Parenting skills needs from the start

New babies are tiny, snuggable, huggable, sweet-smelling bundles that most everyone thinks are adorable. But they also make messy diapers, spit up all over you, cry a lot when they are uncomfortable or unhappy – and often when you want to get some sleep. They are in a constant state of change through infancy and early childhood, in fact, all of their lives. But this early period will impact the rest of their lives.

Here is where they learn the social mores of their culture: what is acceptable behavior in civilized society. Parents teach their children how they should be, how they should grow.

Everyone is a product of the environment in which they grow up. If it is an environment of warmth, love, encouragement, acceptance, they will be happier than someone who grows up with anger, criticism, neglect, abuse. Check out this poem by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D., “Children Learn What They Live,” at

It has been said that to be a good parent you have to have good parents. Children learn from their parents and the other adults in their lives. Young children mimic the people who influence them. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – CDC provides a 16-page brochure that looks at some of the important skills parents need. You can find this at

To raise good parents you have to be a good parent. And most parents learn a lot with their first child. There are training programs for parents to improve their parenting skills. A group of researchers investigated existing parent trainings and shared their conclusions in the brochure at the CDC link above.

1. Emotional communication skills.

Actively listening and reflecting back what the child is saying.

Helping children recognize their feelings, to label and identify emotions.

Teaching children to appropriately express and deal with emotions.

Parents should not be sarcastic or critical. The parent-child relation will have negative moments but trust is positive and it’s an important asset for the rest of a person’s life.

2. Positive parent-child interaction.

Parents play with children in everyday activities not requiring discipline.

Parents participate with children in directed play.

These are positive interactions where parents are enthusiastic and encourage proper child behavior and choices. Get out the clay and finger paint and let creativity flow.

Through these kinds of interactions, parents and children bond and the child learns to do what his parents tell him to do. Parents influence the development of a child’s self-esteem when they pay attention and give approval to them.

Parenting is a challenge, a worthwhile one. It helps to have a good life skills/parenting skills tool box.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.