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An incredible number of parents try to imitate their own parents and assume that this was effective parenting at its best. Things have moved on since then. Parenting behaviour needs to be looked at from a fresh angle and very often, we have to reflect on how we are reacting negatively to situations which could be easily improved. I hope to make some of these clear in this article.

Let us take an example of good parenting behaviour. If there is an argument between two children, the parent can intervene and explain what happened and why the child is angry, without getting into a shouting match or without imposing punishment, if the incident is a minor one. In the psychological and parenting literature this is known as the 'explain and reflect' technique. The child realizes that the parent empathises and if this becomes a regular pattern of parenting behaviour, then it will pay off handsome dividends.

Here is another example of positive parenting behaviour. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, then you should take action. That should involve going to the school in a very discreet way so as not to attract attention and make it worse for your child, if this is spotted by the bullying gang. You can always make contact by telephone or a letter.

It is always wise to talk to your child and tell him how to react. It is not a good idea to react aggressively in a physical way as that can only provoke a defensive reaction from the bully. Try to encourage the child not to react at all so that silence is golden or to make an assertive verbal response. If you find that your child is the bully, then you have to explain that every child has the right to an education at school which is free of intimidation or fear. Also, attacking a child aggressively in a physical or verbal way is not acceptable.

Here is an instance of negative parenting behaviour where the parent does not know how to react to tantrums and throws a wobbly herself so she is competing at the same level as the child and no communication or resolution of the problem is possible in those circumstances. The vast majority of parents shout, threaten or give in. It is a no win situation. The child also learns that if the parents have given in, then this type of behaviour seems to work and it will be repeated again and again when he or she wants something!

When we have to deal with tantrums. we have to be fairly relaxed ourselves and learn to stay that way. That is a challenge. There are other ways we can respond positively and these are set out in the site below where a consultant child psychiatrist sets out the techniques for positive parenting behaviour.

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