Studio 5 contributor and therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW, shares important parenting skills you might be overlooking.
Good Parenting is not just about you treat your child. I recently stumbled across a recent blog on PsychologyToday.com highlighting surprising research — two out of the three most effective parenting skills don’t directly involve interacting with your kids. In the recent issue of Scientific American Mind (Nov./Dec. 2010)“What Makes A Good Parent?” psychologist and researcher by Robert Epstein, PhD found that while showing love and affection to your child is the most important parenting skills, how you treat yourself and how your interact with your spouse or co-parent rank second and third. While real parents are quite good at love and affection, they report poorer scores on areas stress management and adult relationship skills.
These results aren’t surprising to me and coincide with my professional journey. Interestingly, all of my early training was in play therapy working directly with children, but within a few years I realized that the best thing I could do for children was to help support their mother’s emotional well-being and to support their parent’s in developing healthy relationships. In my practice I frequently see well-meaning parents who don’t take good care of themselves and their adult relationships and their children suffer. A common dynamic I often see in my practice working with divorced families is parents speaking poorly of their child’s other parent or putting the child in the middle of conflict between co-parents, with devastating impact on their child.
Improve your parenting by developing skill these 2 areas:
Have realistic expectations for yourself
Take a “time out” when you’re overwhelmed
Healthy Adult Relationship
Talk positively about other parent
Model affection & communication
Keep child out of middle
The Parents’ 10 Competencies
1-Love and affection – respect & support, physical affection, quality time together
2-Stress management – reduce stress, practice relaxation, positive outlook
3-Relationships skills – model good relationship with spouse/significant other, co-parent
4-Autonomy & Independence – treat child with respect and encourage self-sufficiency
5-Education & learning – promote learning and provide opportunities
6-Life skills – provide financially, plan for future
7-Beahvior management – use positive reinforcement and punish as last resort
8-Health – model healthy lifestyle
9-Religion – support child’s spiritual and religious development
10-Safety – protect child & have awareness of child’s activities
Free Parenting Test
Test your competency in the “Parents 10” skill areas. Take this free online test :
Pat yourself on the back for your strengths and then make a plan to improve in the areas with lower scores. According to Dr. Epstien, good parenting skills can be learned and parenting classes can be an effective way to improve your parenting and help raise a happier, healthier child.
Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, is a licensed therapist and owner & director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Visit www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com for individual, couple, family, & group counseling and support services designed to strengthen you and your family. We treat mental health and relationship problems in children, adolescents, and adults. For additional self-improvement & relationship resources connect with me at www.juliehanks.com.