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Learning About Effective Parenting

What can you do to be an effective parent?

Parenting can be hard. Trying to figure out how to do it well can be hard too. But if you're thinking about how to be a good parent, or ways you can get better at it, you're already on the right path.

A key part of effective parenting is acting as your child's guide and role model. This means remembering that children don't need you to be their friend. They will benefit more from love, calm guidance, and clear boundaries. Here are some tips.

  • Set clear rules and expectations.

    Rules and discipline are important. Discipline doesn't mean punishment. It means setting boundaries. When kids know what the rules are, it can help them feel safe. It also can help kids learn self-control and prepare them to do well in social settings outside your home.

  • Consider their age and developmental stage.

    Understand how your child thinks and feels at every developmental stage. When you think about the world from your child’s point of view and consider their thoughts and feelings, you’re more likely to respond to situations in a way that teaches.

  • Check for understanding.

    After you've set clear limits and rules, make sure your child understands them. What is clear to you may not be as easy to understand for your child. So take the time to check. For example, you could ask your child to explain one of your rules back to you in their own words. Or you could ask something like, "What does it mean to you to treat your teacher with respect? Can you give me an example of how you could do that?"

  • Learn where to be flexible.

    You might find that giving your child options about how to meet some expectations works better than a "my way or the highway" approach. For example, you may expect your child to do the dishes after an evening meal. You can be firm about this rule. But you might be able to be flexible about when the cleaning happens, as long as it happens before bedtime.

  • Encourage good behaviour.

    Look for chances to compliment behaviour you want to see, instead of only criticizing the behaviour you don't. Say thank you for helpful acts, and tell your child you're proud of good behaviours to encourage more of them.

  • Remember that it's okay to say no.

    You know what your child needs to be safe, happy, and healthy. If your child wants to have something, do something, or go somewhere that you don't agree with, say no. If it's hard for you to say no, spend some time thinking about why. What might make it easier?

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