February 2012

Your Parenting/Leadership TOOLKIT… [since 2003]
10 Tips science has for us 2 help us raise happy kids

– informed parents = informed children –

I was sitting in a meeting discussing the Proud2ME® School programme with a vice principal in his office the other day when the school councillor walked in. I was just saying to the vice-principal that parenting is not a science as I believe that too many parents shy away from the responsibilities because they think they are not up to this so called “parenting science”. The school councillor very abrubtly said to me that she does not agree with me at all…”Parenting IS a science”. Well….

There are many ways to raise happy, well-adjusted kids, IT IS NOT A SCIENCE but science has a few tips for making sure they turn out okay. From keeping it fun to letting them leave the nest, here are 10 research-based tips for good parenting. I encourage you to share with your partner & children.

1. Laugh out LOUD: Joking helps: Lighten up! Joking with your child helps set them up for social success, according to research PRESENTED at the Economic and Social Research Councils’ Festival of Social Science 2011. When parents joke and pretend, it gives young kids the tools to think creatively, make friends and manage stress. But remember, there is a big difference between teasing and joking. So feel free to play court jester — your kids will thank you later.

2. Be positive: No SURPRISE here: Parents who express negative emotions toward their children or handle them roughly are likely to find themselves with aggressive kids. Negative parents = negative kids. That’s bad news, because behavioral aggression at age 5 is linked to aggression later in life, even toward future romantic partners. So if you find yourself in a cycle of angry parent, angry child, angrier parent, try to break free. It will ease your problems in the long run.

3. Foster Self Compassion: Parental guilt is its own industry, but avoid the undertow! Research suggests that self-compassion is a very important life skill, helping people stay resilient in the face of challenges. Self-compassion is made up of mindfulness, the ability to manage thoughts and emotions without being carried away or repressing them, common humanity, or empathy with the suffering of others, and self-kindness, a recognition of your own suffering and a commitment to solving the problem. Parents can use self-compassion when coping with difficulties in child-rearing. In doing so, they can set an example for their kids.

4. Let go: When the kids fly the nest, research suggests it’s best to let them go. College freshmen with hovering, interfering “helicopter” parents are more likely to be anxious, self-conscious and less open to new experiences than their counterparts with more relaxed moms and dads. That doesn’t mean you should kick your offspring to the curb at 18, but if you find yourself calling your child’s professors to argue about his grades, it may be time to step back.

5. Nurture you marriage: If you’re a parent with a significant other, don’t let your relationship with your spouse or partner fall by the wayside when baby is born. Parents who suffer from marital instability, such as contemplating divorce, may set their children up for behavioural troubles in later life, according to research published in May 2011 in the journal Child Development. It may be that troubled houses are stressful houses, and that stress is the cause of the sleep & behavioural problems.

6. Tend to your mental health: If you suspect you might be depressed, get help — for your own sake and your child’s. Research suggests that depressed moms & dads struggle with parenting and even show muted responses to their babies’ cries compared with healthy parents. Depressed parents with negative parenting styles may also contribute to their children’s stress, according to 2011 research finding that kids raised by these parents are more easily stressed out by the preschool years. The findings seem glum, but researchers say they’re hopeful, because positive parenting can be taught even when mom or dad are struggling with their own mental health.

7. Moms, be good to your sons: A close relationship with their mothers can help keep boys from acting out, according to a 2010 study. A warm, attached relationship with mom seems important in preventing behavior problems in sons, even more so than in girls, the research found. The findings, published in the journal Child Development, highlight the need for “secure attachment” between kids and their parents, a style in which kids can go to mom and dad as a comforting “secure base” before venturing into the wider world.

The mommy bond may also make for better romance later in life, as another study reported in 2010 showed that a close relationship with one`s mother in early adolescence (by age 14) was associated with better-quality romantic relationships as young adults. “Parents` relationships with their children are extremely important and that`s how we develop our ability to have successful relationships as adults, our parents are our models,” study researcher Constance Gager, of Montclair State University in New Jersey, said at the time. “So if kids are not feeling close with their parents then they`re probably not going to model the positive aspects of that relationship when they reach adulthood.”

8. Don`t sweat the little sassing: Teens who talk back to their parents may be exasperating, but their argumentativeness is linked to a stronger rejection of peer pressure outside the home. In other words, autonomy at home fosters autonomy among friends.

Don’t worry, though: The study doesn’t suggest that kids should have adversarial relationships with their parents. In fact, a secure bond between teens and mothers is also linked to less bowing to peer pressure. Teens need to practice standing up for themselves, the researchers reported, but they also need support from their parents.

9. Do not aim for perfection: Nobody’s perfect, so don’t torture yourself with an impossibly high bar for parenting success. According to a study published in 2011 in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, new parents who believe society expects perfection from them are more stressed and less confident in their parenting skills. And no wonder! Make an effort to ignore the pressure, and you may find yourself a more relaxed parent.

10. Know your kids: Everyone thinks they know the best way to raise a child. But it turns out that parenting is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, kids whose parents tailor their parenting style to the child’s personality have half the anxiety and depression of their peers with more rigid parents, according to a study published in August 2011 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. It turns out that some kids, especially those with trouble regulating their emotions, might need a little extra help from Mom or Dad. But parents can inadvertently hurt well-adjusted kids with too much hovering. The key, said lead researcher Liliana Lengua of the University of Washington, is stepping in with support based on a child’s cues.


Your feedback regarding my parenting toolkits [newsletters] and website is very important to me. Thank you so much! Please do click HERE if you would like to e-mail me some feedback.


“Dear Adéle. These are sound, worthwhile tips. We are now on the 9th week of school and I really need these! Thanks, Adele.” Catherine – Australia

“Hi Adele. I find myself waiting and checking my emails for your toolkit. It inspires me and help me to be the parent I want to be for my kids. I still make mistakes but at least your guidelines help so much. Thank you. Never give up.” Frannie

“Hi Adéle. A particularly useful toolkit this month, thank you! Perfect timing.” Leah

Go loud, go PROUD, go be HAPPY parents!




1 comment

  1. Lauren Jansen - March 19, 2015 08:09

    Thank you for the great tips!