Your child’s emotional development – and how to enhance it

Psychologist Stuart Passmore shares his advice for parenting for a happier home.

Parenting isn’t an easy job. We all want to create a healthy, harmonious family life, and we all do the best we can. But conflict, behavioural issues and the pressure to keep everything under control can lead to a lot of stress and frustration.

In his latest book, Parenting for a Happier Home, Melbourne-based psychologist Stuart Passmore provides a practical guide to improving the parent-child relationship. Grounded in solid research, this book offers advice on enhancing your child’s emotional development, the types of discipline that actually work, and encouraging your child to take ownership of their behaviour.

Here, Stuart shares a few gems of parenting wisdom.

Why did you decide to write this book?

My passion is to help tired, exhausted and frustrated parents battling their child’s non-compliant behaviour. Parents and families seem to be under ever increasing stress, and while there is ease of access to all sorts of advice on parenting, we have to be careful of the information we read and accept.

Rather than Parenting for a Happier Home being a ‘one-style-fits-all’ approach, or nothing more than my experiences or opinions, this is an evidenced based book that is designed to teach parents the most effective ways of parenting their children, along with teaching effective, non-punitive discipline grounded in sound research.

“Everyone in the family needs to know they are loved, accepted and respected, and this is especially true of the parent-child relationship.”

What are the essential elements of a healthy, harmonious family life?

Everyone in the family needs to know they are loved, accepted and respected, and this is especially true of the parent-child relationship. Children need to have a secure attachment to their parents and have their need to belong fulfilled.

Sometimes children’s behaviour can push us to our limits, but absolute unconditional love with firm boundaries of expected behaviour for every member of the family is critical.

Can you describe the concept of authoritative parenting?

An authoritative style of parenting is considered to be a balanced, well-adjusted, stable and unwavering approach to child rearing. This is because the authoritative parenting style is marked by firm rules and shared decision making in a warm, loving and supportive environment.

Authoritative parenting is characterised by acceptance, interactional warmth and responsiveness, unconditional love for the child as an individual and treating the child with kindness and dignity. To put it simply, authoritative parenting shows absolute respect toward the child.

What are some of the most common challenges parents struggle with – and how can they be overcome?

I often hear frustrated, desperate and hurting parents describe the strained parent-child relationship. Parents can feel like they have tried everything but nothing seems to work and as desperate as they are to draw closer to their child, they tend to feel as though the parent-child relationship is just falling apart.

The book Parenting for a Happier Home can teach parents how to rebuild or strengthen the parent-child relationship and use effective, non-punitive discipline. Also, in my experience, the skills in the book can help couples to parent together and can begin rebuilding an often strained relationship with one another.

“Emotional intelligence and moral development are two of the most powerful ways to assist a child’s emotional development.”

How can parents enhance their child’s emotional development?

Emotional intelligence and moral development are two of the most powerful ways to assist a child’s emotional development. While there are specific chapters on these two critical issues, the entire book is so designed to teach parents ways to further their child’s emotional intelligence.

Talking about and labelling emotions and assisting a child to understand cause and effect are powerful ways of fostering the development of emotional intelligence in children. Helping a child to develop empathy is also one of the foundations to emotional intelligence.

What’s the top piece of advice you’d give to new parents?

Some of the most common causes of conflict in families I tend to deal with could be avoided by parents talking openly with each other about their parenting styles, their expectations of each other as parents, what goals and dreams they might have as parents and as a family, what behaviours and morals they want to teach their children, how they might discipline their child (e.g. just sit and explain to the child their behaviour might be wrong) and what kind of discipline they might use (e.g. time out, removing some privileges).

Finally, learn about emotional intelligence and how to teach it to your child.

Parenting for a Happier Home by Stuart Passmore is available from Exisle Publishing.

 

Recommended reading - Issue Sixteen Winter 2016

Recipes

10 ways to enjoy sweet potato

Bursting with flavour and vitamin goodness, sweet potato is a comforting veggie staple.

Read more
Experts

8 things you should know about preventing disease

How can you lower your risk of common health conditions?

