Effective Parenting : Parent training and developing more effective parents

When children's misbehavior or delinquency creates problems, it's not enough to deal with the children alone. Mental health professionals recommend behavioral parent training as well, reports the April issue of Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Behavioral parent training teaches parents to substitute systematic for arbitrary discipline. Parents learn how to set rules and define the consequences for disobeying them. They also learn how to negotiate with older children, how to follow through on warnings, and how to identify early signs of trouble and talk to children about these problems.

It is particularly important that parents also respond to good behavior with praise and encouragement, says the Harvard Mental Health Letter. Parents are taught to reward a child's behavior one action at a time. They learn to point out what the child is doing right before discussing what needs improvement.

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