Dr. Ken Resnick, Educational Psychologist and Founder of the SmartchoiceParenting Programme (SCPP), established in 2008. The principles of the SCPP are based on an educative adult-child relationship where the parent is the primary educator in guiding their child to adulthood while equipping both the adult and child with the skills needed in order for them to adequately succeed and flourish in their respective worlds.

It differs from all other researched and evidence-based parenting programmes which are aimed at assisting the parent in managing the child’s behaviour. The SCPP imparts knowledge and understanding to those who use it, explaining that it is the manner in which the child is parented that is at the core of virtually all developmental problems including learning disabilities and overall behaviour.

As an Educational psychologist at a co-educational school, Dr. Resnick has assessed over several hundred learners of varying ages, over a period of 30 years. Over the years Dr. Resnick has observed that learners often exhibited the following: low motivation, lack of perseverance, a tendency to opt out, a fear of failure and a lack of will in accepting a challenge.

These outcomes resulted in them forming a strong dependency on learning support, along with an accompanying feeling of low self-esteem. Dr. Resnick found a pattern of ‘learned helplessness’, which was also linked to children diagnosed with ‘barriers to learning’. In Dr. Resnick’s research, these learners came primarily from homes where the parents were either over-involved or over-controlling, where the children had been over-indulged, where there were no consistent rules or consequences, and where they were not shown how to take responsibility for themselves. From questions that Dr. Resnick put to parents, it seemed that clear rules with very consistent consequences were usually not present or understood by the child. This often resulted in inconsistent parenting and insecure and uncooperative children.

Through Dr. Resnicks studies, in evaluating the SCPP for his Doctorate, Dr. Resnick found a strong correlation between parenting styles and the healthy development of the child.

Dr. Resnick’s evidence based programme has shown that parents, as the primary educator, play a pivotal role in ensuring that their child develops into an independent, passionate and self-motivated individual who will be equipped to deal with the challenges that life presents. The SCPP focuses on helping parents understand that their style of parenting is at the core of virtually all of a child’s developmental problems, both behaviourally and academically. 

The Smartchoice Parenting Principles

  • Introduces the fact that it is an educative and not a psychological programme with a phenomenological and humanistic philosophy which focuses on the adult-child educative relationship in guiding the child to adulthood.
  • Informs parents that it is the quality of their parenting that is the key factor to the child’s healthy development.
  • Informs parents that, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the child also has a hierarchy of needs on their road to adulthood that have to be met by the parents in order for them to self-actualise.
  • Informs parents that it is an ‘Umbrella” programme in that there is no need for separate workshops to deal with specific issues such as Sibling Rivalry, Temper Tantrums, refusing to eat food etc. it has a ripple effect in resolving all behaviour and learning issues by equipping them with the tools to implement the structures of the SCPP.
  • Informs parents that the style in which they parent has everything to do with disorders ranging from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Encopresis and many others.
  • Introduces the essences of parenting: Mutual Trust, Mutual Understanding and Authority.
  • Clarifies the distinction between authority with coercion, and authority with knowledge and understanding.
  • Reveals that a child whose behaviour is unacceptable is a result of inappropriate parenting.
  • Teaches that children’s inappropriate behaviour is brought about by the choices that they make.
  • Reveals that everything a child does is a choice.
  • Eliminates the word ‘punishment’ from a parent’s vocabulary and introduces the concept that clear rules nave to be implemented with clearly spelt out consequences when a child chooses to break a rule.
  • Ensures that the child learns from the consequences of their choices.
  • Empowers parents to empower their child while maintaining their authority in a calm manner.
  • Teaches and shows parent how to ensure that their child owns their problem.
  • Introduces the concept ‘If a child can, they must”.
  • Indicates the importance of parenting, it also indicates what inappropriate parenting is
  • Offers real and measurable tools for parents to stay in control in a calm manner
  • Establish clear boundaries and structure in the home, and removes chaos

Parenting Decoded

Disciplining kids in the digital age

South African COVID-19 Portal