Parenting Skills

The parenting skills theme plays an important part in the kit. Here we find a set of positive behaviours and attitudes that parents can use to support their child’s development. This theme includes four series of illustrations that present different skills adapted to the child’s age (0 to 8 months; 9 to 24 months; 2 to 5 years; 6 to 11 years). For each age group, illustrations are provided in two versions :

Mother’s versionFather’s version

 

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Using the tools

  • Parents could be asked, for example, to identify some of the skills that best characterize them and to describe how these are expressed in their daily lives.
  • Then, parents could think about the skills displayed by their own mothers and fathers during their childhood, and to reflect on the differences they see with what they are currently living as parents.
  • In a co-parenting situation or in a group session, the illustrations of each parental figure encourage discussion about each other’s strengths and how these play out in relation to their children. Other topics for discussion might include the advantages of having complementary parenting skills, or the ways in which the parents have changed since the birth of their first child.

From the professionals

«It’s easier to work with parents on objectives to be achieved after having talked about the strengths they already have».
«Using illustrations gave me new insight into the vision this mother had of herself, of the path she had taken and of what she had lived through when she was younger».
«The fact that a mother classified all the skills (except one) as being ‘Not really my mother’ led us to reflect on how she had managed to learn her role as a mother, having had no role model at the start».
«To parents who tell me that it’s so much easier for them to give their children affection than to say no and be obeyed, I say: ‘All the better!’ Because it’s easier to learn to set limits… affection and love, these are things that can’t be taught in a workshop!»

 

Clinical relevance

  • Mothers and fathers living in adverse conditions rarely have the opportunity to reflect on what affective and educational skills they have. This experience of focusing positively on themselves seems to go against the current, while the sources of stress, the frustrations and the negative judgments pile up. It becomes especially important to talk about their strengths using a new vocabulary that avoids the somewhat stereotypical expressions associated with traditional psychosocial interactions. According to the comments of the professionals and especially those of the parents, the tender and positive images in the illustrations help parents to adopt a new view of the skills they have and those they are in the process of acquiring.
  • Co-parenting, often beset with daily tensions, is also frequently in great need of reframing and positive feedback. The illustrations help spouses to develop a new area of sharing and to focus on their respective strengths.
  • The exercise of looking back at parents’ learning experience in childhood often leads to a better understanding of the present situation (for both parents and professionals). Comparing parents’ childhood experiences with the types of parents they have become despite adverse conditions often illustrates, in a way that is very concrete and real, the resilience of which they are capable.