Four questions to evaluate a parenting technique

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Parenting is hard!

If you’re unsure about how effective your parenting techniques are, these four questions can help you examine your parenting style.

Can the parent’s actions be misinterpreted?

Many flawed parenting techniques fail because the parents believe they are teaching a certain principle, but their children are receiving a very different message. It can be helpful to examine the situation from the child’s point of view. Remember that young children often do not understand that there are different appropriate behaviors for different people (ie it is okay for a parent to remove a child’s clothing for a bath, but not okay for a child to remove his sibling’s swimsuit at the pool).
An affirmative answer to this question does not necessarily disqualify a parenting technique. However, care should be taken to clarify the meaning of the parent’s actions to the child to prevent misunderstanding.

What does this technique say about the parent?

Why does the parent gravitate towards this technique? Is it convenient? Is it cathartic? A good parenting technique will show that the parent is patient, firm, emotionally supportive, and controlled. Parenting techniques used out of emotion (anger, frustration, annoyance, exhaustion) are unlikely to be effective.

What does this technique teach my child about himself?

Effective parenting techniques teach a child that he is unconditionally loved, and that he has the power to change his environment. The technique should also teach a child how to move forward after making a mistake. Good parenting will teach a child that his worth does not change with his behavior, but his opportunities do change as a result of his actions.

What does this technique teach my child about relationships?

A negative parenting technique will teach a child that he is only worthy of a relationship when he has complied with the other person’s wishes. Negative parenting techniques can create “pleaser” children whom are afraid to act contrary to others’ wishes for fear of losing relationships.

A positive parenting technique helps your child learn that maintaining a healthy relationship is a two-way street. It teaches your child to not only treat others with kindness, consideration, and respect but to expect the same treatment for himself.

Great parents teach their kids about internet safety!

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