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Using the Tool Metaphor to Build Parenting Skills – New Resources!

When helping parents learn key principles it can be useful for parents to see these as “building tools” they are learning to use from their parenting tool kit.

Using the Incredible Years Tool Kit Posters (set of 3)

First poster“Building Positive Behaviors”

The first IY tool kit poster can be used to help parents learn the key “building tools” for strengthening positive behaviors.  When a new parenting principle is identified in group discussions, group leaders can name it using the corresponding tool picture from the Incredible Years Tool Kit poster. Group leaders can expand on this building metaphor by explaining to parents a hammer is not the best tool for fixing every problem; rather it may be better to use the capacity building, foundational scaffolding, and nurturing tools to support healthy social, emotional, and academic growth. Parents will learn that the bottom level of the parenting pyramid focuses on tools that they will use liberally such as attention, child directed play, narrated commenting, praise, support, relationship building, shaping, and support. On the next layer of the parenting pyramid parents learn how to use specific academic, persistence, social and emotional coaching to help their children identify and manage feelings, persist with learning despite obstacles and develop friendly social interactions and language. Once parents have built a firm foundation, they often find they have fewer child problems to manage.

2nd poster – “Reducing Misbehavior”

As the group moves up the parenting pyramid, parents learn new tools to reduce target negative behaviors.  These are used more sparingly. Tools such as predictable routines, rules, and respectful limit setting provide a predictable structure for children’s exploratory behaviors and drive for independence, assuring their safety. Next parents are taught the least intrusive proactive discipline tools, such as ignoring, redirection and distractions, and, finally, at the top level, discipline tools for highly aggressive and dysregulated behaviors.  Parents learn how to choose the most appropriate parenting tool based on the child’s needs, goals, and the underlying reason for the misbehavior.

3rd poster – “Staying Calm”

Integrated throughout the program are tools parents can use for controlling upsetting thoughts, stepping back from stress and anger, and regaining focus on what is essential. Parents learn the value of patience, modeling, self-care, getting support, using calming self-talk, and problem solving. Parents first apply these tools to support their own emotion regulation, and then to learn how this modeling benefits their children’s development and sense of security. The tool kit metaphor helps parents realize all the different parenting strategies they have in their tool kit that will help them weather some of the uncomfortable, but inevitable, storms of parenting and life events.

We have NEW RESOURCES group leaders can use to reinforce these tools with parents!

Tool Award Certificates

To supplement the tool kit poster, we also have tool awards that group leaders can use to celebrate parents’ successes as they master the use of each tool. These are editable so group leaders can fill in parents’ names and print out or email the tool awards. For example: Leon’s social coaching award or Matilda’s emotion coaching award.

 Download the set of Tool Award Certificates – Individual Editable

Download the set of Spanish Tool Award Certificates – Individual Editable

Parent Weekly Self-Reflection Inventory: Tools I Used This Week

Another way to acknowledge parents’ hard work is to give them their own sticker charts!  This mirrors the way that they will learn to use reward charts with their children.  For parents, these are self-reflective charts, and parents learn to self-praise and reward themselves for their hard work. We have developed 3 self-reflective charts, based on the 3 tool kit posters, that encourage parents to reflect on what they have accomplished each day. Parents are encouraged to set up a fun activity for themselves for reaching their goals.

You can download these below:

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Build Positive Relationships (Editable)

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Stay Calm & Get Support (Editable)

Parent Self-Reflection Inventory: Weekly Tools Used To Manage Misbehavior (Editable)

Visit our website to purchase a set of the Parenting Tool Kit Posters (set of 3 posters). These posters are available in English and new Spanish.

Additional resources for parent group leaders are available on our website.