8 Parenting Skills That Promote the Most Effective Discipline

Skills that teach kids how to manage their behaviors

Kids don’t come with a parenting manual and there’s no course that teaches the necessary skills to become a parent. And parenting requires a multitude of skills.

While no one is ever going to be a perfect parent, some parents have sharper parenting skills than others. But the good news is, everyone can sharpen their skills at any time.

Parenting books, classes and support groups can be excellent resources to help parents sharpen their skills. But the key to becoming better is hard work, dedication, and a commitment to becoming the best parent you can be.

1
Recognize Safety Issues

Father admiring Son's woodwork project
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The most effective parents seem to be able to sniff out danger a mile away. They are well versed in internet safety, the latest safety equipment and they recognize a child predator when they see one.

They find a balance between overprotecting a child and throwing the child to the wolves, however. They allow for natural consequences only when it is safe to do so and teach children skills to make healthy decisions.

2
Provide a Positive Example

Parents who say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” aren't effective. Children learn many of their behaviors by observing their parents.

Modeling appropriate behaviors is an essential parenting skill. Although it can be hard to set time limits on your electronics use and use polite words even when you're angry, it's important to remember that your child is always watching.

3
Set Appropriate Limits

Knowing when to say no and how to stick to your limits is a skill that takes practice. Over time, you'll know how much your child can handle and how to help him cope with disappointment when you won't let him do something he wants to do.

All kids are different and just because a child is a certain age doesn't necessarily mean he's ready for specific privileges. Sometimes, setting limits involves a little trial and error as parents discover how to help a child learn best.

4
Enforce Consequences Consistently

Effective parents don’t just threaten consequences, they follow through with them. Consistency in consequences in a vital part of helping kids to learn to manage their behavior better.

If a child only receives negative consequence for his behavior half the time, the misbehavior isn’t likely to stop. But, clear and consistent consequences will help a child learn.

5
Choose Battles Wisely

Effective discipline requires that parents are able to recognize whether a battle is worth the fight. Sometimes behaviors just aren’t worth addressing if they are likely to lead to a power struggle.

For example, if a 6-year-old wants to wear her rain galoshes on a sunny day, allowing her to do so might make more sense than trying to convince her why her sneakers are a better choice. 

6
Manage Stress Effectively

Parents who manage their stress effectively are better equipped to deal with behavior problems. Stressed out parents are more likely to yell or be inconsistent with discipline.

Stressed out parents are also more likely to use punishment rather than discipline. And it can lead to an unhealthy cycle, as kids are more likely to act worse when a parent is stressed out. Healthy stress management includes self-care and having support from friends and family.

7
Provide Positive Attention

Finding time to give kids daily positive attention can make a big difference in the child’s life. A few minutes of positive attention also makes other discipline strategies much more effective.

It's a skill, however, to create one-on-one time for a child. But, it can make a huge difference to a child's overall well-being.

8
Establish Clear Expectations

When kids don’t understand what is expected of them, it can be impossible for them to meet a parent’s expectations. The most effective parents are able to explain their expectations.

An effective parent just doesn’t tell her ten-year-old to clean his room. Instead, she describes what a clean room looks like by saying, “Pick your clothes up off the floor, make your bed and vacuum the rug.”

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