Parental Influence: What Can I Control?

It would be so nice to be able to flip a switch to quiet a crying baby to sleep or to buffer the sharp words of a teenager. Parenting comes with the realization that there are many things we cannot control in our children. We do not control our children’s eating, sleeping, or elimination. Parents cannot control their children’s thoughts, words, or behaviors. With that said, parents do have a lot of influence over all of these things. What we parent educators have learned is positive influence fosters self-control. By allowing children to make mistakes, and foregoing the heavy parent hand, we teach children that they can learn from their mistakes.

There are many strategies that parents can use to exert their influence, resulting in children internalizing healthy habits and routines for themselves. With positive parental influence, teenagers can learn to control their use of sharp words. The parent, then, can relax and enjoy their teenager knowing that appropriate behavior automatically shows up, most of the time!

Here are a few strategies to influence your child learning self-control:
1. Be a good role model – your actions influence your child’s behavior
2. Focus on controlling yourself – rather than controlling your child
3. Set clear boundaries and limits – providing important structure
4. Follow through with what you say – be consistent with your expectations
5. Understand the meaning behind the behavior – this puts the relationship first
6. Be an emotion coach – kids have to learn how to process feelings appropriately
7. Offer affirmations and encouragement – focus on effort

Connect with a Licensed Parent Educator to learn more about parental influence.

Here are research-based resources, links, and books on

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