This blog entry full of great parenting ideas is brought to you but Millie VandenBroek, JD MPH, Project Director with Valley Kids Belong based at the Parent Child Resource Center in Derby.
Parenting; it is the most important job many of us will ever have. But children do not show up in our lives with a “how-to” manual. For every parent, there are times when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, or when we wonder how to best respond to difficult behaviors.
There are proven strategies that can increase your parenting skills and confidence, decrease your stress, and create more positive relationship dynamics at home with your children.
The Triple P Positive Parenting System recognizes that there is not just one right way to parent. Every family has unique values, skills and style. Triple P focuses on five areas: ensuring a safe, interesting environment, creating a positive learning environment, using assertive discipline, having realistic expectations, and taking care of oneself as a parent.
Here are the Triple P Top 10 Tips for Parents (modified from http://triplep-america.com/; for more parenting suggestions and resources check out the website.)
1. When your child wants to show you something, stop what you are doing and pay attention to your child. It is important to spend frequent, small amounts of time with your child doing things that you both enjoy.
2. Give your child lots of physical affection – children often like hugs, cuddles, and holding hands.
3. Talk to your child about things he/she is interested in and share aspects of your day with your child.
4. Give your child lots of descriptive praise when they do something that you would like to see more of, e.g., “Thank you for doing what I asked straight away.”
6. Teach your child new skills by first showing the skill yourself, then giving your child opportunities to learn the new skills. For example, speak politely to each other in the home. Then, prompt your child to speak politely (e.g., say “please” or “thank you”), and praise your child for their efforts.
7. Set clear limits on your child’s behavior. Sit down and have a family discussion on the rules in the home. Let your child know what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
8. If your child misbehaves, stay calm and give them a clear instruction to stop misbehaving and tell them what you would like them to do instead (e.g., “Stop fighting; play nicely with each other.”) Praise your child if they stop. If they do not stop, follow through with an appropriate consequence.
9. Have realistic expectations. All children misbehave at times and it is inevitable that you will have some discipline hassles. Trying to be the perfect parent can set you up for frustration and disappointment.
10. Look after yourself. It is difficult to be a calm, related parent if you are stressed, anxious or depressed. Try to find time every week to let yourself unwind or do something that you enjoy.
For parents who are interested in learning more about the Triple P Positive Parenting approach and how to apply these strategies (and more) at home, there are Triple P classes available in Derby, Ansonia, Seymour and Shelton. Registration is open to everyone. Free childcare is provided during the group sessions. These groups are supportive, non-judgmental, free of charge, and a terrific way to experience positive results at home.
To learn more about Triple P and sign up for an upcoming group, please call (203) 893-0402 or TripleP@lnvpcrc.org to reach the Valley Kids Belong Program Coordinator. Triple P Groups are coordinated through the Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Child Resource Center and made possible with the support of the Connecticut Health Foundation.