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Top 10 Tips for Effective Parenting

There are a LOT of top 10 lists on the internet.  Here is a nice collection of collective insight learned over the years from phenomenal colleagues and incredible families…….feel free to leave your own tips on the comments section to keep this thread going.


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10. Self-care can do wonders for effective parenting

Recent research has demonstrated that taking time for ourselves can increase our effectiveness as parents.  Often, when our kids are struggling or suffering, it is easy to put aside things that help us care for ourselves, creating parents that are stressed, burned out and ineffective.  Remember to continue engaging in self-care to promote healthy parenting and living.


9. Be transparent when making parenting mistakes

As a result of being human, we should expect that we will make parenting mistakes. When we do, check the pride at the door and be transparent.  There is no weakness in apologizing for not handling something as well as we would like.  Research shows that when parents are transparent with their mistakes and limitations, it can actually help kids develop resiliency to anxiety and depression.


8. Anxious parents do crazy things! 

Anxiety is a difficult emotion for anyone to manage.  Often, when we are anxious, we will do anything to rid ourselves of that feeling.  When we watch our children suffer or we worry about their well-being, parents will do just about anything to feel less anxious about the situation.  Unmanaged anxiety often increases in intensity, so finding support, talking about the situation that is causing the anxiety or engaging in some self-care can help us manage situations with less emotions and more planning. Parental anxiety can lead to child and adolescent anxiety!


7. Don’t cry ‘wolf’ too often

Just like the fable, when parents cry ‘wolf’ all the time, kids tend to tune them out, leaving parents feeling unheard and ineffective when crises occur.  Work toward finding balance when emotions run high and save crying ‘wolf’ until a situation calls for it.

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6. Never worry alone

When we are stressed, it is important to get support and seek consultation from another person.  Whether a parent goes to their significant other, a close friend or another family member, getting support, another person to share their ideas or just an ear to vent to, getting an additional perspective can often reduce our worry and lead to more effective problem solving.


5. Try to avoid making important decisions when emotions are running high

Every parent has made a rash decision because they were anxious, frustrated or angry.  Often, we need to go back and make repairs and apologies for mishandling a situation due to emotions running high.  Most decisions and consequences can be decided upon after having the time to cool down and considering the pros and cons.


4. Establish effective rules, rewards and consequences

Effective contingencies promote developmental capabilities for children and adolescents.  Having well established rules, rewards and consequences can help us not make emotionally-minded decisions and provide a plan for handling positive or negative parenting tasks.


3. Co-parent and communicate whenever possible

For two parent households, the ability to co-parent is a great asset when families take advantage of their ability to communicate their worries, concerns and important decision making processes.


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2.      Remember the ARC model when we need to apologize

Apologizing is an important task to teach our kids. When we do something wrong, apologizing shows that we are human, we can make mistakes and we can make up.  Remember the ARC acronym.  When we make a mistake, we should:

A cknowledge   what we did wrong

R epair                 the situation if possible (can be tough for parents!)

C ommit              to not doing it again (can be tough for kids!)


1.   Remember that you are the original role model

Our kids are watching us!  They watch us in our best and worst moments and we should anticipate that they will emulate our behaviors.  When we text at the dinner table, it becomes acceptable.  When we use compassion and empathy, it becomes part of their vernacular as well.  Try not to underestimate our ability to influence our children’s growth, learning and development.

Top 10 Tips for Effective Parenting

Jim Holsomback

Jim Holsomback (MA; ABT) is the director of clinical outreach for McLean Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and program director for Triad Adolescent Services, located in Lexington, Massachusetts. He has more than 20 years of experience working with adolescents and families struggling with anxiety, depression, substance use disorders and self-injury. Jim has a vast amount of experience teaching and supporting families struggling to identify ways to establish effective family systems as well as presenting in regional and national trainings and conferences on topics such as contingency management, digital and substance dependence and supporting parents of preteens and adolescents struggling with self-harm & suicidality.

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APA Reference
, . (2018). Top 10 Tips for Effective Parenting. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Apr 2018
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