Top Ten Parenting Tips

1. Provide unconditional acceptance. Say: “I love you but I am unhappy with your behavior.”

2. Focus less on outcome / more on performance. Say: “Putting in the effort is what matters. Keep trying. You'll get there.”

3. Model acceptance of failure. When you become frustrated (e.g., forgetting to buy milk), verbalize that it is unfortunate, and verbalize how you've learned from your error. Say: “Well, it's human to make mistakes. I guess I'll make a list next time.”

4. Use planned ignoring for negative, attention seeking behaviors. Child: “I stink!” Parent response: Ignore (no verbal or non-verbal attention). Child: “I hate this game!” Parent: Ignore (no verbal or non-verbal attention).

5. Focus on the positives. Parents often forget to attend to their child's “good” behaviors. Give lots of praise. Child: “It's hard, but I guess I should just keep on trying.” Parent: "Excellent!" or Parent: "I noticed that your put your clothing in the hamper. Thanks. That's wonderful."

6. Deliver praise immediately. When praising your child, try to do it immediately following the behavior you like. This increases the likelihood that your child with react in the same good way in the future.

7. Develop long-term habits. When children are young (under the age of 12), you have many opportunities to shape habits. For example, if you think your child is not completing homework, allow time on the computer, video game play, or television watching only after schoolwork is finished. "Play after work" is a good habit to instill in children.

8. Avoid punishment. Punishment only stops bad behavior for a short time. It rarely eliminates the bad behavior.

9. Use response costs. A response cost is a procedure in which a child, adolescent, or adult incurs a cost for behaving inappropriately. For example, you may get a speeding ticket for driving above the legal limit. If a young child curses or hits you, a cost of no TV for the night could be incurred.

10. Make the response cost fit the crime. Don't remove all fun activities for two months because your child didn’t put away the dishes away on one evening. And, be sure to follow through. Unclear threats may have little impact on behavior.

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New York, NY 10024

(212) 580-0080