Read more
Recipes

Roasted guinea fowl, brussels sprouts, baby beets and quince recipe

A deliciously juicy dish, full of flavour and colourful veggies.

Read more
Community

How your blood can change lives

Blood is a precious resource. Here's why we should all consider donating to people in need.

Read more
Experts

10 ways to reach your running goals

Go the distance and seamlessly achieve your running goals – while protecting your body from injury.

Read more
In Brief

CareComplete: Support for chronic health conditions

How Medibank helps members with chronic health conditions take positive steps forward every day.

Read more
Travel

The best bike-friendly cities

Discover the most bike-friendly cities of the world.

Read more
Community

The healthy food gap

There is not just a healthcare gap in Indigenous communities, but a healthy food gap too.

Read more
Lifestyle

The history of the stethoscope

Brilliant ideas often spring from unlikely places, like the playful history of the stethoscope

Read more
Experts

Caring for braces

Braces will be your best friend (once they’re off your teeth). Here’s a few tips for the meantime.

Read more
Community

Onsen Ma: Soaking and shiatsu

Healing steam from the Japanese mountains settles in the Melbourne laneways Onsen Ma.

Read more
Experts

Eating for a healthy heart

Make heart-friendly food choices for a healthy heart by following these simple guidelines.

Read more
Recipes

Lamb shank and vegetable soup recipe

Need a new soup recipe? This hearty lamb soup beckons with bursts of fresh vegies.

Read more
Lifestyle

Winter bike riding tips

Tour De France winner Cadel Evans tells you how to keep bike riding through the winter months.

Read more
Recipes

Spicy pumpkin and lentil soup recipe

Spice up your soup ideas this winter with a pumpkin and lentil soup inspired by Indian flavours.

Read more
Experts

What pro athletes really eat

Learn why you don't need to make drastic life changes to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Read more
Experts

Laser eye surgery alternatives

Laser surgery not an option? Here are some alternatives.

Read more
Recipes

Corn fritters with tangy tomato salsa recipe

These cajun-flavoured corn fritters with tomato salsa will freshen up your weeknight routine.

Read more
Lifestyle

Healthy school lunchbox ideas

Healthy kids are happy kids with this innovative school lunch ideas.

Read more
Experts

A guide to good guts

Protecting your gut bacteria with healthy food is vital to overall health.

Read more
Experts

What are macronutrients?

So what exactly are macronutrients? We've got the lowdown.

Read more
Lifestyle

7 easy ways to get active in winter

Take a look at a list of activities to keep your heart racing during the dreary winter months

Read more
Recipes

Curried cauliflower salad recipe

A curried cauliflower salad recipe for something a little fancy.

Read more
Recipes

Lentil soup recipe

Lentil-based dishes like this red lentil soup are not only delicious but are packed with goodness.

Read more
Experts

The best immunity-boosting foods

Want to avoid the dreaded flu this winter? Try these immunity-boosters to strengthen your defenses.

Read more
Recipes

Chicken and white bean casserole recipe

Try this fresh and protein-packed chicken and white bean casserole with pasta or extra vegies.

Read more
Experts

10 tips for diabetes-friendly food

Top ten food tips to manage or prevent diabetes and enjoy a healthy life.

Read more
Community

Hit 100: Diabetes-friendly eating made easy

Hit 100 takes the frustration out of diabetes-friendly eating for a happier, healthier life.

Read more
Recipes

Pea and ham soup recipe

Try this take on a classic soup by seasoning with Himalayan pink salt.

Read more
Experts

10 things you need to know about the body

Our bodies are complex, mysterious, miraculous things. Dr Bridie O'Donnell tells us how they tick.

Read more
Lifestyle

Your quick-start guide to running training

Whether you're gearing up for a marathon or your first 5 km, prepare your mind, body and wardrobe.

Read more
Experts

How to build mental resilience

Life has a habit of testing our limits - mental resilience is your chance to bounce back.

Read more
Experts

Exercise for mental health treatment

Anxiety and depression can be exhausting, but exercise is one fantastic way of fighting back.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.