How to Use PRIDE Parenting Skills to Develop a Deeper Relationship with Your Child.

I spoke with a parent the other day; she said something profound:

“I play with my 2 ½ year old daughter but I feel like I am missing something, our play does not help our relationship.”

Here is a great tool to help you connect with your child on a deeper level:

P.R.I.D.E. skills open up doors to increase relationship and control when you are interacting with your child on a daily basis. These PRIDE skills are a component of Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) which is a form of therapy developed by Sheila Eyberg for children ages 2–7 and their caregivers.

PRIDE is an acronym that stands for:






By using these five communication tools, the “something missing” is now filled. All of us need emotional connection and control (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). So the PRIDE skills give an intense dose to both of these needs.

In my practice, I teach Love and Logic® skills. These tools work really well! But using PRIDE skills once a day for 5 minutes is delivers even more of choices and empathy benefits.

Here is a PRIDE parenting skills handout that outlines how to engage with PRIDE skills during play time. Be aware that the time stated on the handout (10-15 minutes per day) has changed. Research indicates that PRIDE play done for 5 minutes per day is enough to fill a child emotionally and it is do-able for parents.

Here is how you use the PRIDE skills:

1) Set up a play table.

2) Tell the child that this is “our special play time” and he/she may play with any of the toys on the table.

3) Next, apply the PRIDE skills to the play time.

4) When 5 minutes (or more if you want, but remember 5 minutes is enough) is over, tell your child that “special playtime is over, but you will play again tomorrow.” Then give a choice of how many toys to pick up. Be sure to not get into a power struggle over clean up.

5) The Don’ts are:

  • No Questions
  • No Commands
  • No Criticism.

Questions and commands put you as dominate and this is a time that the child leads the play.

Next week, I will be posting a video with me demonstrating this type of play.

If you have a child over the age of 7 years, the PRIDE skills can also be used in normal interaction. I will show those in a video as well!

PRIDE parenting skills handout

How young is too young for a cell phone?

At what age should a child have a cell phone? This is a hard question because it is not just about the function of a cell phone; it also has to do with peer pressure. I suggest allowing a cell phone when the child can participate in the cost of it. That way, when they receive it and use it, they will feel proud of themselves – instead of being entitled. They will also be more mindful of how they use it. By having the child take some responsibility, you essentially increase the odds that they will not go over their minutes.

As far as peer pressure goes, they will rise above it because they have become more responsible in participating in the cost. They will blow past the peer issues because they know that they are capable of having a cell phone.

Also, be careful not to get in the trap that the child needs a cell phone for safety reasons. It is really not until they are of middle school age that you would allow them to be on their own enough that they would need to use a cell phone for safety reasons.

And remember, you can always take it away even though they participate in the funding of it. You are the parent and they need you for the account. You are still in charge. Again you are the PARENT.

How young is too young? How old is old enough? my vote is 13 years or older.

What Type of Parent Are You?

Knowing your natural parenting style is important so that you can adjust your natural responses to line up with how you want to parent. We are all surprised when what comes out of our mouth is exactly what our mother or father said. If you are like me, I love my mother but there are things I do not want to repeat. So, when I sound like mother – yikes! I saw a sign at a craft show that said, “mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.” Good or bad…what happens is early childhood, stays.

So being aware of how you were parented is key to purpose what type of a parent you want to be. Diana Baumrind, a psychologist published a study on over 100 preschool-age children. She identified four parenting styles. Psychology.About.Com describes these styles well:

Authoritarian Parenting: In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.

Authoritative Parenting: Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).

Permissive Parenting: Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.

Uninvolved Parenting: An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

I’m sure after reading through the descriptions of each parenting style, you identified the style that you were raised with. Most parents are either a permissive parent (in Love and Logic® terms a “helicopter” parent) or an Authoritarian (In Love and Logic® terms a “drill sergeant” parent).

Psychologists agree being an authoritative parent (In Love and Logic® terms “a consultant” parent) is our goal. The reason is simple, an authoritative parent shares control with the child and allows as many natural consequences to impact them. By sharing control through choices and calmness, the child feels full emotionally and learns to own their own problems.

Below are some links from Love and Logic® to help you to share control and hand problems back to your child. By using these two simple tools, you will naturally develop into an authoritative parent and hopefully your child will repeat this empowering parenting style with their children.

Guidelines for Sharing Control Through Choices

Guiding Children to Solve Their Own Problems