Second-Order Parenting

Second-order parenting refers to parenting behavior that changes the structure of the parent/child relationship.  The concept of second-order parenting introduces a third dimension of parenting in addition to nurturance and control, namely, the interaction or ecological dimension. The underlying premise is that much of parenting is indirect and the child’s behavior is an outcome of that interaction. Few models of parenting education focus on parenting as an interaction with the child beyond simply trying to get compliance. Parents are also part of the process rather than standing outside the child’s behavior as would be emphasized in the first-order parenting. Second-order parenting calls for implicit and indirect changes. Neuroscience lays the foundation for how implicit change takes place and how the brain directs these changes.

One of the main facets of second-order parenting is parents telling stories to their child and to use storytelling as a disciplinary technique. Storytelling is the most basic way of influencing children indirectly and perhaps the oldest form of human communication. It combines the cognitive function and all of the senses. As children listen to a story, their brains are immensely involved in the unfolding drama. A story has a surreal characteristic that puts a child in an altered state. This project will teach parents specific guidelines for telling stories to children that can affect their behavior and can also be used for correcting behavior.