Family Therapist Parenting Article

Family Therapist Parenting Article

1 | Know that kids will act like kids.

  • Often parents forget that the way their child learns is by making mistakes.
  • Behaving immaturely is also to be expected.
  • The part of the brain responsible for reason, logic and impulse control (the PFC or prefrontal cortex) is not fully developed until a person reaches their early 20’s.
  • Learn to guide your child when they struggle.

2 | Set limits/boundaries with respect, not criticism.

  • Boundaries are necessary for children so they do not feel anxious and out of control.
  • Limits can be delivered in the form of criticism and shaming, or they can be communicated in a firm but respectful way.
  • Think about how you appreciate being spoken to at work & at home, and use that as your guide.

3 | Be aware of developmental stages.

  • Children go through a number of transitions to become adults.
  • Being aware of these puts behaviour into context, and increases your likelihood of reacting to them accurately and supportively.

4 | Know your child’s temperament and personality.

5 | Give your child plenty of unstructured play time.

6 | Know when to talk and when to listen.

  • Kids learn to be pretty good problem solvers if we let them.
  • Because we love them and want them to succeed, it’s difficult sometimes not to jump in and solve problems, including by lecture or criticism.
    • On occasion, try not speaking and waiting it out, to see if the child can successfully reach their own conclusions.
    • Being heard is powerfully therapeutic, and it allows us to think things through and reach a solution
    • Remember: children are people and want and need to be heard, and feel understood. Just like all human beings.

7 | Have an identity outside of your child.

  • Nurture the friendships, passions and hobbies that make you who you are as a person.
  • Doing this can seem difficult at first, as our protective anxieties try to convince us our children can’t be without us, and also that we can’t be without them. Avoid saddling your child with the task of meeting all of your emotional needs.

8 | Understand that actions speak louder than words.


  • The way you interact with your child and live your life will be your child’s greatest teacher.
  • Children are observant and are more intuitive than they are given credit for.
    • Keeping this in mind will not only teach our child how to behave, but it will also make us a better parent and person.

9 | Recognize that connection, fun, and creativity are the best ways to promote positive behaviors and a cooperative attitude.

  • Fear and control are not effective long-term teachers for our children, despite appearing effective in the short-term (through the child being compliant/feeling dominated), but the question is: does this equip the child with values and effective problem-solving skills?
  • If our child feels valued as a person based on our interactions with them, they will naturally learn to value others and have the confidence to make good choices.

10 | Set the overall goal of shaping a child’s heart and not just their behavior.

  • We often get the impression from the world around us that the goal of parenting is to produce a compliant, well-behaved child. While these are certainly desirable qualities for most parents, they are not core qualities that contribute to a happy and healthy human.
  • Helping our children understand the importance of their thoughts and emotions gives them coping and relationship skills. Skills that will protect and guide them throughout their lives.


Changing our parenting habits and styles is never easy, but it is truly in the best interest of our child.

Source: Pruess, 2016.


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