Articles About Effective Parenting

At Empowering Parents, our mission is to give you effective parenting techniques in every article, podcast, and blog post. Learn effective parenting strategies, techniques and tools every time you visit our site.

The Trap of the “Dysfunctional Family.” How to Get Out of It Now

Child behavior problems can quickly feed into a perception of yourself as having a dysfunctional family. If you see yourself and your family that way—or if you’ve been labeled as one of those dysfunctional families—you’re not alone. A lot of parents struggle with the idea that their family doesn’t measure up to their own hopes and other people’s expectations. Read More

Struggling Child? 3 Things He Needs from You Now

If your child is struggling—socially, academically or behaviorally—he is probably getting a lot of your attention right now. So much attention, in fact, that you may feel like you have nothing left for yourself at the end of the day. Working, taking your child to tutoring or counseling, running back to school to pick up his forgotten homework, and arguing with him daily about responsibilities can leave you depleted—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Read More

How to Talk to Your Child About Lying

When your child lies to you, it stirs up a potent mix of emotions. You might feel angry, hurt and offended all at once. Lying is extremely upsetting for parents because it shakes the foundation of trust we have in our child. So it’s understandable and normal if you have an emotional reaction to lying—whether the lie is elaborate and “premeditated” or impulsive—a fib your child tells because he just didn’t stop and think. Read More

Backtalk: Should You Ignore It?

Does this sound familiar? “Stop hitting your sister. If you don’t stop, you’ll have to go to your room.” “You can’t tell me what to do!” “I most certainly can! Now get to your room… or else.” Backtalk can be terribly aggravating to parents, often evoking a strong emotional response. It feels hurtful and disrespectful, and we just want it to stop. Read More

Using Consequences to Maintain Your Parental Authority

When your child acts out or breaks the rules, it’s normal to feel your authority as a parent slipping away. If you’re like most parents, you’ve tried everything: you’ve taken the car away, locked the video games in a cabinet, and have even considered cancelling Christmas or a birthday party. Read More

Parental Anxiety? 5 Ways to Relieve the Worry

Sometimes we parents don’t think we are anxious because we are not trembling in our boots.  Often there is no visible sign of how anxious we are.  Yet when we look inside our heads, we notice that we spend a lot of time thinking about our kids—sometimes scary thoughts about things that haven’t even happened. These “awfulizing” thoughts can sound something like this: Read More

Negotiating with Kids: When You Should and Shouldn’t

Does it seem like every time you tell your child “No,” it turns into a tug-of-war? One mom shared with us recently, “Absolutely everything’s an argument with my son. Even the simplest request. He just can’t take no for an answer. It’s so frustrating!”  Many parents find themselves in a negotiation with their children when they are met with any kind of resistance. Negotiating is an important life skill. By definition, it means coming to an agreement through discussion. It’s about finding a middle or common ground.  But negotiation can also mean to get over or around something, such as negotiating the vacuum around the furniture. When it comes to children, they often try to negotiate “around” us to get the result they want. Read More

Punishments vs. Consequences: Which Are You Using?

Do these situations sound familiar? Your 10-year-old won’t listen to you when you tell her to come inside for dinner. You rack your brain for a way to change this behavior so that in the future she will do as you ask. Your teenager breaks curfew – again. You thought you had addressed this with him the last time he got home late, but here you go again. As parents, we know the importance of parenting from our principles, things like teaching our children to own up to their actions and face the fallout when they make poor choices.  And you’ve tried.  You’ve talked to your child over and over, you’ve explained your reasoning repeatedly. You’ve given them restrictions, taken things away and grounded them for a month. Yet nothing seems to be getting through. It could be time to look at the difference between punishing your child and using consequences. Read More

Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

As parents, many of us do things for our kids that we were able and expected to do for ourselves when we were children. Our parents didn’t often feel the need to negotiate with our sports coach, solve our every problem, or entertain us in our free time. A big difference from today, when all too often we are over-involved in many areas of our children’s lives.  Sounds funny, I know.  How can a parent be too involved or do too much for their child?  Isn’t that just being a good parent?  But when we don’t expect our kids to take responsibility for chores or their behavior, and we attempt to smooth away all the bumps and bruises that are a natural part of childhood, we aren’t doing our kids a favor.  Instead, we’re bringing them up to avoid taking personal responsibility and to expect that others will take care of things for them – even when they are really able to take care of themselves.  We’re teaching our kids that life is full of unmanageable problems, when what we want them to learn are the basic skills to manage those problems.  Stepping back and taking on the role of coach and teacher instead of “do-er” and “fixer” was one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent.  But as my husband James Lehman said, it is also one of the best things you can do to help your child build their social and problem-solving skills and learn responsibility. Read More

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer? Read More

Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside of your teenager’s head? What was she thinking when she made that choice? Why won’t he listen to what I’m telling him? It can seem as if an adolescent is completely wrapped up in a separate world, feet planted firmly in the air instead of on the ground.  As parents, we often come away bewildered or frustrated when our teen’s perspective seems so utterly different from our own. Read More

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few. It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far? Read More

Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

When my son received his GED this year, I put together a small scrapbook for him with photos, quotes, and cards from his friends. I also considered the life skills he’s already mastered and thought about the ones he’s still working on. The big "aha moment" for me? Realizing that everything else in life builds upon the ability for kids to be able to do these five things… Read More

How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

You know the drill: you’re trying to talk to your teen about curfew. Or dinner. Or absolutely anything—and they pretend they can’t hear you. They start an argument with you, or give you an eye roll and a "Whatever." Or they turn up their music. They won’t lift their eyes from their screens. They scoff or grunt in your general direction. There’s no eye contact, no acknowledgement, and absolutely no hint of, “Yes, Mom, I understand what you’re saying to me.” Read More

How to Stop Worrying and Avoid Helicopter Parenting: Don’t Do These 6 Things

“When I was young, my mom and dad sent us out to play in the morning in our neighborhood, and we didn’t come home until dinner time,” a friend said to me recently. “But times have changed. I feel like I have to keep constant tabs on my kids. I wish they could have the kind of childhood I did, but what can I do? I need to make sure they’re safe.” Read More

5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

Watching my child struggle without stepping in to “fix” things for him was one of the hardest things I’ve personally experienced as a mom, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. And the truth is, from the very beginning, being a mother is a balance of taking care of your kids while letting them grow up and learn from their mistakes. Your role of simply loving and protecting your baby from pain and discomfort changes to one of accepting that your child or teen will need to experience natural consequences for his or her actions. The hard part (for them and for us!) is that these consequences almost always include some discomfort, disappointment or pain. Read More

The "Cool Kids": How to Help Your Child or Teen Deal with Peer Pressure, Exclusion and Cliques

When we think of peer pressure, we typically have a picture in our minds of a kid handing another kid a cigarette, a joint, or a beer and saying something like, “Come on, just try it.” But at times peer pressure can be felt without a single word being spoken, like when a clique excludes others or rolls their eyes at the (in their opinion) "uncool" kids who walk by. Read More

Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control

Do you ever struggle with temper tantrums at your house? You know what they involve: yelling, screaming, bad-language, and all-out loss of control until you almost can’t take it anymore and you just want to…put yourself in time out? Yes, I’m talking about our own parental "temper tantrums," which we’ve all been known to experience at one point or another as we raise our kids. Read on for tips on how to stay in control. Read More

Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

“I love my son, but things are getting really rough. I never expected him to still be living at home in his twenties. I don’t mind helping him while he gets on his feet, but most of the time he acts like he’s still thirteen – and he’s twenty three! This is not what I pictured!” Read More

Parenting Teens: 5 Ineffective Things to Avoid Doing

At Empowering Parents, we talk a lot about “effective” versus “ineffective” parenting styles. In fact, James Lehman reminds us that it’s not about whether your parenting style is right or wrong, it’s about whether it’s effective. Read More