Mental Health: More Effective Parenting

Mental Health: More Effective Parenting

Have you given up on getting your child to listen to you? Are you yelling or nagging in frustration when they don’t follow directions? Or giving up and just doing yourself whatever you asked your child to do?

You’re not alone. Giving instructions effectively to your children is a skill that all parents need help developing. Military parents may need to overcome some habits learned in their training that can set them up for more frustration than the civilian parent.

Here are some ways that military parents can unintentionally fuel a cycle of frustration, anger, and non-compliance with a child:

  • Giving orders rather than instructions.
  • Giving non-specific instructions, “You know what you need to do, just do it.”
  • Viewing non-compliance as disrespect.
  • Not using positive reinforcement because a child should not “need” a reward to do what’s right.

In Home Base’s Skillful Parenting group, Dr. Wesley Sanders, Home Base psychologist and Marine Corps veteran, lays out a toolbox of evidence-based strategies for parents to be more effective parents.  He offers “how tos” on setting up a reward system, family rules, and managing screen time.

Stacie Fredriksson, a Home Base Family Outreach Coordinator, Air Force veteran, and mother of two, found comfort and validation in the group format. “The fact that we are all military connected and have some similar experiences and tendencies makes me feel accepted and also helps me realize that it’s ok to acknowledge my behavior AND consider ways to do things differently,” she said.

“Dr. Sanders’s advice is clear, and helpful. His expertise and his warm and supportive tone instills confidence in my ability to be the best parent I can be,” shared Betsy Hart, a Navy wife and mother of three who also works as a Family Outreach Coordinator at Home Base.

Participants in the group can look forward to opportunities to identify new parenting tools or simply improve strategies that are already working well in the household. Additional time in the group is devoted to discussion of parenting styles, including the impact of military service on parenting, and ways to leverage the resilient military mindset in order to increase parenting effectiveness.

Skillful Parenting meets on Mondays from 1:00-2:00 pm. A new group starts every six weeks. For more information, or to start the enrollment process, use the Connect to Care button on the Home Base website or call 617.724.5202 and ask to talk with a social worker.