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So where do we start?

NICHD Updated: May 24th 2019

The first thing you need to know is that there are no perfect parents. Parenting isn’t all-or-nothing. Successes and mistakes are part of being a parent. Start to think about the type of parent you want to be. RPM3 offers research-based guidelines for being:

  • An effective parent
    Your words and actions influence your child the way you want them to.
  • A consistent parent
    You follow similar principles or practices in your words and actions.
  • An active parent
    You participate in your child’s life.
  • An attentive parent
    You pay attention to your child’s life and observe what goes on.

By including responding, preventing, monitoring, mentoring, and modeling in your day-to-day parenting activities, you can become a more effective, consistent, active, and attentive parent.

Once you have learned about each RPM3 guideline, go to the section that describes your child’s age to see how some parents use these guidelines in their everyday parenting. Think about steps you can take to use these guidelines and ideas in your own day-to-day parenting.

Being a more effective, consistent, active, and attentive parent is a choice that only you can make.

Keep in Mind...

As you learn about the RPM3 guidelines and read the examples, remember that responding, preventing, monitoring, mentoring, and modeling have their place in parenting every child—including those children with special or different needs.

All children—be they mentally challenged, mentally gifted, physically challenged, physically gifted, or some combination of these—can benefit from the guidelines in RPM3. The children described in the booklet’s examples might be in wheelchairs; they could have leukemia or asthma; they may take college level courses; or they might be in special classes for kids with attention deficit disorder.

The stories don’t specifically mention these traits because all kids need day-to-day parenting, including those in special situations. The guidelines presented in RPM3 focus on how to handle day-to-day parenting choices, in which a child’s abilities or disabilities are not the most important factors. The booklet’s examples also apply to families of any culture, religion, living arrangement, economic status, and size. They address situations that all families experience, even if the specific family details are slightly different.

Let’s begin by learning the lessons that RPM3 has to teach.


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