Did you miss the parenting skills section in your postpartum instructions? You’re not the only one. Although it would be great to send your baby home with a “how to” guide, the part of parenting is learning by doing (and sometimes failing). What if instead of trying to find your way by accident, you had a map, like a checklist of essential parenting skills, that would guide you in the right direction.
What are the most important parenting skills?
It shouldn’t surprise that some parenting styles have better outcomes than others. All parents want their children happy and healthy. However, our goals and circumstances can influence our parenting skills. Robert Epstein, a senior researcher psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, attempted to identify which parenting skills were most crucial.
He looked at data from 2,000 parents who took an online test to assess their parenting skills to determine which parenting techniques lead to happy, healthy and successful children. Epstein and his team identified 10 competencies that can predict positive parenting outcomes based on the results. Epstein and his team identified 10 parenting skills, or the Parents’ Ten.
1. Love and affection
Good parenting results are based on loving your children. It includes unconditional love, support and acceptance. This also emphasizes the importance of one-on-one contact with your child.
2. Stress management
It’s important that you manage your stress and teach your child relaxation and stress management techniques.
3. Relationship skills
This area is where you can model and maintain healthy relationships with others (spouse, significant other co-parents, coworkers, family members, etc.).
4. Autonomy and independence
Parents who encourage autonomy and independence in their children show that they value and believe in them.
5. Education and learning
The first step in teaching children how to become lifelong learners is at home. This means teaching your child to value education, model learning, and offering enrichment opportunities.
6. Life skills
This category includes planning for the future and providing for your child’s basic needs. This includes teaching your child to be positive about obstacles and challenges. It helps build resilience and perseverance.
7. Management of behavior
Positive discipline is a method that relies on positive reinforcement. Also it uses consequences and not punishment to help children feel connected, capable and belong. This reduces or eliminates yelling and harsh verbal discipline which one 2014 study found to be harmful for developing adolescents.
Your family will be able to see you living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and healthy nutrition.
You support religious and spiritual development.
Your child’s safety is your responsibility. So this is why you must help your child be safe by setting boundaries and keeping an eye on their friends and activities. It’s also about tactical things, such as babyproofing your house and insisting that they wear helmets when riding a bike. To teach them how to cross the street safely and what sexual consent is.
How can you improve your parenting skills?
Deborah Ann Davis is an educator, parenting skills coach and award-winning author who can help your child feel insecure and uncertain about their parenting abilities. These tips are not exhaustive, but they can help you improve your parenting skills.
- Practice active listening together with your child
- Show love and affection every day
- Offer choices whenever possible
- Teach them how to express themselves
- Make time for your child
- Avoid shouting, shame, and labeling
- assign age-appropriate tasks
- Let your child fail (this teaches children how to be resilient).
- Be consistent and set limits.
- Do not make repeated threats regarding a consequence
- Follow through immediately with the consequences
- Recognize and validate their feelings
- Separate the behavior from the child (a bad behavior is not bad child).
- Respond in a calm and even tone
- Show Unconditional Love
- Model the behavior that you want them to exhibit
- practice positive discipline
- Catch your child doing something positive and make a positive comment.
Assessment of parenting skills
Davis suggests that you rotate instead of focusing on just one aspect of parenting. In addition he suggests that you start with the following assessment. However, it is important to do this without judgment. To see where you are going, you must first know where you are.
Assessing parenting skills:
- Unconditional love
- Reliable security and safety
- stress management techniques
- constant communication
- Tools for building healthy relationships
- Healthy choices are possible
- life skills development
- Education advocacy
- Assess where you are at the moment. Take a look at the list of parenting skills that you have.
- For the current positive impact, rank each one on a scale from 1-10.
- It’s now time to evaluate your child’s needs.
- You can make a second list with all the parenting skills you have already listed.
- Each scale should be ranked on a scale from 1-10. 1 means it is absolutely necessary; 10 = benefits the child. This will help you determine what benefits your child has right now.
Davis states that you now have an objective indicator of your parenting strengths and weaknesses. However, Davis reminds us that we are all different and have different perspectives on life. If a child loves to hug, it is a great way to show unconditional love. However, this method may not be suitable for all children. Davis points out that some children are uncomfortable with physical closeness so unconditional love must be expressed in a way they can relate to. Once you have assessed your current situation, it is time to take steps. Here are Davis’s top tips to improve your parenting skills.
Tips To Improve Parenting skills
- Begin by focusing on the most important skills for your child. You already have the skills you need to help your child succeed, so make sure you continue using them. It can be done every day.
- Next week, choose one item in the middle (adequate) of either list and give it a try. It’s worth trying if it yields the desired results. It’s best to throw it out and find another method that works in your parenting skills zone. Add it to your arsenal when you find one that works.
- After a few weeks of parenting confidently, it is time to choose a neglected parenting skill that your child requires more of. Start with a small step. It doesn’t take much to figure it all out. There are many strategies that you can try. You can seek out an expert in the area to assist you.
- Focus on one parenting skill each week. Let your family know what you are working on so that they can cheer you up, hold you accountable, and acknowledge the positive changes.
Davis suggests that you focus on what is working, increase your middle-of-the-road skills and rotate through the areas that require the most attention.
The Bottom Line
Experts agree that certain parenting skills are associated with positive outcomes for parents and children. It takes patience, time, the right tools and patience to identify those skills and improve them. Good news! The good news is that you probably already have many of these skills. Talk to your child’s psychologist or pediatrician if you have questions about parenting strategies or skills.