The best parenting skills for shaping a child’s behavior are encouraging, positive, and consistent. Parents who use these parenting skills are most likely to have children who do well in school and have fewer behavior problems.
What Is Encouraging?
Encouraging is saying or doing things that make your child feel good about himself or herself. Encouragement means showing that you believe in your child and are confident that he or she can do well.
It is not saying things like “I know you can do it!” That sounds too much like a command, not encouragement. Encouragement says “I believe in you” instead of “Do this!” For example, if your child does something well, say something like “You did a great job on your homework! I knew you could do it!”
What Is Positive?
Positive means being kind and gentle rather than angry or critical when giving feedback to your child. It means being supportive rather than negative. Positive parenting focuses on what is going right with the child rather than what is wrong with him or her. You want to be positive even when giving feedback about problems.
You can tell a young child, for example, “I don’t like it when you throw toys at people, but I know you didn’t mean to hurt anyone so I won’t punish you for that today.
But please remember not to throw toys again. Okay?” Or an older child might hear something like this: “I know sometimes when we go shopping you get upset because other kids push in front of us in line and I don’t always notice right away that it happened.
I know it upsets you because then we have to wait longer to get our groceries put into bags and sometimes we have to start over again if the line gets too long because there aren’t enough checkers working at one time…and then we get home later than usual….
So let me see if I can do something different next time so we don’t have the same problem….And if I still don’t notice the problem happening until after we get home, maybe next time you could remind me.
Before we leave the store so we can come back another day….Okay?…That way there won’t be as much of a problem with waiting in line…and then getting home late….It’s not a good idea to get so upset about waiting in line.
Because then you’ll feel bad and it will be hard for you to concentrate on the things we do when we get home….But I understand how you feel…and I’m trying to do something different next time…
So let’s not talk about this anymore right now. Okay?”
What Is Consistent?
Consistent means doing what you say you are going to do—for example, saying “no” when your child asks for something and then not giving in.
Consistency is very important for helping children learn what they can and cannot do. It is especially important for children who have problems with behavior. Because they need consistent limits and consequences to help them change their behavior.
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