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Traditional Parenting Hurts More than Helps

By Damien O'Farrell | April 4 2008
Family therapists are urging that parents move away from punishment toward more proactive and sensitive communication with their children.

"A parent using traditional parenting strategies makes a bad problem worse," said Mark Hutton, author of My Out-Of-Control Teen. "Counseling -- and I'm a counselor -- counseling is a waste of time and money."

Instead, Hutton along with other therapists and teenage specialists, suggests replacing all negative forms of communication with calm positive forms -- such as replacing restrictive rules with proactive requests. Hutton calls this approach one of creating a therapeutic alliance.

Suggestions also include refraining from dramatic reactions when their teenagers "act out," using the times things are going well to give intense positive attention and direction, and empowering teenagers toward self-suficiency by making them work for things.

Discussion Starters

What are your thoughts on the trends toward more child-focused parenting? Do you think parents should have to bend to their child's cultural needs? What is some of the best advice you've come across for parents?

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