/19/2024 Language skills are strong predictors of academic, socioemotional and behavioral outcomes when children enter school.

  27. To boost a preschooler's language skills, consider reminiscing

    To boost the quality of a preschooler's language experience and skills, consider reminiscing with them. Findings show reminiscing is very good at eliciting high quality speech from parents, and in ...