EXTRACTS FROM THE INTRODUCTION
"Parenting can be tough but never
boring. I have always seen it as similar to a long, adventurous
journey, during which peoples’ reactions to events and situations
along the way make for either a pleasurable or miserable time for
"The process of parenting has never
been a smooth one and probably never will be. It is foolish to blame
parents for all of the difficulties and, still worse, to accuse
them of moral ineptitude. Raising children goes beyond the responsibilities
of parents alone – everyone has a part to play in the process.
This is why I think parents need help, support, and understanding
rather than condemnation. I hope that this book will play its part
in helping parents do a job, which if done well, benefits us all".
"Understanding the basic influences
on how children develop into well-functioning adults is the key
ingredient to effective parenting".
"Techniques are important, but in
my view, are of limited value without an overall sense of parenting
direction. This direction will be unique to each child, their parents
"There is of course, no rulebook
or owners manual for parents to consult for any individual child.
Instead, parents need constantly to adjust their parenting to permit
and encourage the promotion of independence and with it, social
and personal maturity".
PRACTICAL ADVICE THROUGHOUT
This is what Dr Thorley suggests
about giving praise.
- "Be clear over what it is you
want to praise or encourage. Don’t expect your child to “be
a good boy or girl” over the course of a day. Be clear in
your own mind what specific behaviour it is you want to encourage
and let your child know what it is you want to praise.
- Be specific about what it is you want to encourage. This
means avoiding global praise such as “good girl” or
“you have been brilliant today”. Much better would be
“Well done for tidying your room today as you promised”
or “You have been really great in getting yourself ready for
school by 8.00 am today”
- Be prompt in giving praise and encouragement. Praise and
encouragement, like other types of reinforcement, work very much
better when delivered immediately after the desired behaviour has
occurred. Sometimes this is not practicable but as long as the delay
is reasonable from your child’s point of view, the technique
will be effective.
- Be consistent by acknowledging and praising the child every
time they display the desired behaviour. Again this is not always
possible but generally be on the look out for the behaviour you
want to encourage. The need for such vigilance is one reason why
it is best not to choose more than two or three target behaviours
for any programme of change.
- Be effective by using appropriate praise and encouragement.
Like other types of reinforcement, there are none that will suit
all children in all circumstances. You know your child best and
you should be able to gauge what types of praise and encouragement
are effective for your child. Some young people are OK with gushing
over-the-top deliveries of verbal praise whilst others will secretly
wish that the ground would open up and swallow them. Remember that
in giving praise: deliver it purposefully, directly in front of
your child and not for example, in the form of an off-hand remark
from the next room."