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All Parents Can Use These Tips

Parenting Tips For All


The following tips and tricks for parents come from the book:
The Parent’s Handbook /   Don Dinkmeyer  /    STEP Program

 Parenting Handout

The three types of parenting:

  • Giving orders – these parents are strict and set many rules. The children are expected to obey rules exactly. Often strict parents reward and punish children to keep them in line. Children who follow these rules to avoid conflict or punishment tend to learn to please parents or be afraid of parent. Children and adults who please others can put others before themselves or not learn how to be confident and stand up for what they need.

  • Giving in – the “giving in” parent usually gives in to what the child wants. They often change the boundaries they set or they don’t set boundaries. These children can grow up being spoiled and having a difficult time learning coping strategies when things don’t go their way

  • Giving choices – when children take part in decisions and make choices, they learn that there are consequences to their choices – both good and bad. This helps children learn to cooperate and be responsible.


  • Giving choices can be very easy and rewarding, while still maintaining control as a parent

    • Example: you may want your child to drink milk, but they choose white, strawberry, or chocolate milk



Four Types of Misbehavior


How You Feel

What You Do

How Child Responds


Bothered, annoyed

Remind, nag, scold

Stops misbehaving briefly, then continues later


Angry, threatened

Punish, fight back, or give in

Continues to misbehave, defy you, or does what you’ve asked slowly or sloppily


Angry, but mostly hurt

Get back at child, punish

Misbehaves even more, trying to get even

Display of Inadequacy

Hopeless, feel like giving up

Give up, agree that the child is helpless

Does not respond or improve


To identify a child’s goal when misbehaving, look at:

  • How you feel when the misbehavior happens

  • What you do about the misbehavior

  • How your child responds to what you do or say


Praise vs. Encouragement

  • Praise is a reward – child must earn it. They may earn it by competing and winning. With excessive praise, children feel they must please other people. They decide this is the only way to feel worthwhile. This maybe common in students with perfectionism

  • Encouragement is a gift – a child does not need to earn it and it can be for all children – it is given as a way of noticing what is special in each child. Encouragement from parents helps children feel valued just for being themselves and who they are. Examples: “you should be proud of yourself!” “Thank you for all your help!”

  • Telling kids “I am so proud of…..” makes them learn to please you

  • Telling kids “you should feel proud of….” teaches them to have confidence and pride in their accomplishments on their own – “you should be so proud of your coloring. You did a great job!”


Communication with Children (and adults)

  • When communicating with children (or adults) “you” messages blame or put down others

    • You made me feel angry because you didn’t help with the dishes

  • “I” messages tell how you are feeling without someone feeling bad or defensive

    • “I feel ________ when you ___________ because ____________ next time I would like you _______.”

    • “I feel sad when you walk away when I am talking because I don’t feel heard. Next time could you please sit with me until I am done?”



Examples of Misbehavior

What parents can do

Ways to encourage positive goals and beliefs


Interrupting, clowning around, forgetting, not doing chores, expecting to be waited on

Don’t give attention on demand


Ignore when possible


Give attention for good behavior

Notice when child helps and say thank you when the child helps


Throwing tantrums, making demands, arguing, being stubborn, doing what parents wants slowly

Refuse to fight or give in


Withdraw from power struggle


Leave room

Give choices


Let child make some decisions


Being rude, saying hurtful things, being violent, or hurtfully refusing to cooperate

Refuse to feel hurt or angry


Don’t hurt the child back


Help child feel loved

Be as fair as you can


Notice and appreciate when the child helps or cooperates

Display of Inadequacy

Quitting easily or not trying

Do not pity


Stop all criticizing


Notice all efforts – not matter how big or small


Don’t give up on child

Focus on child’s strengths and talents


Notice when the child make wise choices


Give lots of encouragement