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February 2003
PARENT-CHILD CHECKLIST FOR RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
By Dorothea McArthur, Ph.D.

So many parents are working full time while raising one or more children. It is admittedly difficult to handle both jobs simultaneously, especially when the number of hours at work appears to increase and our commute to work takes longer. Modern technology such as cell phones, internet and fax machines are impinging upon our private family time. How are we able to give our children enough time, support and care?

Sometimes it is a help to have an outside measure to provide a frame of reference regarding experiences we are having with our children to see how we are doing. The checklist presented below also gives parents a way to talk with children about what they think parents are doing to support them.

Perfect parenting is not achievable, but „good enough parenting „ is more realistic. This checklist does not give you a passing or failing score, but is does give you a way to look at what is happening within your family for the purpose of raising psychologically healthy children.

The Parent-child Checklist is 50 statements for parents and children to score. It is a list of possibilities that contribute to the making of whole and nourishing families. You may disagree with some of the items or feel some are unnecessary or impossible. Each item is there for you to discuss among yourselves as a family. You can score it easily in 15 minutes.

  • Consider each statement, and write T if it is true and F is it is false.
  • If you are a child and live part of the week with Mom and part of the week with Dad, you will need to fill out the questionnaire twice; one for each parent.
  • If you are a parent, compare your answers with your children‚s answers. Talk with your family about the 50 statements trying to resolves scores that may be contradictory.
  • Notice that some items carry a score of (2) because they seem more essential. Other items are assigned a score of (1) as recommended.
  • As a family, if you scored more statements with a F than T, you may have reason to be concerned. You can handle your concern by picking three items and see if you can design a new behavior to make your score true.
  • Parents, listen to your children carefully because they know what they need. Children listen to your parents because they know what they can give to you. See what you all can do , as a family, to increase the number of T scores and decrease the number of F scores.
  • As a society, I feel that we need to give more time to our children both at home and at school. When we do, our children will grow in a healthy direction and have much to give back for the purpose of sustaining society as a whole.
  • Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any questions or concerns.
Children (age 9-12) and Teenager Checklist on Family Health:
Created by Dorothea McArthur, PhD, ABPP
2362 Cove Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039-3123
(323) 663-2340

Directions: Please read each question and mark it with a true or false. If your parents live separately and respond differently to you, you many choose to fill out a separate column for each parent.

Mom     Dad
____1.____ I have at least two parents or other grownup family members whom I know care about me. ( 2 )
____2.____ My parents are able to buy the clothes and supplies I need to study, be with friends, and participate in outside activities. ( 1 )
____3.____ I have one or two meals a day with my family. ( 2 )
____4.____ We do some activities as a family on weekends, holidays and vacations. ( 2 )
____5.____ I know how to reach at least one parents at work; this parent talks with me or can come and get me if I am ill, have a problem, or emergency. ( 2 )
____6.____ My parents know where I am at all times. ( 1 )
____7.____ I have an activity after school that holds my interest. ( 1 )
____8.____ My parents are home in the evening most nights to have dinner together, talk with me and help me with my homework if needed. ( 2 )
____9.____ My parents encourage me to grow up with positive support and compliments rather than being negative or critical. ( 1 )
____10.___ My parents are interested in what I am doing and thinking. They ask me many respectful questions. They listen to my answers. ( 1 )
____11.___ My parents notice and talk with me when I feel bad or have been hurt. ( 1 )
____12.___ I do at least three family chores per day. ( 1 )
____13.___ Sometimes we do family chores together such as working in the yard, or preparing for and cleaning up after meals. ( 1 )
____14.___ My parents know my friends and they are welcome to visit. ( 1 )
____15.___ If I have a friend in trouble, I think it best to tell my parents so they can help my friend to get help or solve the problem. ( 1 )
____16.___My family gets at least seven hours of sleep at night. ( 1 )
____17.___My parents take me places, attending my school meetings and outside activities. ( 2 )
____18.____ Our television is not on all day long. (1)
____19.____ We do not watch television during meals. Instead we talk and listen to each other and solve family problems. ( 1 )
____20.____ I watch less than two hours a day of TV. ( 1 )
____21.____ I watch TV programs that have some meaning and are not very sexual or violent. ( 1 )
____22.____ I spend less than one half hour a day on computer games. ( 1 )
____23.___ I am not allowed to buy violent computer games. ( 2 )
____24.___ I use the internet for educational, research, and friendship purposes only. ( 2 )
____25.___ My parents watch and are aware of my TV, computer game and internet use. ( 2 )
____26.___ My parents do not spend so much time with TV, internet, or computer that they do not have time for me. ( 2 )
____27.___I do not have a substance abuse problem. ( 2 )
____28.___I do not belong to a gang. ( 2 )
____29.___My parents trust me to make my own mistakes as one way of learning to be successful. (1)
____30.___I do not feel the need to lock myself in my room. ( 1 )
____31.___I have privacy in my room unless I am doing something really wrong. ( 1 )
____32.___My parents have a few rules that we are expected to follow at all times. ( 1 )
____33.___My parents have taught me not to ridicule others. ( 1 )
____34.___My parents teach me about right and wrong and honesty. ( 2 )
____35.___My parents do not hit, slap, punch or spank me. ( 2 )
____36.___My parents are interested in books about parenting or parenting classes. ( 2 )
____37.___ My parents have one night a week when they get to go out without kids. (1)
____38.___I know that my parents love me, and that they are glad to be my parents. ( 2 )
____39.___I know that my parents are proud of me. ( 2 )
____40.___I have memories, photographs and videos of happy family times. ( 1 )
____41.___My parents work hard, but they still have time for me. ( 1 )
____42.___I wish that my parents did not have to work so many hours. ( 2 )
____43.___My parents also have to take care of my grandparents. ( 1 )
____44.___ My parents are there for me. They are not distracted by alcohol, or drugs. ( 2 )
____45.___My teachers know who I am and are teaching me in an interesting and engaging manner. ( 2 )
____46.___I enjoy school and feel at home there. ( 2 )
____47.___I am trying hard and doing well in school. ( 2 )
____48.___I have not lied on any question on this questionnaire. ( 1 )
____49.___I see most of these statements as important. ( 1 )
____50.___I am pleased with the number of „true š answers that I have. ( 1 )

