Positive Parenting Works!
Researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a meta-analysis of the current research literature on parent training programs, in order to identify what elements of the programs are associated with better parent and child outcomes. The findings showed that teaching the following parenting skills had the greatest impact: emotional communication, positive parent-child interaction, consistent responses to child behavior, and correct use of timeout.
The parts of parent-training programs found to have the least useful effects? Teaching parents how to problem solve about children’s behaviour, and teaching parents how to promote children’s academic, cognitive, and social skills.
What can we as parents learn from this? Focusing on improving our communication with our kids, aiming to make more of our interactions with our kids positive (like devoting some time for just having fun together), and being consistent in how we respond to them, are all things that are going to help develop those traits we hope our kids will have: resilience, strong emotional regulation, and good mental health. If you’re struggling in some of these areas, or just don’t know how to turn this research into practical strategies in your own home, call me. Let’s work on a plan together.
The full report, entitled Parent Training Programs: Insight for Practitioners (2009), is available here.