‘How to raise children’ is one of the thematic areas which the organization I am involved partly as an employee is concerned with. Few days back I was told to write a short paper on parents and children relationships from Psychological perspectives. Since then, I actually wanted to write an article about it and here I am trying to jot down facts and my understanding regarding Parenting.
Being interested in exploring many of the psychological topics, I have encountered with this topic several times. Besides my learning, what motivates to write on this topic is my observation on my closed ones on Parenting.
It is one of the amazing relationships in this world. But if you are a dad or mom reading this, are you doing your job properly? Are you rearing a child in such a way he/she has to be nurtured or you are manifesting the rearing pattern your parents taught you?
And, if you are son or daughter reading this, how aware you are to the relationship you have with your parents?
And, if you are soon to be parents, you must have many confusions and excitement about the topic, so this article might interest you, no?
Firstly, Were you aware about types of Parenting? IF NOT, Here are they:
Authoritarian parenting is where parents establish the rules and expect that children will follow them without exception. Children have little to no involvement in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. They expect to have total control over their children. They do not want to have conversation with children.
For example, if you are coming home and saying ‘Finish your homework, eat food and have a good night sleep, it is necessary for your next good day in school which will lead you the best grade at class’. Be aware you might be following this parenting style.
Authoritative parents also have rules that children are expected to follow, however, they allow some exceptions to the rule. They often tell children the reasons for the rules and they are more willing to consider a child’s feelings when setting limits.
They are more forgiving and less punishing to children. They have conversation and work together with children.
For instance, if you are saying ‘Hey baby, how was your school? How was your grade? I trust you my baby. I am sure you have done as per your capacity. Come, let’s have dinner together’. If your conversation sounds like this, you might be following this style of parenting.
Permissive parents don’t offer much discipline. They tend to be lenient and may only step in when there is a serious problem. There may be few consequences for misbehavior because parents have an attitude of “kids will be kids.”
They are excessively democratic. They have lower expectation from the children and overly indulgent towards their kids.
If you are saying, ‘Hey my boy, so you got D in class today? No worries do whatever you want to do. So want to play video game today? Come let’s do my boy. I love you’. If your conversation sounds like this, you might be a Permissive Parent.
Uninvolved parents tend to be neglectful. They often do not meet their children’s basic needs and may expect children to raise themselves. They may also lack knowledge about parenting and child development or may feel overwhelmed by life’s other problems.
Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing. There tends to be few, if any, rules or expectations. Children may not receive any nurturing or guidance and they lack the much needed parental attention. They are very less communicative with their children.
If you come home, go to your room and sleep and do not talk, and if you are following this pattern quite often within realizing what your children expect from you, you might be an uninvolved Parent.
THESE ARE OVERVIEW OF PARENTING STYLES FROM THE INVESTIGATION OF PSYCHOLOGIST DIANA BAUMRIND.
Each parenting styles can lead to some problem because of its style of parenting except one (you might have guessed which one?). Yes, authoritative Parenting helps to make child grow up being responsible and friendly. While authoritarian parenting can lead to being aggressive children and permissive can lead children to have low self esteem and uninvolved parenting can lead to some behavioral problems and also low success rate academically.
Now it’s up to you, which parenting style you are sticking to, to make your child grow properly.
NOW, when we are talking about relationships, there should be myths. So, here are some which I get to listen in many occasions:
1) Parents should never say NO to children.
I have heard plenty of time that if a father or mother says NO to children, they might grow hostility so it never good to say NO to them.
THIS IS A MYTH! You should be able to logically make your child understand if your reply is NO. This will foster the sense of acceptance and understanding in your children.
2) Children are fragile, so they should never let them alone.
If your children are potential to harm, then do not leave them alone. But just because they are child that doesn’t mean they do not need alone time. If you set them free and let them emotionally rebound at times, they will be fine and bounce back to normal soon.
3) Children are more close to mom, so dads are optional while parenting.
Yes, kids are more closed to their mom as she spends much time feeding and taking care of them. But dad is equally important for proper development and nurturing of any kid. A child without father figure can grow having low self esteem, emotionally vulnerable. So, dad and mom equally play vital role and nobody is optional.
4) Children are Friends and must be treated like friends only.
I have heard about this from many parents who believe in positive parenting. It’s good to be friends but only being friends is not enough in the growth of children. Parenting or Parent children relationship is one of the most unique relationships and they should embrace it. Being friends can make a parents over indulgent or under indulgent and can lead to problem in their unique relationship. Friendship is a part associated with guidance, trust and respect.
5) Parents should accept the tantrums and misbehavior just because they are children.
I have seen several times a kid through tantrums to get his favorite chocolate in malls or shops and parents buying them irrespective of the choices of their demands. Most of them might be thinking they are just a child who will understand the better choices with time when they grow up. But this can be alarming for any children’s growth. If you fulfill all their tantrums, they will be demanding more other day. So make logical choices and learn to tell NO or avoid their wishes when necessary.
