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​​​​​​​​​​We’ve all heard these words at one time or another from our own parents or from our friends or coworkers. It’s something people say to try to make us feel better when we feel as if we’re struggling as parents.

The thing is, there actually is an effective parenting manual out there – one based on decades of real-world testing and practical research. It’s called Boys Town Parenting Principles and it’s based on some simple but crucial philosophies:

  • Parent with patience and love (stay calm; don't react out of anger)
  • Use positive discipline (don't just stop misbehavior; change it)
  • Praise children for the good things they do
  • Protect children and teach them how to protect themselves
  • Prepare children for real-life situations
  • Teach children to solve problems on their own
  • Use parenting strategies that fit a child's age and developmental level
  • Help children develop and grow a strong spiritual foundation and moral compass

These principles are built upon the following core tenets:

  • Parents are teachers — constantly, continually and always – and as such are the most influential people in a child's life.
  • Teaching social skills is the key to helping children find success at home, in school, with others and in life.
  • Teaching is most effective when children earn positive consequences for using positive behaviors and earn negative consequences for using negative behaviors.
  • A key to effective teaching is for parents to stay calm and to model self-control, no matter how upset their child is or how upsetting the situation is.
  • There are four main parent-teaching components: 
    •     Effective praise
    •     Preventive teaching
    •     Corrective teaching
    •     Teaching self-control

The Boys Town Parenting Model was developed and refined over decades of implementation and observation by Boys Town Family-Teachers, who nurture, mentor and educate groups of up to six teenage boys or girls at a time in their homes. These kids typically come from extremely difficult family situations and exhibit a broad variety of serious behavioral issues, yet most graduate the program happy, healthy and prepared to meet the world head-on and succeed.

In other words, if the Boys Town Pare​nting Model can work for them, it will likely work for your family too.

It is often said that parenting is the toughest job there is.

The parenting experts at Boys Town have​ developed this email series to help you become a better parent and address common situations that often arise when raising children.

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Check out our Parenting content where you'll find a series of guides comprising of articles, videos, Q&As and more. We have a variety of parenting subjects, including bullying, teens, technology and self-harm. These guides are formulated by Boys Town parenting experts and are based on the Boys Town Parenting Model. And check back often; new content is being added all the time. You can also email or call us at (800) 448-3000 with your parenting questions. We're here for you 24/7.