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Methods Used in Teaching Parenting Skills

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

It would help if kids came with an app that automatically downloaded everything you need to be a parent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way. You can, however, find the help you need from parenting professionals who provide valuable information on everything from basic child care to nutrition to methods of discipline. Explore various methods used in teaching parenting skills so you can, in turn, choose one that will help you teach your child self-control and appropriate behavior.

Classroom Instruction

Many parents choose to take parenting classes in a classroom with other parents. In such a class, receive specific information regarding stages of development, how to care for and teach your child, methods of discipline and different types of parenting, such as positive discipline, logical consequences and attachment parenting. You may watch videos that demonstrate various techniques and allow you to observe children as they respond to the techniques. You could discuss classroom materials with other parents, share tips and ask questions of the instructor. Your teacher could supply handouts and might give you assignments to complete outside of class.


If you don’t have time to take a formal class or don’t have access to a parenting class, you could learn parenting skills by reading self-help parenting books, watching videos or researching information on the Internet. Solo options don’t provide much opportunity for interaction with other parents or parenting professionals, so if this is your primary method, you could find yourself overwhelmed with conflicting answers and suggestions from various styles of parenting. The primary method of feedback will be the responses of your child, which could leave you at a loss if the feedback is negative.


Many parents benefit from a parenting model. Your model may be your parents or in-laws, siblings or friends with children. Modeling allows you to observe the skills in use and gives you an opportunity to ask questions of your parenting model. If your child is a part of a play group, the other mothers in the play group might model the skills you need and provide answers to your questions. With so many diverse parenting models in your social and familial circle, you can explore different types of parenting styles and find the one -- or combination of styles -- that work best for you and your child. Don't forget that you are also a model for your own children, who you teach by example skills such as patience, conflict resolution, consistency, clear communication and moral limits.

Professional Assistance

If your child has issues you don’t know how to deal with, such as throwing tantrums or reluctance to do homework, you could seek the services of a child psychologist, pediatrician, parenting expert or teacher to explain which options best suit your needs to deal with the issue. These parenting experts may observe your interaction at home, in a consultation session, or watch how your child interacts with those at daycare or school. This type of training focuses on specific issues; while it might not provide the skills you need for day-to-day parenting, this kind of input can be valuable for specific situations.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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