Do you ever wonder, “What is an Effective Response to Parenting Problems?”


There is no one universal solution to each parenting challenge, because there are different reasons a problem can start. Yesterday, the three questions you learned to ask yourself will reveal why the problem is happening.


Today, you will use the answers to these questions to point you in the direction of an effective response. At each step of that response, you can pick and choose specific tools based on the needs of the child or situation involved.


So why not just answer the questions and then use that information to respond? Well there are five critical mistakes you could make that could result in an ineffective response:

  1. Using effective parenting tools in a random order. Certain tools are most effective when used in certain situations and before or after other tools. While you’re trying to figure out the magic combination, you’re getting more confused and frustrated!
  2. Skipping steps that can prevent the problem from starting or worsening, de-escalate the drama, resolve the core issue or redirect the misbehavior.
  3. Giving long lectures and/or quick punishment. Neither are effective on their own skip the most important steps for bringing more-permanent resolution to the problem.

That’s why it’s important to have a universal plan you can consistently follow in any parenting challenge — but can individualize to the specific needs of that child, parent or situation. When you use the Parents Toolshop® Universal Blueprint® “PASRR Effective-Response Formula,” you will:

  1. Follow a step-by-step plan for preventing or responding to parenting challenges.
  2. Each step you take¸ when responding, serves a very specific, strategic purpose, so you get maximum results.
  3. You take no more than 5 steps and say no more than 3-4 sentences, tops! Sometimes, you can even use just one word! Even at “the max,” those three sentences are so effective, they “cover the bases” and all you have to do is follow through consistently.

As you see the PASRR Formula work, you feel more confident, competent and free – free of overwhelming feelings, free of confusion, and free to fully enjoy parenting and your children again.


Remember your Mission from lesson 3?


Whenever there is a problem, you will …


STOP and THINK for 1-10 seconds,

PLAN an effective response and

DELIVER it effectively


During those 10 seconds, ask yourself the three questions you learned in the last lesson to figure out what type of problem you are facing. Then, to PLAN an effective response, you will need to know:


What you will SAY

What you will DO



This planned response may involve up to five steps, depending on the “type” of problem it is. These five steps are called the “PASRR (pronounced “passer”) Effective Response Formula”:


Prevent the problem from starting or worsening

When there’s a problem:

Here’s what to SAY

Acknowledge the child’s feelings

Set limits or express concerns

Here’s what to DO

Redirect misbehavior

Reveal discipline

Now, follow through!


Here’s the PASRR Formula as a decision-making flowchart:

Start PASSR Response


Usually, you can move through the formula in three to four sentences, tops! No more lectures or repeating yourself! Because this response formula covers ALL the bases, from prevention to discipline, you can actually prevent future misbehavior each time you use the steps in order. Even better, you can file ALL the effective parenting skills you have and learn into this response formula.


Now, here are the 3 questions and 5 steps together, the entire Universal Blueprint® Effective Response Formula at a glance:


Effective Response Formula


The following summary lists a few tools you can choose at each step. Later lessons explain some of these individual tools in details. You can use one, a few, or mix and match them. Just be sure not to skip steps and read the lessons on how to use the most important tools in the most effective way.  

(For more detailed information and examples of how to answer the 3 questions and take the five PASRR steps, get the session from the Lunch & Learn audio series called “The “No-Longer Secret” Recipe For Preventing And Resolving Problems.”

Step I. Prevent the problem from starting or worsening. Plan ahead. Tell children what they can do and notice when they do it. Offer children choices in limits and teach children the skills they need to be responsible and independent.


Because these tools prevent problems from starting or worsening, you can use them anytime.


Step II. Acknowledge the child’s feelings or perspective about the problem – before you share yours. In Parent problems, this may take half a sentence. In Child problems, you will use a three-step process to guide children through the process of discovering their own answers. This helps them learn how to solve problems responsibly and independently. (You’ll learn that tool in later lessons.)


If it’s a “Child” problem, stop at this step.


