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What Is Parent Training and How Can It Help Your Child’s Behavior


Parent training is a budding area of psychological intervention for parents whose kids have been diagnosed with specific behavioral and mental disorders. Behavioral conditions including conduct disorder (CD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are some of the most researched childhood disorders that can be benefited from parent therapy and training. The training intervention focuses on coping techniques and skills that the parents can implement to improve their child’s behavior. Children with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and autism have also been reported to benefit from the changes brought about by parent training. 

Any parent would agree that the difficulties of raising a child, whether they suffer from behavioral issues or not, can be several and sometimes quite overwhelming. If a kid is defiant and hyperactive, the parent can become agitated and stressed over time. When such distorted behavior is left unaddressed, it can turn into a vicious cycle where both child and parent start acting hostile. Parent training provided by online child support services Illinois can help in stopping this destructive cycle. 

What Is Parent Training?

Parent training is a training program that teaches the parents or caregivers important skills that can help them manage their child’ growth and behavior. The methods and techniques learnt in parent training enable parents to accurately determine, define, and respond to problematic and dysfunctional childhood behavior. During the parent training and therapy sessions, they are provided with important knowledge and information on behavioral concepts, and techniques to optimize your child’s success and elevate the quality of life. It helps parents to work with their child on things like social skills, self-help skills, and communication. 

What Is Involved in Parent Training?

Parent training doesn’t provide an immediate fix for any problematic situation. Parents are needed to regularly attend the weekly sessions where the duration of the training program depends on the specific situation or case.  

While it is preferred for both parents to be present in the training sessions, at times, it is not possible. It is critical to note that, regardless of the relationship status of the kid’s parents, both mothers and fathers have been shown to individually make an improvement to their kid’s behavior. Thus, you do not have to be discouraged by the process if you are a single parent. If the involvement of both parents is not possible, you can bring a friend who might also be experiencing a similar behavioral situation at home. 

Some consultation clinics offer a group parent training program where as many as ten families can collectively attend the sessions. Some studies have shown these group training sessions to be incredibly effective as parents from different households can reach out to each other for understanding, guidance, and support – things much-needed during this challenging time. These group sessions include a lecture-style talk by psychotherapists, discussions, role-playing, and homework. Every session continues from the previous one with a consistent revision of the learned information and skills. 

How Does Parent Training Work?

Parent training operates and is managed by different approaches based on the particular challenges faced in the home. It generally involved these three sections:                                                                                   

  • Dealing with behavioral challenges
  • Dealing with autism 
  • Dealing with eating disorders

While the training programs for each of these problems are quite distinctive, there are some common fundamental focuses and goals of parent training, which include child support, consistency, and spending maximum quality time with children. 

Behavioral Challenges

Parent training for behavioral challenged is a considerably short-term, focused program that works exclusively on the parents. Children are not supposed to attend the sessions in this case. Here are some of the things that parents learn during these training sessions.

About the condition of their child – it is incredibly important that parents know and fully understand what if their child’s behavior disorder is and what the condition entails. They should know accurate details of the symptom involved as well as the expected responses and reactions. 

What to expect from their child – expectations of a child’s growth and betterment have to be practical and rational; otherwise, the kid can feel vulnerable and might start to back-peddle in their behavior and learning. This could lead to discontent on the parents’ end, which can have an impact on the self-confidence of the child. 

How to give accurate commands (verbally and non-verbally) – an assertive voice with a suitable volume and consistent eye contact are essential when giving the commands. 

How to reprimand appropriately – when a kid acts out, they must be told not to continue or repeat that behavior again. This reprimand has to be serious and assertive, but shouting and yelling don’t have to be necessary. In the end, if the parent yells and shouts frequently, the child will pick up that behavior too, and no one wants that. 

The importance of praise – just like it is important t reprimand or deal with disobedient behavior appropriately, it is crucial to understand how to positively encourage good behavior. In order to establish a healthy relationship with the child, it is crucial that the parent constantly reinforces good behavior and encourage the child to take part in positive activities which they enjoy and are good at. Incentives and rewards could also be successful tools for reinforcing good behavior.

When to warn and when to act – children must know when they are doing something problematic or inappropriate. Thus, it is pretty acceptable for the parents to give a warning to their child. But a single warning is enough. If all the parent is doing is giving out warnings, it will lose its significance over time and will not be effective for the child. 

Timeout – a substantial part of parent training, particularly with kids who are under the age of ten, is timeout. The timeout should be consistent and should be implemented every time a kid acts inappropriately. If that equates to ten times in a one-hour period, then so be it. If it isn’t consistent, the child will end up pushing boundaries to seek out any chance where they can get away with their problematic behavior.

All of these skills and techniques are revised thoroughly and incessantly throughout the training sessions. Parents also get to be involved in activities like role-playing with the psychotherapist or psychologist and have to continuously practice these techniques at home. In the process of parent training, the notion of parent self-blame is dismissed. It can never help any situation. Parent training helps improve parent skills, not to make parents feel unsuccessful or inadequate.

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