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Published on September 26th, 2014 | 250 Views

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Top tips for becoming a better parent

Earlier this year, Daddy T and I went to a parenting workshop taster class at family club Purple Dragon in Chelsea, and this week we were delighted to be invited to a workshop on positive discipline. We’ve both really enjoyed learning more about how to become better parents from the experts at The Parent Practice, which offers courses and workshops in Chelsea, Kensington, Clapham, Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Kew.

One of the topics we’ve found extremely useful to learn more about has been descriptive praise, so today I’ve asked the London director of The Parent Practice Elaine Halligan to explain the concept for Mummy in the City readers:

The Background
If you’re a parent you will know that children need/crave/seek attention and you will probably have noticed that they don’t really mind what kind of attention they get, so if it’s easier to get negative attention they’ll settle for that. And mostly it is easier to get negative attention as parents forget to notice the good things they do and we jump on the poor behaviour.

The concept
The enlightened parent knows that they should notice and mention the good stuff. But here’s the rub –the wrong kind of praise can really backfire! The central secret to effective positive parenting, and the skill I’m so grateful to have learned, is descriptive praise.

A step-by-step guide
Notice the good stuff. Avoid criticising, labelling and nagging
Mention small examples of good stuff –don’t wait for something significant. “You hung up your hat; so you’ve already done one of the three things you need to do when you come home.”
Don’t use evaluative language, but describe what you see to make it more credible
Don’t focus on results or achievements, but notice effort and strategies employed. “You kept on trying with these sums even though you didn’t find it easy. Your efforts have paid off – five out of six are correct. I wonder if you can work out how to correct the sixth one.”
Never call your child “clever”

READER OFFER: The Parent Practice is offering a 10% discount on all classes and workshops if you mention ‘Mummy in the City’.

Happy parenting!

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