The parents of children who live with mental illness, developmental delays, or other conditions must provide a unique level of love and care to their kids. In addition to the typical responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood, these parents often spend extra time helping children function and flourish.
At the same time, the symptoms of a condition often create additional stress in the home, and parents may experience frustration and exhaustion as they encounter the same behaviors day after day. These negative emotions can affect the parent-child relationship negatively, even when parents recognize that children cannot control their reactions.
One tool that can help parents in this situation to manage their own stress is parental training. Parental training teaches parents healthy and reassuring ways to set limits with their children and reinforce positive behaviors. The techniques learned in parental training courses are particularly effective when applied with younger children. Parental training techniques are also well-supported by research.
Why Seek Parental Training
At the heart of parental training rests the idea that how a parent interacts with a child reinforces that child’s behavior. For example, if you tell your daughter she can go to the zoo after cleaning her room, taking her to the zoo before the room is clean reinforces in her mind that she doesn’t have to obey to receive a reward.
These unintended reinforcements often happen when children react disruptively. For example, parents sometimes give into children’s demands when they throw a fit in order to resolve the situation. Although the parent didn’t intend it to, this action teaches a children they can get what they want by throwing a fit.
Because parents love their children, they often find it difficult to break the cycle of giving in when children react disruptively. Parental training is a research-supported method for communicating clearly, calmly, and effectively with children, both when they become disruptive and when they are well-behaved.
What Parental Training Teaches
Parental training teaches parents skills for interacting with their children, particularly when children react to stressors in their environment in disruptive ways. These disruptions can take many forms, including:
- Throwing a tantrum
- Exhibiting aggression
- Refusing to follow directions
- Becoming hyperactive
In a parental training course, parents learn ways to avoid having the disruption escalate (such as into a louder tantrum or more hyperactive behavior). This system of responding to undesired behaviors ultimately discourages the child from becoming disruptive and improves parent-child relationships.
If you’re interested in learning more about parental training, call NeuroHealth Arlington Heights at (847) 754-9343.