Parenting can be emotionally and physically exhausting, especially when it comes to using the right parenting skills to discipline your child. And if you have a child who struggles to follow rules, acts out, or is oppositional, discipline is likely very difficult. At HPA/LiveWell, in Albany, New York, our child psychologists understand the stressors that come with being a parent, and are committed to providing education on effective parenting skills.

Parenting Style

Your approach to parenting can have a huge impact on your child’s behavior. Experts categorize parenting into two separate styles or approaches – reactive and proactive.

Reactive parenting – this occurs when a parent responds to a child’s misbehavior in a knee-jerk, reactionary way (often demonstrated through anger).  Reactive parenting frequently triggers yelling, scolding, shouting, and/or blaming.

Proactive parenting – the parenting skills characteristic to the proactive parenting method are considered to be more thoughtful than that of reactive parenting. In this approach, the parent chooses the rules, and the consequences for breaking those rules, that best meet their needs, and the needs of the child. Through consistency and follow through, more harmonious and effective parenting can be achieved.

Proactive Parenting Skills

There are things you can do to facilitate the effectiveness of your proactive parenting style.

  • Instruct in the positive – instead of saying, “do not run” to your child, try using the instruction to “walk.” Using positive command statements is one of the primary proactive parenting skills.
  • Stable home environment – the home environment has a huge impact on any child’s behavior. By creating a secure and stable home life, through consistency, routine, and harmony among family members, you may notice a significant shift in your child’s behavior.
  • Separate the behavior from your child – this is often one of the more difficult parenting skills to incorporate, especially if your child acts out frequently. Yet, it is vital to understand your child’s behavior might be “bad” but this does not mean your child is bad. By separating the child from the behavior, you are less likely to shame him or her.
  • Quality time – whether it is about increasing the time you spend with your child or improving interactions during the time you already do spend with your child, quality time is important. The better able you are to connect with your child, the easier it will be to direct him or her.
  • Improve self-control – trying to increase your child’s self-control will be extremely difficult if you are losing your own. Reacting in an angry or impulsive manner triggers your child’s stress response, and stress can lead to worsening behaviors.
  • Provide explanation – rather than demanding your child follow certain rules or complete certain tasks, try giving him or her a simple explanation. This is one of the most essential proactive parenting skills as it can help your child understand the reason(s) behind the rule or request. Also, by providing explanation you are aiding in the development of his or her personal decision-making skills.
  • Self-care – when parents develop healthy, consistent self-care practices, they tend to have more balance in life. Regular self-care promotes stress management, and allows for higher functioning in all areas of life, including parenting.

If you would like to find out more on how to build a positive relationship with your child and learn more about proactive parenting skills, please contact us at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY 518-218-1188.

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