EXTRACTS FROM THE INTRODUCTION

"Parenting can be tough but never boring. I have always seen it as similar to a long, adventurous journey, during which peoples’ reactions to events and situations along the way make for either a pleasurable or miserable time for all involved".

"The process of parenting has never been a smooth one and probably never will be. It is foolish to blame parents for all of the difficulties and, still worse, to accuse them of moral ineptitude. Raising children goes beyond the responsibilities of parents alone – everyone has a part to play in the process. This is why I think parents need help, support, and understanding rather than condemnation. I hope that this book will play its part in helping parents do a job, which if done well, benefits us all".

"Understanding the basic influences on how children develop into well-functioning adults is the key ingredient to effective parenting".

"Techniques are important, but in my view, are of limited value without an overall sense of parenting direction. This direction will be unique to each child, their parents or carers".

"There is of course, no rulebook or owners manual for parents to consult for any individual child. Instead, parents need constantly to adjust their parenting to permit and encourage the promotion of independence and with it, social and personal maturity".

PRACTICAL ADVICE THROUGHOUT

This is what Dr Thorley suggests about giving praise.

  • "Be clear over what it is you want to praise or encourage. Don’t expect your child to “be a good boy or girl” over the course of a day. Be clear in your own mind what specific behaviour it is you want to encourage and let your child know what it is you want to praise.
  • Be specific about what it is you want to encourage. This means avoiding global praise such as “good girl” or “you have been brilliant today”. Much better would be “Well done for tidying your room today as you promised” or “You have been really great in getting yourself ready for school by 8.00 am today”
  • Be prompt in giving praise and encouragement. Praise and encouragement, like other types of reinforcement, work very much better when delivered immediately after the desired behaviour has occurred. Sometimes this is not practicable but as long as the delay is reasonable from your child’s point of view, the technique will be effective.
  • Be consistent by acknowledging and praising the child every time they display the desired behaviour. Again this is not always possible but generally be on the look out for the behaviour you want to encourage. The need for such vigilance is one reason why it is best not to choose more than two or three target behaviours for any programme of change.
  • Be effective by using appropriate praise and encouragement. Like other types of reinforcement, there are none that will suit all children in all circumstances. You know your child best and you should be able to gauge what types of praise and encouragement are effective for your child. Some young people are OK with gushing over-the-top deliveries of verbal praise whilst others will secretly wish that the ground would open up and swallow them. Remember that in giving praise: deliver it purposefully, directly in front of your child and not for example, in the form of an off-hand remark from the next room."
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