Replace Outdated Parenting Techniques with These Ideas

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Parenting is always evolving, and sometimes not for the better. Techniques such as tough love, giving a child the silent treatment, and helicopter parenting are more widely recognized as ineffective and outdated. Now some parents are instead turning to techniques that are centered on teaching kids good communication. 

CircleAround spoke with parenting experts to evaluate what parenting techniques might be considered outdated, and which techniques might be considered “in” or good ways to replace what’s “out.” Here’s what they said. 

1Out: Tough Love,

     In: Setting Boundaries

“I grew up with the ‘tough love’ solution for troubled teens,” states Beth Syverson, co-creator of the Safe Home Podcast. She produces the programming with her 18-year-old son, who has struggled with substance use disorders and mental health issues.

Syverson explains that punishment can prevent teens from coming back into alignment with their community or family, and that when they act out, they are typically seeking connection, rather than conflict. 

“What has worked better for our family was compassion with boundaries,” she tells CircleAround. “The boundaries are important because that's what keeps us from enabling our teens. But the compassionate part requires the parents to be curious and concerned about what's underneath the disruptive behavior, as opposed to trying to decide how to punish the child.” 

2Out: Helicopter Parenting

     In: Constructive Questioning

We all want our kids to be safe and healthy, but being too focused on avoiding minor injuries, or anticipating issues before they happen, can actually be detrimental to kids’ independence and decision-making development. 

“Being overprotective is an outdated parenting technique that needs to go,” says Jaymi Torrez, a teacher, Girl Scout leader, and author of the parenting blog The Salty Mamas. Instead of telling your kids to ‘be careful,’ ask them guiding questions such as, ‘Does that stone feel secure?’ ‘What’s your plan for what to do next?’ and ‘Look around for a way to get through this safely.’”

Torrez explains that this technique gives kids the tools they need to get into (and out of) tricky situations safely in a controlled risk environment. It also helps them evaluate their surroundings and activities in ways that will empower them, and help them feel independent

3Out: Time-Outs

     In: Collaborative Conversations

We’ve all experienced “time-out:” Maybe it was a corner of the room, or a chair for sitting still, or even being sent to your room for unruly behavior. The old idea involved withdrawing a child from activities until they had learned their lesson, but realistically, this tactic creates more confusion and resentment than anything.

Michelle Mintz, MS, CCC-SLP, and the creator of Baby Blooming Moments, a parent coaching experience, explains that parents can effectively create a calming space for their child where they can cool off, and then listen to you when the time-out is finished.  

“Getting down to their level and calmly and lovingly talking about what happened, why it happened, and how to handle the situation differently in the future… Helping your child understand the moment, and have a new plan to tackle a difficult situation, empowers your child and reinforces your bond," Mintz says.

4Out: Forced Fun

     In: Fostering Fun

Signing your kids up for activities like soccer, music lessons, ballet class, or painting can introduce them to interests they didn’t know they had. It can also drain your finances and leave your child feeling more frustrated, especially if they are forced to continue an activity they don’t actually enjoy.

“When your child genuinely wants to learn a new skill and shows consistent interest by putting their effort into it, only then will they want to learn it based on their own will,” explains Jules Tan, founder of Outdoor Magnet. She learned the hard way, spending thousands of dollars on music lessons only to have her daughter lose interest within three months. 

“I was left with a lonely piano in the living hall,” she adds. “Learning from this experience, I observed my younger son. He started expressing interest in playing his favorite piano tunes by just watching YouTube. Until the day he expresses strong interest, only will I consider sending him to a music school.”

The Bottom Line

We only want what’s best for our kids. While behavioral problems will inevitably arise, there are more contemporary ways parents can deal with conflict. Using a combination of compassion, constructive conversations, and more, you can provide a solid foundation for kids to help them navigate big feelings and conflict. Through using these modern parenting techniques, you may find yourself bonding with your children more deeply.

Tags: Developing Skills & Character, Motherhood, parenting

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

CircleAround will make financial distributions to benefit current Girl Scouts: the next generation of trailblazers who will CircleAround after us. So CircleAround for inspiration, and CircleAround the leaders of tomorrow. CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA.

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