We have thirty years of experience in family and relationship therapy. We teach healthy parenting skills especially with difficult adolescents and young adults. We help families deal with addiction as well as depression and anxiety that affect the family system
Dr. Paul Standal helps parents learn healthy parenting skills. The foundation for healthy parenting is a healthy relationship where an environment of reciprocal transactions of positive regard between the parents and their children is demonstrated. He believes that parents can learn to create a healthy emotional environment with their children and in the family system where belonging, heathy control, intimacy and validation are present. In these circumstances, there is a healthy coalition which exists between parents who work together to be “on the same page” with regard to childrearing, using healthy techniques to deal with parent/child conflicts and the values to be promelgated. The atmosphere is relaxed, where there is a sense of certainty in the parental relationship and where the family culture is one of cohesian, with mutual understanding of goals and activities.
In general, parents who encourage open communication, in which feelings are acceptable and in which all subjects are open for discussion, including discussions about sex appear to have the greatest success with their kids. Appropriate, prosocial behaviors and boundaries are clearly communicated, with appropriate behaviors and expectations also being clearly communicated, in a firm, authoritative manner, rather than in a rigid authoritarian one, where an ineffective authoritarian parenting style is used.
When healthy parenting is displayed, expectations and choices are given for all behaviors, and consequneces are clearly spelled out using positive discipline verses punishment. Issues are dealt with in a timely manner as they come up, with healthy criticism and consequences provided in a respectful manner. Parents model responsible, adult behavior and values for themselves, and expect the same from their children.
Traits of a Positive Home Environment
1. Safe—Free from fear of physical, psychological or emotional pain and abuse. Free from threats, force, punishment, coercion, manipulation, pressure, stress, intimidation, humiliation, embarrassment, and invalidation.
2. Free—People have real choices. Participation in activities and family life is voluntary.
3. Respectful—We respect each other’s feelings, emotional needs, beliefs, values and uniqueness.
4. Individual/Supportive/Nurturing—All family members are treated individually. Each child’s individual needs, talents, potential and interests are supported.
5. Emotionally Intelligent—Feelings are valued, discussed, and validated. Communication is part of the family’s culture.
6. Relevant/Meaningful/Practical—Parents confront and support their children’s real problems in their lives. Life skills, relationship skills and parenting skills are taught.
7. Empathetic & Caring—Parents model caring about each other’s and their children’s feelings.
8. Interesting/Stimulating—The family environment stimulates and reinforces natural curiosity of the children and their need to learn.
9. Flexible—Changes can be made frequently, easily and smoothly without drama or distress to the system.