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Parenting Skills: Fraud or Science?

Parenting has been one of the most daunting experiences in an adult’s life. The majority of parents get into it without any clue on how to handle their kids at various levels of their growth and development. Some do what they believe is the best for their kids, others copy-paste parenting methods from their peers while some rely on what books, journals and social media say about ideal parenting. While some parents believe that there’s no standard way of bringing out the best from kids, there are a series of study that indicates specific good child behaviors which result from particular parenting skills.

Parenting skills are different, with some being innovative and gentle while others are rigid and tyrant. As a parent, you might blend your tactics from both sides. Furthermore, you should bear in mind that every child is different and his/her moods and perceptions change as they grow and depending on different situations. As such, you might have to change and/or enhance your parenting skills regularly or occasionally, depending on the age of your child and the situations they deal with. On that note, let’s have a look at some of the parental skills that scientists have found to contribute positively to a child’s thinking and behaviors and how they influence.

  1. Guiding children without micromanaging them

There are three major types of parenting styles that parents use on their kids: permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. Permissive is a style whereby a parent is often extremely lenient and accommodates his/her kid’s unreasonable demands. As such, the parent fails to set consistent boundaries to restrain their kids from adopting undesirable behaviors or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner. According to Diana Baumrind, a prominent psychologist, among other researchers, children raised through this parenting style tend to become “spoilt”.

On the other hand, an authoritarian parent is extremely strict, inflexible and harsh and often forces his/her child to do some things. The same research by Diana Baumrind shows that children brought up by authoritarian parents tend to be resentful, and rebellious later in their lives. These children are also less independent and less innovative.

Finally, an authoritative parent is gentle and affectionate to his/her child but without being too lenient. Although authoritative parents set boundaries for their kids, they can negotiate where necessary. Supporting the findings of her research, Diana Baumrind authoritative is the best parenting style and the majority of kids raised through this style lead happy and successful lives.

  1. Temper management

Let’s face it; sometimes can really drive you to the wall. Sometimes, a parent can feel like they’re going nuts as they try to control their rebellious child. Anger is part of any human, but what you as a parent do when angry influences your child’s behavior. A new study by Ming-Te Wang, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, shows that children raised by parents who shout, yell or even swear at them tend to develop behaviors problems, particularly acting opposite to what their parents want them to do. The study goes ahead to insinuate that the kids develop a hostile view towards their relationship with their parent and experience low self-esteem and low self-control.

Instead of controlling the behaviors of their children, Wang recommends parents to understand the kids’ perspectives and feelings and then get through to them using logical reasoning.

  1. Assigning kids with household chores

In as much as your kid is busy at school, it is important to assign him or her with some household chores after school once in a while or regularly. According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, children who perform household chores lead happier lives later on as compared to those who don’t. Such responsibilities help kids to learn crucial life lessons as far as hard work, duty and teamwork are concerned. Therefore, the majority of kids who are raised up doing the chores as family’s routine and culture grow to become well-adjusted adults.


  1. Accepting shyness instead of working against it

While some children can address a massive crowd of people confidently and bravely, others experience behavioral inhibition, which is characterized by shyness and extreme caution while dealing with new circumstances. Sandee McClowry, a New York University’s psychologist, among other researchers, claim that kids with behavioral inhibition have a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders as compared to other children. Therefore, parents are advised to help such kids overcome the shyness in a manner that doesn’t worsen their situation. McClowry says that working against the shyness will do more harm than good to a child. The best way out is to work with the shyness as it might be part of a child character, thus difficult to change.

  1. Training kids to be optimistic

Even if your child is currently just a baby, at some point, they’ll have to face some challenges and make decisions independently. As such, you need to train them on the best ways to approach issues. In her research to establish the relationship between a person’s mindset and success, Carol Dweck found out that people who are positive about their challenges and obstacles have increased chances of becoming successful as compared to negative people.

She further alludes that pessimists and the optimistic people acquire their respective attitudes in their childhood and adolescence stages. Therefore, good parenting should involve training children to face challenges positively to increase their chances of becoming successful people later in their lives. Besides, parents should lead by example as children mostly learn from their parents.

Although there’s a definite way of raising kids, having the right parental skills like the ones mentioned here has been scientifically proven to mold a child’s behavior positively. Parenting skills are not fraud, but science. If you are a parent and would like the best from your child, you need to refer to the scientifically recommended ways of raising children.