15 Pillars of Parenting

Based on long conversation that ensued on the last “Parenting in the New” post


I am not surprised to have received this question.


What are the “15 Pillars of Parenting?”


These are 15 principles of parenting that I uncovered by doing research during my years as a professor of early childhood education at Nova Southeastern University. What I did at the time was study all the parenting literature available to collect all the important principles. As I continued to collect, I noticed that certain ones began to repeat themselves. It turned out that only 15 showed up over and over again, no matter what program or curriculum I reviewed… very interesting!

Next I studied those 15 further and noticed that they all went in an order.

Then with further study I noticed that the 15 principles broke apart into these three categories:

  1. Preparations
  2. Attitudes
  3. Techniques

At that point I decided to call them “pillars.”

Interestingly enough you can solve almost any parenting situation by applying these pillars. First use one or more of the preparations. Next implement one or more of the attitudes. Last choose the technique(s) you need for your intervention.

This is a system that works. I am happy to share it with you and hope that you will be able to benefit from it. Here are the “pillars,” separated by category and in order.


  1. Set up for success.
  2. Make expectations clear.
  3. Use praise and encouragement appropriately


  1. Separate the behavior from your child
  2. Identify the cause of the mistaken behavior
  3. Listen and communicate
  4. Be positive, warm, and supportive
  5. Be a person, not a god.


  1. Change the environment.
  2. Use the sandwich method for supervision.
  3. Be a part of the solution.
  4. React with humor when appropriate
  5. Touch.
  6. Miss reward.

You can find out more about all of these in the book Constructive Parenting, Chapter 2, “Parent-Child Interaction,” pp. 10 – 19.


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