Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Parenting Program Teaches Basics

The NEW Confident Parenting Program from the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring, of which I am the primary author, provides parents with the basic information about about how children learn and how to use this knowledge in raising healthy, happy and achieving young people.

The program clarifies the two major ways children learn:

(1) They learn from observing the models they are exposed to, including parents, sibling and peers, and, especially, through what happens to these models when they act the way they do. The five ways that the actions of these models influence children are indicated.

(2) The program also clarifies that children learn from the consequences of their own behavior, from what happens to them after they act the way they do. A wide range of both positive and corrective consequences are shown, and these influence how likely they are to repeat the behaviors they now engage in.

These basics are supplemented by helping parents appreciate the important distinction between "learning" and "performing" new behaviors, a distinction that helps to explain why just telling children how to behave is of minimal effectiveness.

The program builds on these basic understandings to then teach parents a series of very effective and easy-to-learn parenting skills and strategies to use immediately with their children. These include how to promote positive relations with children through effective praising, praising that is specific to the actions that parents would like to see more of. It includes learning how to set limits and discipline children without having to hit or yell. Parents are oriented to role play the skills before using them with their children, and further taught how they can determine if the skills are getting the job done.

Other features of the new program have to do with helping parents cope with their children's use of cell phones, the Internet and social networking websites, as well as what parents can do to help their children resist peer pressures to use drugs.

Altogether the NEW Confident Parenting is an extraordinarily helpful and practical program that every parent should have an opportunity to learn from and use.

The Parents Handbook of the program can be obtained by clicking here.

A Leader's Kit for those who would like to teach and share the program with other parents is available by clicking here.

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