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I am a positive parent... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan True   

I am a positive parent…but it hasn’t always been that way. I used to think that being a good parent meant that I had to do it all “perfectly” and if anything went wrong, it was my fault. I ended up feeling resentful and tired all of the time. Now I have learned some tips from Triple P that have helped me enjoy being a parent.”


Triple P Parent



Being a parent is the most important and challenging job many people will have in their lifetime. Many parents give it their all but still feel exhausted, disappointed and overwhelmed at the end of the day. There are certain ways that we interact with our children, partner and even our own inner thoughts that make the difficult job of raising a child even harder. It is easy for parents to fall into what The Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), calls common ‘parenting traps’, that add to the stress of parenthood. If you feel like the parent described above, than you may be experiencing several common parenting traps, and you are not alone! Incorporating some of these small changes will result in big changes in yourself and your family.

·      The ‘perfect parent’ trap. The need to do it all perfectly, rather than being a good and competent parent will lead to frustration and guilt. We are all human and make mistakes; the important thing is to not make the same repeated mistakes. Perfect parents don’t exist, but good parents do.

·      The ‘It’s all my fault’ trap. Parents guide their children’s development and teach them values and social skills; but it is not possible for parents to be in control of all their children’s behaviors. It’s hard to be patient, calm and consistent if you blame yourself when your children have problems.

·      The ‘martyr’ trap. When parents become so involved in parenting that they neglect their own needs, they end up feeling dissatisfied, resentful and they watch their relationships suffer. Being a martyr does not produce quality parenting; rather quality parenting takes place when adults have their own lives in balance.

·      The ‘negative parent’ trap. This involves becoming locked into frequent power struggles with your child. This typically results in the parent reacting to misbehavior with:

o      criticism (“Robert, why can’t you ever just leave your brother alone”)

o      threats (“If you do that one more time you’re in big trouble”)

o      yelling (“Leave him alone!”)                                                                                                              

·      The ‘leave them alone’ trap. This often occurs with the ‘negative parent’ trap. Parents can often recognize and point out negative behavior in their child but ignore their child when they are behaving well or playing nicely. If good behavior is ignored, it will occur less often in the future and will be replaced with the negative behavior that receives more attention.

If you find yourself falling into one or more of these traps, you may be feeling:

·      Frustrated that you are not getting anywhere with your child or

·      Embarrassed by your child’s or your own behavior.

You may also be losing your temper often and quickly.


 All of these feelings can result in being overwhelmed and feeling discouraged about your parenting skills. Triple P offers some simple tips on how to make parenting more manageable and enjoyable.  Here are some things you can try right way.

Have realistic expectations of yourself, your partner and your child. You and your partner do not know all there is to know about parenting. You are both learning and will be learning for a long time. If you make mistakes, acknowledge them and learn from them. Make sure that what you are expecting from your child is age appropriate, and do not expect perfection from her…she is also learning.


It’s easy to get caught up in the busy family demands of work, school, after school activities, and chores. Make time to enjoy your child’s company and have fun together. Play for a while every day and watch what your child is interested in doing. Spending brief frequent amounts of time together can do a lot for your relationship with your child.


It is much easier to take care of your child if your needs are being met. Needing time away from your child is normal and healthy. If you have a hard time making this happen, start small and take a brief amount of time each week to do something you enjoy, it will make a big difference.


If you are co-parenting, get on the same page as your partner and make important decisions together. Parenting is much easier if two adults are giving the same consistent message to their child. Start by taking time to discuss and reach agreements on parenting issues such as how to handle misbehavior and how to acknowledge desired behavior.


Asking for support does not mean you are an inadequate parent. The saying that ‘it takes a village’ has been around because everyone, including the best of parents, need assistance. Friends, family members, neighbors, parent groups are all great avenues for building your support system and sharing your experiences. You can also seek support from Santa Cruz County accredited Triple P providers who can help you find specific ways to incorporate simple changes into your family life.


Triple P services have already had a positive impact on local families. Velma Biddlecome, parent of an 8 year old states:  “Triple P helped me get to a place where I am not so frustrated.  Now I can deal with the everyday things out there. Meeting with someone helped me step back from the situation and take it a little at a time.”


Parenting is not the easiest task given to us, but it can be very enjoyable and rewarding. Often a few small changes, can make a big difference in your family.




Susan True is the Executive Director of First 5 Santa Cruz County. For more information about workshops (covering common issues such as independent eating and sleeping), groups, one on one consultations, or parenting seminars, please visit www.first5scc.org or contact Stephanie Bluford at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (831) 465-2217.


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