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How to “Positive Parent”

Remember how your teen resisted your questions: Where are you going? Who are you going with?  Will the parents be home?  While you may have considered a nag, it turns out that your care and concern helped your child feel loved and secure and that resulted in the teen becoming a good parent in later life.

At least that’s the finding from a new study that tracked three generations of boys from ages 8 to 33, starting in 1984.  The study found that “positive parenting” – including factors such as warmth, monitoring children’s activities, involvement, and consistency of discipline – not only has positive impacts on adolescents, but down the road,  on the way they parent their own children.

“What surprised us is how strong positive parenting pathways are as well. Positive parenting is not just the absence of negative influences, but involves taking an active role in a child’s life.” –David Kerr, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University

Kerr said there is often an assumption that people learn parenting methods from their own parents. In fact, he said,  most research has found that a direct link between what people experience as children and what they do as parents is fairly weak.

“This research shows that when we think about the value of prevention, we should consider an even wider lens than is typical,” he added. “We see now that changes in parenting can have an effect not just on children but even on grandchildren.”

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