Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, July 21, 2021
By Katheryne Puentes, LMHC.

By Katheryne Puentes, LMHC

Parenting is NOT an easy job. Being a parent involves 100% attention to how they interact with their children and their responsibility in providing for their children.

There are so many different systems a parent interacts in: their family system, if they are working their employment system, interacting in society, etc.  Sometimes when parents get frustrated with one system, it can interfere with how they interact with others.  As parents, sometimes we lack patience.  Inevitably this can have us lash out, isolate, or put specific responsibilities and relationships on the backburner.

Here, I hope to provide a technique for parents to promote independence within their children.  This technique is for children of all ages.  It encourages growth within their children.  It also provides an opportunity for children to be reinforced for appropriate behaviors and for parents to provide that reinforcement. The reinforcements build on the child and parent relationship and decrease tantrums in the future.  Within my practice, I provide psychoeducation surrounding parenting techniques from an evidence-based perspective to help guide parents with their children from ages 3-13.

As a child gets older, they go through different phases.  So, what works for a 3-year-old will not work for a 13-year-old. There are four different types of reinforcements: material, social, tokens, and activities.

1. Materials

  • Toys, candy, etc.

2. Social

  • High fives, hugs, giving them praise, etc.
  • Tokens
  • Sticker system, a chart with points, etc.

3. Activities

  • Spending time with family, spending time with friends, a chore done by a parent, etc.
  • With material reinforcements, I do not recommend using this 100% of the time because it encourages the idea that parents will buy their child anything they want for good behaviors, which can be counter-productive.  Just providing a reinforcement system takes the pressure off of parents to repeat themselves a thousand times.  A parent who repeats themselves repeatedly is ineffective for the child because it decreases their independence, and for the parent, it can drain their energy and patience level.The key to providing reinforcements is consistency.  If the parent isn’t consistent, then their children won’t be either. Being a parent is a continuous learning process, and you are not alone.  A parent needs a support system because it takes a tribe to raise a family.


“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.”- Bill AyersFLOWER WITH BEE