6) Comparing your children to others will encourage them to act better:
This is the mistake most of the parents make, at least in our Nepali culture. If you are saying your toddler or your teen child ‘Behave properly, see how your uncle’s daughter do every time we go their home’ or ‘What’s wrong with your grade, see your friend’s?’…IF you are repeating such things, trust me, this is a huge mistake you are making. Comparing a child with any other will make degrade their self-esteem rather than enhancing it. This might also lead to sibling rivalry if you are comparing between your children within your family.
So, Comparing can motivate your kid is a big myth in parenting which you should be well aware of. Everyone is unique in their own way! Believe them and help them enhance their uniqueness rather than wanting them to be somebody else.
THESE ARE SOME MYTHS WHICH I CAME ACROSS KNOWING AND NOTICING AROUND.
Now, another question arises regarding this topic ‘What should Parents consider while raising their children?’.
Have you heard about Nurture? It means fostering or bringing up. And, it matters to every kid you grow up. Proper nurturing can lead to a well developed kid (mentally and physically).
As each children come in contact with parents from very beginning, proper consideration in raising them matters. It’s not simple job (if you are parent, you must be knowing that better than me), it costs you many things but it totally worth, don’t you think so??
So, here are some things which I believe should be considered while raising any children:
1) Proper Communication with children:
Parents should be communicating with children like adult or friend. They should be taught wrong and right from the early childhood. They should be given opportunities to choose their own ways. They should be included in the decision making process from the time they can have their say. This will make them confident and competent.
2) Providing opportunities to develop personality and boost confidence:
Children should be given with ample opportunities to grow their personality. They should be allowed to choose their interests. And one thing that must be consider while boosting confidence is ‘self-image’. Parents should never give negative self-image like ‘You are black so you are not beautiful’, ‘your sister is much smarter than you, be like her’. As a parent it’s better to encourage special skills rather than comparing and hindering their self image.
3) Let your children to socialize more.
Most of our parents think children as a kid and not matured enough to make friends which doesn’t seem true most of the times. Rather they should be given opportunities to make friends and socialize; it will add more colors to their life and helps in their healthy growth aswell. If parents get engaged in their socialization process themselves, it can be better for kid and even to the relationship between parents and kid.
4) Try to make them independent from the early age.
I am not referring to tell kid to go to market and buy snacks for yourself, but letting them choose their clothes sometimes. It will give them sense of independency and responsibility. Also, giving them pocket money and letting them spend on the necessities can be one good way to teach them the worth of money and also the independency.
5) If children throw tantrums, it’s better to avoid or ignore rather than fulfilling them.
IF children demand unnecessarily, ignore the wish or tell them properly that their demand is not appropriate. Fulfilling their unwanted wish every time can make them stubborn and lead to more problematic teenage. If they show anger or tantrums, ignore them for sometimes. It will make them realize that whatever they are doing is not good. Fulfilling their demand every time can make you permissive parent and which can make your child over indulgent and dependent on you and also aggressive when they do not get what they wish for next time.
6) Avoid Physical punishment and verbal abuse to children. Rather reward system (Reinforcement) can be one good way to encourage them.
You can set a reward every time they achieve something.
For example, if you want your children brush their teeth every night, then reward them every time they do so. This is positive reinforcement and this can encourage them to do the same next time.
Another example could be,parent might want their child to stop screaming while at the departmental store. Through reinforcement, the parent would discourage this behavior by rewarding the child when he or she went to the grocery store and did not scream.
But instead if you punish if he/she screams and take their toy away or beat them, they will be more aggressive and can be louder and more aggressive.
Most of the times, parents want to decrease the frequency of a child’s undesirable behavior. Here, rather than punishing them (which will suppress the behavior) use reinforcement technique.
So, using reinforcement is one good way to help to change their undesirable reaction into desirable.
7) Listen to Children.
This is very important which parent miss our most of the time thinking they are just kid. Yes, they are kid but they are human as well and they can think and they expect their parent to be with them. So, give undivided attention to them and listen properly. Listening will help you to get connected with your child more and also to make your child feel more accepted. This can boost their confidence and make your children better. Also listening attentively can also help to realize their problem help them to tackle it. So, Listen More!
8) Spend Time Together.
Parent-children relationship is the most unique and beautiful relationship. You won’t get the same kid after s/he reaches their different stage of life. If you want to share your values, want to make them the person you wish to see, spend more time with them. Have dinner together, share your stories, read out to them, go out and hang out to them as friends do. Do things together, this will help to pass your values, your family values to your kid. Also, this will help to foster your relationships beautifully. But do not forget to consider all the above points while spending time with them.
Since, Parenting is a very important role each individual plays in their life time. Everyone wants to be the best of parents in their capacity but sometimes our old beliefs or how we were raised in our time might be stopping us to be better.
And I am sure (if you are already a parent) you know much more than what I have written here. Because this kind of information you better learn with experiences. So, next time when you play your part as parent, do not forget to consider the points from here which you believe are good and also do not forget to use your instincts of good parenting.
Child is the change maker. Be a good parent. Be a reason of Change. Good Luck!