The PRIDE skills are five positive parenting techniques that can easily be used in every day life. The skills have been shown in studies to be a successful way to support children's development.
Tip: As with all parenting advice, experts recommend using the skills in a way that feels right for you and your family.
What we tell children becomes their inner voice and has the potential to build up or tear down. Praise builds children up by strengthening self-esteem and self-concept.
Praise gives guidance about your standards of behavior. When a behavior is rewarded, children learn how you want them to behave. Each time you praise that behavior, your child will be reminded of your expectations.
When a behavior is praised, children will continue on with this behavior.
Reflections let your child know you are paying attention. They communicate the message: ‘I hear you and I get you.’
When a child’s statements are reflected, it rewards the child for speaking. This encourages children to start conversations and share their thoughts more frequently. Reflections are more powerful than questions to get a child talking.
Back-and-forth conversation with your child strengthens the language center of the brain.4
Reflections are a great tool to improve children’s speech since they offer an opportunity to subtly correct grammatical mistakes. For instance, if a child says “I ranned home,” a parent can reflect “Wow, you ran home!”.
An adult imitating a child’s actions is very flattering. Imitation sends the message: ‘What you are doing is interesting and important, and I want to do it too.’
Imitation is a good way to join in the child’s play if you are unsure of how to do so. Children are the play experts and by imitating what they are doing, they will teach youhow to play.
When an adult imitates a child, the child is more likely to imitate the adult. Imitating each other is a great way to practice back-and-forth social exchanges.
Descriptions let your child know they have your undivided attention and you are interested in what they are doing. This is a big self-esteem boost!
Descriptions help children focus and spend more time on a task. It’s a great tool to use during homework.
Descriptions help young children learn new words and concepts such as shapes, sizes, numbers and colors.
Adding warmth and excitement to the interaction lets your child know you care about them and enjoy spending time together.
Children pick up on and mimic the emotions of others. When you are cheerful, your child will be more likely to act positively.
PRIDE skills can be used to teach social skills, prepare children for school, and help them learn to manage behaviors and emotions. To promote healthy development with PRIDE skills, watch for moments where your child displays a good behavior.
Every time you notice a good behavior you’d like to see more of, shower your child with PRIDE skills. The more you point out these good behaviors, the more they will blossom and grow.
Positive parenting tip:
Be on the lookout for good behaviors, even if they are brief, and “catch” them right away.
PRIDE skills can help decrease unwanted behaviors. This is done by “catching” your child doing something good that is opposite of an inappropriate behavior. For instance, want your child to stop running ahead at the grocery store? Praise him for staying next to you.
Almost all unwanted behaviors have an opposite good behavior. When you compliment your child for displaying a good behavior, it helps him learn what to do rather than what not to do, and increases the likelihood he’ll repeat that good behavior.
Playtime is easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Distraction-free playtime offers a chance to pause, breathe, and connect with your child. Parenting experts say that as little as five minutes of daily playtime can strengthen the parent-child bond.
PRIDE skills add goodness and magic to playtime. They turn playtime into special playtime. The more PRIDE skills used, the better!
Since children rarely have the opportunity to be in charge, letting your child lead can make playtime feel extra special. Here are two ways to follow your child’s lead:
Play is an important part of children’s social, emotional and cognitive development.6
You know your child best, so use the skills in a way that feels right. It’s all about encouraging values and behaviors that are personally important to you.
Parenting can be hard so remember to go easy on yourself. Showing yourself love is important just as you’d show your child love. Give yourself praise from time-to-time for doing your best.
Eyberg, S. M., & Funderburk, B. W. (2011). Parent-child interaction therapy: Treatment manual. Unpublished manuscript, University of Florida at Gainesville.
McNeil, C., & Hembree-Kigin, T. L. (2011). Parent-child interaction therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
Troutman, B. (2016). IoWA-PCIT, integration of working models of attachment into parent-child interaction therapy. Unpublished manuscript, Carver College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa.
Urquiza, A., Zebell, N., Timmer, S., McGrath, J., & Whitten, L. (2011). Course of treatment manual for PCIT-TC. Unpublished manuscript, UC Davis Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Davis.