Improving your parenting skills

Parents are constantly facing new challenges and learning how to deal with new situations. It’s good to keep looking for ideas and planning ahead. Talk to your friends and families about their experiences or read up on articles or books about parenting issues. There may be community services available with parenting programmes or support groups.

Recognise the warning signs: It is important to be aware of the signs that say you are not coping well or are finding it difficult in your role as a parent. If you notice any of the following, please seek help.

  • Frustration– if you often feel frustrated, as if you are not getting anywhere with your child you may have become caught up in one of the parenting traps mentioned earlier.
  • Embarrassment– if you are embarrassed by your child’s behaviour, or your own it is a sign that you may be having more extreme difficulties than the day to day complications experienced by most families.
  • Loosing your temper– if you loose your temper quickly, you may be experiencing unhelpful amounts of stress, or you may be stuck in a pattern where you feel you have to yell or make threats before your child does as you ask.
  • Feeling hopeless or out of control – if you are feeling overwhelmed by the demands placed on you everyday, or you feel you are helpless and do not have the answers you need. You may well be feeling depressed, which makes it even harder to be calm and consistent in your parenting.

Useful Suggestions

Look for advice

You are the expert when it come to your own child and family, you know them better than anyone. However, if you have any concerns you can learn from a professional who has expert knowledge about child development and managing children’s behaviour. Remember when seeking help there is no such thing as a quick fix. Making changes to your own and your child’s behaviour will take time and will mean changes with all the family. When you seek help, any professional should listen to your concerns, learn about your family, provide some ideas about what you could do, work with you to develop a plan that is tailored to fit your families needs and then follow up on how things are going once you have put the plan in to practice. Be confident that your goals and concerns are important, if there is anything you don’t understand, make sure you ask questions and get further explanations.

Be an informed consumer

When you seek advice look for the credentials and expertise of the person providing the advice. If the information appears to be based on personal experience or opinion alone, it may not be as helpful as advice based on research in to effective parenting. Consider if the advice given is based on any particular reasoning or has any evidence of helping others. Think about if the advice will help you solve the problem you are concerned about.

Set yourself goals

It is up to you to work on your own strengths and weaknesses in order to be the kind of parent you would like to be, set yourself small goals and practice using strategies , particularly in situations you feel you have not managed as well as you could. Look at what you did well and consider either behaviours or words that you could improve upon next time or in a similar situation. Set yourself one or two things to do differently, try them out then review how it went. Keep working on these goals, adapting as you need to and congratulate yourself when you’re successful.