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Having accurate information about raising young children and appropriate expectations for their behavior help parents better understand and care for children. It is important that information is available when parents need it, that is, when it is relevant to their life and their child. Parents whose own families used harsh discipline techniques or parents of children with developmental or behavior problems or special needs require extra support in building this protective factor.

No parent knows everything about children or is a “perfect parent.” An understanding of parenting strategies and child development helps parents understand what to expect and how to provide what children need during each developmental phase. All parents can benefit from increasing their knowledge and understanding of child development.

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Research has also shown that parental behaviors that forge secure emotional attachments help young children learn to manage stress. Secure attachments can also help offset some of the damage experienced by highly stressed children as a result of trauma. In contrast, children who experience insecure attachments display fear, distrust, anxiety or distress and are at risk for long-term adverse effects on the brain.

What parents do and how they treat children is often a reflection of the way they were parented. Acquiring new knowledge about parenting and child development enables parents to critically evaluate the impact of their own experiences on their development and their current parenting practices, and to consider that there may be more effective ways of guiding and responding to their children.

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Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Action Ideas:

Questions to Ask:

  • What does your child do best and what do you like about your child?
  • What do you like about parenting? What do you find challenging about parenting?
  • How have you learned about parenting skills?
  • How do you continue to learn about your child’s development?
  • What has helped you learn about yourself as a parent?
  • Are there things that worry you about your child’s development & behavior?
  • Have other people expressed concern about your child?

What to look for:

  1. Do you encourage & understand healthy development?
  2. Are you able to respond to & manage your child’s behavior?
  3. Do you use age-appropriate parenting skills in your expectations, discipline, communication, protection and supervision of your child?
  4. Does your child respond positively to your approaches?
  5. Do you understand and value your parenting role?
  6. Do you have a reliable source of parenting information when issues come up?
  7. Do you know how to encourage social-emotional development and apply a range of age-appropriate disciplinary strategies?
  8. Are you involved in your child’s school?
  9. Do you understand your child’s specific needs?

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Activities you can do:

*What are your hopes and dreams for your child(ren)? What are your worries about ensuring those hopes and dreams are met? What are you doing today (or want to do) to help achieve those hopes and dreams.

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