Step III. Set limits or express concerns. If this is a “Parent” problem, it will involve at least one SHARP RV issue (see the previous lesson), so calmly and respectfully bring this issue to the child’s attention. A few options are to describe what you see, feel or the possible negative outcome of the behavior. You can also use one word, write a note or give a non-verbal signal.


Just because a situation is a Parent problem does not mean the parent is automatically responsible for resolving the problem. The parent is responsible for bringing the problem to the child’s attention and making sure it gets solved — and the child may need to play a major role in the solution. 


If there is no Problem behavior, stop at this step.


Step IV. Redirect misbehavior. If there is PU misbehavior (Problem behavior that’s Unintentional), teach skills, have realistic expectations and understand it may take time for children to master the skills you are teaching. Don’t excuse this misbehavior, just understand it is unintentional and be sure your response teaches skills. For “On purpose” behavior, figure out what purpose the misbehavior serves for the child and show the child how to reach that goal through positive behavior.


Step V. Reveal discipline. Regardless of the “type” of misbehavior (PU or PO), you may need to set limits while children learn to behave. Do this in a way that teaches children the value of positive behavior. Focus on your child learning from mistakes instead of suffering for them. Teach children to be self-disciplined by holding them responsible for their behavior choices. You can show the child how to make amends or reveal consequences. (You’ll learn more options in a later lesson.)


(If you’d like a visual aid, get a diagram of The Universal Blueprint® that shows how the three questions and five steps work together to create an effective response.)


When you flow through the steps using two to four sentences in all, it sounds something like the following example. This example offers one option you could choose at each step.


Prevent the problem.

“You can (one acceptable option) or (another acceptable option). You decide.”

If a problem arises:

Acknowledge the child’s feelings or perspective.

“It (looks/sounds/seems) like you are feeling/wanting _____.”

Set limits or express concerns

(Negative behavior) can (state the negative effect/rule/value).”

Redirect misbehavior

“If you want to (what the child wants), you can (acceptable alternative) instead.”

Reveal discipline or take action

“If you choose to (negative behavior), I’ll know you’ve decided to (reveal discipline).”

If the child does it again, simply follow through!


Sometimes we move through the steps with each attempt to resolve a problem. Other times, we take the steps quickly, with each sentence (or half sentence).


The amazing thing about the PASRR formula is that it covers all the bases, from prevention through discipline. That’s why you usually only have to use it once and no more than a few times to completely eliminate a behavior, usually permanently!


Most parents only use two of the steps and don’t use them as effectively as they could; they express their concerns and threaten punishment.

· Because they skip prevention, the problem usually recurs.

· Because they don’t acknowledge feelings, the situation often escalates and the core issue isn’t resolved.

· And because they don’t redirect the behavior, the child either never learns better, the situation escalates or the misbehavior gets a payoff!


Once you know the tools to choose at each step and remember to take each step — either all at once in three sentences or one or two steps at a time — you’ll be surprised at the quick and lasting results you get!


The rest of the lessons in this 30-Day mini-course will offer practical language and action tools you can use at each step of the PASRR formula. These tools will help you accomplish the last part of your Mission:


Whenever there is a problem, I will …

STOP and THINK for 1-10 seconds,

PLAN an effective response and

DELIVER it effectively




Take a problem in which you’ve disciplined in the past or think could happen in the future. Follow the PASRR steps:

  1. Is there any way to prevent this problem from occurring again?
  2. If this happens again,
    1. What will you SAY?
      1. Acknowledge feelings
      2. Set limits or express concerns
    2. What will you DO?
      1. Redirect the misbehavior
      2. Reveal discipline
  3. Now follow through!


Here is a list of the recommended resources in this lesson:

· For more detailed information and examples of how to answer the 3 questions and take the 5 PASRR steps, get the session from the Lunch & Learn audio series called “The “No-Longer Secret” Recipe For Preventing And Resolving Problems.”

· If you’d like a visual aid, get a diagram of The Universal Blueprint® that shows how the three questions and five steps work together to create an effective response.