Psychological Treatment Services

Parenting Skills

It has been said that parenting is the most difficult job, and the most important responsibility, you will ever have in your life. Unfortunately, you receive little or no formal training in parenting, yet you are constantly criticized for every mistake you make.  Usually, we either do what our parents did, or we do the exact opposite, depending on our opinion of the parenting we received.

No one provides us with clear guidelines about the right way to parent. There are no classes in school, and childbirth preparation focuses almost entirely on the birth process. After having a child, hospitals provide some basic instruction on the care and feeding of a newborn, but no one teaches you how to nurture, support, guide and educate your child to become a responsible adult. Most of us muddle along on our own. Psychologists have studied what works, and what doesn't work. Parenting skills training passes this knowledge onto parents.

Developmental psychologists have done research on different parenting styles, the effects of discipline, and how children respond to various people and life events, such as divorce, stepparents, abuse, sibling conflict, poor academic success, bullying, or parental substance abuse. This knowledge has allowed psychologists to develop effective treatment interventions for children and families in crisis. But, it also provides a basis for teaching parents how to manage their children's behavior effectively, and how to intervene with specific child and adolescent problems. Psychologists can help parents understand what children need from adults to foster their emotional and intellectual development.

Psychologists provide parenting skills training either within the framework of family therapy, or as part of individual psychotherapy, to help parents manage specific behavioral problems or situations.  Parenting skills training can also focus on general parent-child interactions. Often, the goal is to help parents avoid ineffective parenting responses, by learning effective ways of managing their children's behavior. Parents can also be taught strategies for managing children with special needs, such as ADHD children, children adjusting to divorce, and children diagnosed with specific psychological or behavioral problems.

Parenting skills training is not just for parents who have been accused of being "bad parents" and it is not just for parents of children with serious psychological problems.  Parenting skills training is worthwhile for every parent, because it can help you do the best job possible in raising your children, because it can improve your confidence in your parenting ability, and because this is the most important job you will ever have.


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