College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Psychology and Child Development Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Psychology



Primary Advisor

Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti


Parenting is a role recognized across the world for centuries. It is complex and diverse, yet a common feature of cultures encompassing the majority of the world. Classifications of parenting characteristics, such as the attachment or overall parenting style, have been created to try and understand the inner-workings of the parent-child relationship. It has been shown that ethnicities, races, cultures, and/or socioeconomic classes must be taken into account when evaluating the usefulness of the various classifications. These differences in lifestyle carry diverse values and beliefs that are instilled in the family system, affecting preferred styles of parenting and their influences on the family unit. Keeping these variations in mind, it is important to look at what parental behaviors help foster positive and healthy child development. It has been found that positive and supportive parenting fosters a child’s positive self-esteem and aides in the development of a healthy self-image (Kernis, Brown, & Brody, 2000). On the other hand, critical and degrading parenting can lead to the decline of a child’s sense of worth. This makes the language that parents use with their children critical to their development. Research has also shown that open as well as supportive communication between parents and teens contributes to the prevention of risky behaviors in adolescence (Baxter, Bylund, Imes, & Routsong, 2009).

This project focuses on that positive language used with children and attempts to promote its practice to the parents with children enrolled at The Children’s Center, located on the Cal Poly Campus, San Luis Obispo. A video was made that focused on the use of concise and clear limits with the follow through of the adult that ultimately provided the child with a firm boundary in an empathetic fashion. The development of the child was taken into consideration as to what behaviors could be expected of the child at that stage. Throughout the video, tools were provided as to how the parent could be more clear and firm in the boundaries, yet still provide that supportive and positive communication that children need to develop. Filmed clips of teachers’ interactions with the children were included as examples of the type of language that could be used in boundary setting scenarios. These exchanges were situations in which the teacher was enforcing a limit that the child was testing. The hope is that this video will provide parents with new language they could use in day to day situations where their child is testing a limit or boundary. This new communication will hopefully enhance parents’ positive interactions with their children at home as well as foster a healthier life-long development of the child.