Parenting Tips from Dr. Thomas Finn

Clinical Psychologist, Franciscan Life Center

National Parenting Day is coming up on Sunday, July 26. Here are some helpful parenting tips from Dr. Finn.

Help your children to develop two expectations:

  • An expectation of Value (I am loved and important; my contributions matter.)
  • An expectation of Accountability (My actions have meaningful consequences.)

Develop these expectations through a family climate balanced with warmth and firmness:


  • Fun
  • Play
  • Affection
  • Time
  • Calmness
  • Meals
  • Rituals
  • Affirmation
  • Safety
  • Gentleness


  • Rules
  • Structure
  • Expectations
  • Consistency
  • Respect
  • Consequences
  • Boundaries
  • Stability

Guidelines to follow:

  • Keep open communication channels marked by acceptance of thoughts and feelings.
  • Model the behavior you want to see in your kids.
  • Give clear instructions.
  • Be consistent with expectations, rules and consequences.
  • Follow through on the things you say you will do.
  • Control your own emotions especially in discipline situations.

“Children are aware of our joys, our sadness and our worries…. They pick up on everything; they notice everything and, given that they are very, very intuitive, they draw their conclusions and take in their lessons.  That is why one of the first things I would say to you is: take care of them, take care of their hearts, their joys, and their hopes.”

Pope Francis

Weekly General Audience March, 2017