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Parenting Approaches

  • Parenting Styles Continuum
  • Developmental Affirations
  • Family Rules
  • Parent by Personality Types
  • Challenging Temperaments
  • Highly Sensitive Children
  • Explosive Children
  • Trauma and Parenting
  • ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Sensory Integration
  • Autism and Aspergers
  • Early Childhood
  • Teens
  • Chores
  • House Rules

I have been a child and family therapist for over 20 years.  It didn't occur to me right off the bat how much choosing this profession would involve coaching parenting strategies.  So I've done my share of research over the years.  Here's what I found:


Parenting is on a continuum.  This is best described by Jean Illsley Clarke (author of Self-Esteem a Family Affair), in Growing Up Again.  Parenting styles range from overly strict to overly permissive.  Probably moderation is the healthiest.  In the middle of the continuum, you should have a set of Non-Negotiable Rules and a set of Negotiable Rules.

Rigidity * Criticism * Non-negotiable Rules * Negotiable Rules * Marshmallow * Abandonment
click pic for full size continuum, print landscape

print link is down
Jean also created a set of developmental affirmations (printable) for each stage of your children in their development.  You can also be sure to give yourself the same healthy messages as she suggests we relive each stage of our own childhood with our children.

Strict Parenting disadvantages

Often one parent is more towards the strict end of the continuum and offers the structure, and the other parents is more towards the permissive end of the continuum and offers the nurturing.  It can be healthy to swap styles or roles.  The person who sets the limits and consequences deserves to also have fun and silly time.  The parent who soothes the boo boos and gives in due to empathy also needs to have the ability to be firm when called for. 

are you a marshmallow parent?

Parents will bring what they learned from how they were parented, generally repeating what they think worked consciously, but often repeating what didn't work subconsciously. 


Here's a form to sit down with your spouse and your children and clarify family rules, values, and expectations, including Negotiable and Non-Negotiable Rules:
 Family Rules


There is also no single right way to parent if you consider that each child is different and so is each parent.  There is a lot to be said for understanding your child's temperament and the needs that suggests.  It is also highly valuable to understand your own personality and how that contributes to your parenting style.  To these ends, I love the book based on (MBTI) personality typology called Nurture by Nature.

Also visit my blog on Humor Me :) Temperamental Coaching

Dr. Greenspan writes about several challenging temperaments in his book, The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five "Difficult" Types of Children.  He explains what it feels like to be a defiant child, or a child with ADHD, and how parents typically respond in ways that don't work, and the counterintuitive strategies to try instead (summarized here).

One temperament he includes is the highly sensitive child.  This topic has it's own book by the expert on being Highly Sensitive, Elaine Aaron, called The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them.


Dr. Ross Greene presents a model of parenting to help children with low frustration tolerance and difficulty shifting agendas, in The Explosive Child. Children do well if they can. They don’t choose to be explosive and non-compliant. Rather they have a delay in developing skills critical to being flexible and tolerating frustration or difficulty applying these skills.

Explosive Child handouts summarizing book: The Explosive Child, by Dr. Greene.
  Videos on Collaborative Problem Solving.


In Beyond Consequences and Control Vol. I and II, by Heather Forbes LCSW, parents and guardians will learn about the body/mind connection as it relates to stress for children, particularly for any children that have experienced trauma. They will be introduced to parenting strategies which are loving and effective, rather than causing further stress to both child and caregiver.

Parenting Alternatives to Control


Dr. Russell Barkley is a leading authority in Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD or Disruptive Behavior Disorder. Books by Russell Barkley, PhD: Your Defiant Child Your Defiant Teen and Taking Charge of ADHD. Videos of Dr. Barkeley



Children with sensory integration concerns are discussed in the Out of Sync Child and related books by Carol Kranowitz.


Children diagnosed by a specialist to be on the autism and Asperger's spectrum often require sensory integration work from an occupational therapist, like available at Kidsense, and behavioral specialists available through the schools or through developmental disabilities services (MCCFL 541-386-2620).  Our understanding of the autistic world is greatly increased by autistic authors themselves, such as Temple Grandin and Donna Williams.


Positive Discipline Series by Jane Nelson
Positive Discipline, Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful (Positive Discipline Library), Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems (Positive Discipline Library)

Touchpoints 3 to 6, by T. Berry Brazelton

Series by Louise Bates Ames:
Your One Year Old
Your Two Year Old
Your Three Year Old
Your Four Year Old
Your Five Year Old
Your Six Year Old
Your Seven Year Old
Your Eight Year Old
Your Nine Year Old
Your Ten to Fourteen Year Old


A lot of what determines how your parenting of your teen will go, is how you parented them as toddlers.  Once again, they are asserting their independence.  We want them to increase in responsibility, so we can give them increased earned privileges.  If we have not had a set of developmentally progressive chores and expectations, it makes it hard to start enforcing limits at this stage. 

Here's a sample listing of Age Appropriate Chores
Here's a format for having Family Meetings with your teens

Here are some links to a program for setting up rules and consequences for your teens:

What is the Purpose of a Home Rules Contract?
Who is Included in a Home Rules Contract?
Who Should Write the Home Rules Contract?
What are Appropriate Consequences?
Steps to Creating a Home Rules Contract

Examples of Items that might be Included in a Home Rules Contract

Sample Contract
Print a Blank Home Rules Contract
Order FREE Literature on Parenting Difficult Teens

Other titles:
7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Positive Discipline for Teenagers

Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens by Laura S Kastner Ph.D. and Jennifer Wyatt 



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