What is parenting?
Parenting is, at large, the process of raising a child and supporting as well as looking after the child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development from the stage of infancy to adulthood. Going by the words of Matt Walsh, “parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do,” parenting is a fulfilling and satisfactory journey, yet patience and calmness are important prerequisites for the same. There are many delicate processes involved in parenting which require a lot of skill and sensitivity. Your parenting has the capacity to both positively and negatively impact your child. The aim is to expand the positive impact as much as possible and minimize the negative impact that could occur unintentionally.
Good and Bad Parenting
Good parents pay attention and cater to their child’s health and safety needs, emotional needs, social needs, and intellectual curiosity for learning new things. They also promote the development in these areas.
A simple way to do this is to have a balance between affectionate, warm behaviour and setting clear restrictions and rules which you must be strict about to an extent. The best parenting style is one which meets all the child’s developmental needs for attachment ( acceptance, stability, safety, nurterence), to express feelings and needs, need to build identity through competence and autonomy, the understanding of limits and boundaries and lastly to encourage play and spontaneity. Good parents will make mistakes but the key characteristic of a good parent, they will repair.
Poor parenting skills can be seen in the two contrasting tendencies of parents. Some parents are overly involved in their child’s activities, are overprotective and do not allow for the space to grow for their child. They may be too strict, and stern and be a little cold. Another tendency that parents often have is being too uninvolved, too lenient, and too indifferent to their children. Both the authoritarian and neglectful parenting styles lead to similar consequences.
Permissive parenting is harmful, too, but may not lead to delinquency. In the end, parents do have to let their children explore their independence and failures and learn from their own experiences.
At the same time, it is simply unhealthy and unacceptable to avoid and overlook any of your child’s concerns and problematic behaviors just because it is uncomfortable for the parents.
Skills and Tips for good parenting
Good parenting we all know is easier said than done yet there are some parents skills which we will discuss that are important for good parenting and raising capable and happy children.
- Communication Skills: Communication skills are important to maintain and nurture any relationship. Listening to the children patiently, paraphrasing, being mindful of your own and the child’s verbal and nonverbal cues, and expressing properly and clearly what needs to be expressed are the basics of communication.
- Taking Care Of One’s Own Mental and Physical Health to Build A Resilient Personality and Model Good Behaviour: Self care and self development is crucial. If you do not work upon yourself then you will not be the kind of role model that your child needs. Parents are the people that young children spend the majority of their time with. Whatever you do and not do, however you think and act- it all makes a difference. Life has its own share of ups and downs and how parents deal with personality development and during times of distress, relaxation techniques, positive thinking must be practiced as this will not only help in dealing with stress but will instill positivity and hope in children.
- Do Not Forget To Express Enough Of Love and Affection: People from all walks of life and of all age groups crave love and children are no different. When a parent shows their love for children not only they feel happy and cheerful but they also start showing their love as love begets love. Spending quality time with children, watching films of their interest, getting actively involved in activities of their interest like painting, cricket, swimming , toys, taking them out for outings and telling them stories of olden days are some of the ways of showing love and affection to children.
- Positive Reinforcement is The Key: The idea that children can only be disciplined with intimidation and punishment is not only ineffectual but also harmful. Research has shownNegative reinforcement and punishment only create fears in your child’s mind and harm the relationship between you two. They learn unhelpful and unhealthy behaviours and thought patterns from this. Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, creates positive associations with the tasks that you require your child to perform, and your image in the child’s mind. This helps the child develop a better sense of self, practice more of good and healthy behaviours (and even unknowingly develop a liking for doing so) and strengthen the feelings of trust and love between you and them.
Principles of good parenting
Establish boundaries and set rules.
Remember that what is obvious to you may not be evident to a 12-year-old (or a preschooler, or even a high schooler for that matter). So, you must clearly establish boundaries and restrictions for your child. They must not be extravagant but must be reasonable, considering the safety and security of the child.
Avoid harsh discipline.
Of all the forms of punishment that parents use, the one with the worst side effects is any kind of harsh emotional, physical and psychological disciplinary actions Children who have seen such harsh measures, are more likely to be bullies and more likely to use aggression to solve disputes with others. Other than that, as stated earlier, it is best to go for positive reinforcement as negative reinforcement and punishment set the stage for growing mistrust and toxicity between you and the child. Yet we need to learn to be assertive and teach boundaries with a more healthy and constructive approach.
Be (not overly) involved in a child’s life.
Active involvement of a parent in a child’s life is important as the child isn’t completely mature yet and needs guidance and support during various stages of development. This ensures that your child grows up to be a confident individual. At the same time, do not indulge in helicopter parenting and do give your child the much needed privacy once they grow up enough. Children need brief periods of time when they can learn how to be on their own and figure themselves out, especially during adolescence. However, you must help them in making big life decisions, hear them out when they need you, and let them know that they can share anything with you and expect unconditional acceptance and non judgement from your end.
Express your ideals and positive expectations frequently.
Good parents have expectations they want their child to live up to. Clearly expressing such expectations helps the child develop a healthy positive sense of self esteem and drives him or her to work hard to fulfilling his or her dreams and achieving his or her goals.
Set clear limits.
Expression of love and warmth is important in a parent-child relationship but expressing too much of it may be more harmful than helpful for the child. The home environment is the first place for learning, and is supposed to be a simulation for the outside world; that is, a safe place where the child can experiment with coping strategies, develop the appropriate skills required to deal with the harshness of the world. If you do not let your child learn and experience life in its wholeness, then you might be raising up someone who might not be able to live up to their fullest potential. Some tough love and setting clear limits is a necessity.