© D S McArthur, PhD, May 1999

Parent Checklist for Raising Healthy Children and Teenagers:
Created by Dorothea McArthur, PhD, ABPP
2362 Cove Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039-3123
(323) 663-2340

Directions: Please read each statement and respond with a true or false. If you live separately, you may wish fill in your column or both columns. If you live with your spouse, fill out one column.

Mom     Dad
____1.___ I believe that my kid(s) know that I and one other extended family member really care about him/her. ( 2 )
____2.___I am able to purchase the clothes and school supplies needed for my children to develop academically and socially. ( 1 )
____3.___ We have one to two meals together daily as a family. ( 1 )
____4.___ We do some activities as a family on weekends, holidays, and vacations. ( 1 )
____5.___ My kid(s) know how to reach at least one parent at work. This parent is available to talk and/or come and get my kids in case of a problem, illness or emergency. ( 2 )
____6.___ I believe that I know where my kid(s) are at all times. ( 1 )
____7.___My kid(s) have activities after school that hold their interest. ( 1 )
____8.___I am available most evenings to have dinner as a family, to help my kids with homework and to talk with them. ( 2 )
____9.___I make a real effort to encourage my kid(s) with positive support and compliments which changes behavior rather than being negative and critical which only temporarily stops behavior. ( 1 )
____10.___I am interested in what my kid(s) are doing. I ask questions, listen carefully, and validate good answers. ( 1 )
____11.___I notice and talk with my kid(s) if they are troubled or hurt. ( 1 )
____12.___I insist that my kid(s) do at least three family chores per day. ( 1 )
____13.___ Sometimes we do family chores together such as working in the yard, or preparing a meal and cleaning up together. ( 1 )
____14.___I have met my kid'(s) friends and they are welcome to visit. ( 1 )
____15.___My kid(s) will tell me if one of their friends is unhappy or in trouble so that we might be of help. ( 1 )
____16.___Most of the time, our family is able to get seven to eight hours sleep at night. ( 1 )
____17.___ I, or my spouse, am available to transport my children, observe school performances and attend parent meetings. ( 2 )
____18._____ Our TV is not on all day long. ( 2 )
____19.___ Our TV is not on during meal times. Instead we have family time every day where we can all share what happened that day. We can talk about triumphs, problems and concerns. ( 1 )
____20.___ Our kids are not allowed to watch more than one or two hours of TV per day. ( 1 )
____21.___ We watch TV programs that have some educational value and are not aggressively sexual or violent. ( 1 )
____22.___ I only allow computer games for 15-30 minutes per day. ( 1 )
____23.___Violent computer games are not allowed in our home. ( 2 )
____24.___My kid(s)use the internet for educational, research, and friendship purposes only. ( 2 )
____25.___I am aware of and supervise my kid(s) TV, computer and internet use. ( 2 )
____26.___No one in our family is excessively involved with the internet, computer games or TV. ( 2 )
____27.___My kids obey the family rule of no substance abuse. ( 2 )
____28.___My kids show no sign of being in a gang. ( 2 )
____29.___I trust my kid(s) to make their own mistakes and learn from them. ( 1 )
____30.___My kid(s) do not lock themselves in their rooms. ( 1 )
____31.___My kids' rooms are private unless I feel that they are doing something that is really wrong. ( 1 )
____32.___We have a few important rules that we expect our children to honor. ( 1 )
____33.___I teach my children not to ridicule others. ( 1 )
____34.___I make sure to teach my children about values, honesty and integrity. ( 2 )
____35___I do not hit, slap, or spank my children. ( 2 )
____36.___I am interested in books about parenting or parenting classes. ( 2 )
____37.___I get out one night a week without children with my spouse/ girlfriend/friend. ( 1 )
____38.___I express my love for my child openly both verbally and nonverbally. ( 1 )
____39.___I am proud of my children. I tell them that I feel privileged to be their parent. ( 1 )
____40.___We have memories, photographs and/ videos of happy times together as a family. ( 1 )
____41.___I work hard but I still have time for my family. ( 1 )
____42.___I feel that work is demanding too many hours of work; I would like more opportunities for flex time and shared positions so that I did not feel so pressured. ( 2 )
____43.___I am also taking responsibility for aging adults in addition to my parenting responsibilities and my work. ( 1 )
____44____As a parent, I make sure that I am not addicted to any substance or behavior. ( 2 )
____45.___My children are reporting that their teachers know who they are, are teaching them in an interesting and engaging manner. ( 2 )
____46.___My children seem to enjoy school and feel at home there. ( 2 )
____47.___ My kids are trying hard and doing well in school. ( 2 )
____48.___I have not lied on any question on this questionnaire. ( 1 )
____49.___I see most of these issues as important and relevant. ( 1 )
____50.___I am pleased with the number of "true" answers that I have on this questionnaire. ( 1 )

© D S McArthur, PhD, May 1999

Dr. McArthur is a psychotherapist in practice in Los Angeles. She is the President of the Independent Psychotherapy Network.

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