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Intervention Strategies for Parents/Caregivers

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1.   Encourage your children to become more independent by learning to make choices, while minimizing comparisons and competition with others.

2.   Provide children with predictable routines and a sense of belonging (“we eat supper together so that our family will be able to share stories after a long day at school and work…”).

3.   Model a sense of purpose and discuss how adult daily routines support all family members.

4.   Acknowledge the child’s responsibilities and provide positive feedback for daily accomplishments (“I am pleased you remembered to ….  This will save me some time which we could spend together…”).

5.   Recognise the child’s strengths and show them that you feel good about their achievements.

6.   Be honest about your feelings.  When you withdraw privileges or punish your child, state that you are disappointed with their behaviour not with them.

7.   Demonstrate your love and respect for them at all their developmental stages, in verbal and non-verbal ways.

8.   Remember that rewards do not have to be bought.  Positive activities done together can be just as valuable.

9.   Make sure that your expectations are clear to your child since inconsistencies are likely to cause confusion and defensiveness.

10.  Relate to your child/adolescent as an important individual, and teach them about rights and responsibilities which change with age.

11.  Develop in your children a sense of cultural and linguistic pride by modelling sharing of family stories, using humour in the first language and planning cultural events together.

12.  When you become preoccupied, tired or busy with unexpected tasks you are likely to have less time for your child.  Discuss the reasons for changing routines and indicate when you will be able to provide individual attention.

13.  Discuss with your child a range of feelings and situation.  Validate their emotional reactions by listening and remembering family events.

14.  Try not to compare siblings.  Each child has areas of strengths that need to be recognised on a regular basis.  Comparisons (“why can’t you be more like your sister…?”) tend to stereotype behaviours and negative competition for parental approval.

15.  Help your child identify things they are proud of; worried about; hope to achieve.  Discuss ways to support the child in meeting their goals.

16.  Each day, spend some time together on a choice activity. The unit of time is less important than the joint activity that allows for listening, care and expression of affection.

17.  Accept your child’s feelings, even if you do not approve of the event that resulted in their reactions. Each child/adolescent is a unique individual.  By supporting each member’s self-worth, you will strengthen the family’s self-esteem.

* This summary is based on publications over the years including those by NASP, CJSP, APA, and CPA. Consultations with and psychologists, and school communities continue to enhance our understanding in this realm, and are acknowledged with thanks.

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