After being in the field for over 30 years, I know that every five years, a new “hot parenting technique” emerges. Professionals need to recognize that an integral part of our work with children is parenting. We need to be able to present it in an articulate, clear, efficient fashion. Depending on your theoretical foundation, this attention to parenting should not compromise your individual work with the child, the couple, or the family, but is an integral part of the clinical work.
There are two things that I’ve discovered. First, effective parenting requires firmness and consistency. That, of course, involves love and not anger. Whatever you do, you must do it firmly and consistently. Whether you use Filial, Theraplay, or an Adlerian approach, clinicians and parents need to set boundaries. It takes eight to ten weeks to be able to accomplish the goals of parenting. Parents that come into the office need to know this. Often success in this area alone will keep clients coming back.
The second “finding” regarding success with any program is our clinical ability to “massage and tweak” the program to the nuances of each family. Every book our clients read, or approach they hear, can only work if it is molded to be responsive to that family’s dramatics and dynamics.
In summary, it is incumbent upon all of us to have a parenting approach and be able to articulate it to our clients. For an expansion on technique, please review my blog entries on parenting topics.