Build on Your Parenting Strengths

posted 6/3/21 -- “Every parent comes to the job with certain things that make you a good parent.”

Donna Jezewski of Ohio Guidestone started her discussion on ways to enhance parenting skills by affirming that parents are already good at many things. Jezewski made the presentations at LCCAA Head Start parent meetings in March.

“I love trying to share strategies that make your job easier,” she said. “Because parenting is such a trial and error job, we are always trying new things.”

She also pointed out that the average child will not do what their parent asks approximately one-third of the time. Testing limits is normal, she said.

Routines are important and can be as simple as always saying goodbye the same way when you drop your child off at school. She pointed out that even bedtime is a separation from mom and dad. Having a bedtime routine that offers lots of reassurance can help.

Ignoring behaviors you are trying to change is necessary, but Jezewski recognizes how hard it is, too.

“Whatever you pay attention to, you’re going to get more of,” she said.

That means praising positive behavior, even if it’s not precisely what you want.

For example, learning to control frustration is very difficult for young children. So, it’s important to say things like: “You didn’t throw the block even though you are frustrated.” This specific, labeled praise will encourage more of the same.

Other tips included:

  • Use clear commands.
  • Give warnings and reminders.
  • Give choices whenever possible.
  • Teach and practice calming skills. Offer safe spaces and calming places.
  • Use natural and logical consequences.
  • Use redirection and distraction whenever possible.
  • Allow child led play.
  • Keep it simple and enjoyable.
  • Smile, laugh and have fun!

Learn more by visiting Ohio Guidestone at Conscious Discipline, used in our Head Start classrooms, is currently offering many free resources at

Other ideas can be found in the Joyful Together program available from the Institute of Family and Community Impact at