Basics of Parenting

Basics Of Parenting

            Today, the one and the only question that is in the minds of everybody is “where are the youth of this generation going?” as the lifestyle and values of the youth is bothering the society to say the least. Though the  problems created by the youth and the problems faced by them are innumerable, it is not the state of affairs of the youth alone that is causing anxiety. The baby on its way into this world, new born babies and the children in different stages of growth  also face and cause problems. While trying to find the root cause of the problem it is the parents who are blamed for it, most of the time.   Though they are not the sole cause, they have a major role to play.   Their success in parenting depends on the kind of parents they are, their environment, the support from the family, the possibility of getting trained for parent hood, the level of education, the nature of the child concerned etc.,. The problems, mostly psychological, would vanish with proper  parenting.  In the early days, people mostly lived in joint families.  The experience and advice the young parents received from the elders, parents, aunts, grand parents, uncles, guided them in the process of parenting.  The children also had many people to support them, to allow them to vent their feelings and  to learn the probable ways of findings solutions to their problems.

True Story

            While talking to a group of adolescent girls shocking messages came to light.   Many of the adolescent girls were having illicit relationship with auto drivers with whom they were coming to school.   Deeper analysis brought out the fact that these girls were longing for love from their parents.    When an iota of love or something akin to it is shown by the auto driver, they easily fall a prey to the former’s devious designs; of course they suffer later when they find it difficult to extricate themselves from the driver’s clutches.    Only the parents can help these children.    One of the great, noble traits of parenthood is love  and that alone can cure many ills faced by the children and youth. It can help the girls to retrieve themselves1.

            In yet another instance, a 5 years old orphan boy in a care centre for the AIDS infected persons   stunned the onlookers by saying that if his father had had proper parenting, he would not have gone astray and ended with AIDS, infecting his mother too2. Even this small lad knows the importance of parenthood.   Everyone knows about parenting and follow the kind of parenting demonstrated by their parents or that which they have learnt through courses or training or advice given by psychologists or gurus.

Styles of Parenting:

            Just as there are different types of human beings, there are different types of styles of parents.    The parents’ style influences the level and kind of development of the child.    Whatever may be the style of parenting the essentials to be looked into are, “Express your love, make your child feel secure. Build their self-esteem. Stay flexible and recognize the time for change as your child grows. Communicate openly and honestly and be confident  in your own ability”3. When you talk to your child, you should be actually listening not just hearing.

            There are different types of parenting, such as “Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive4”.   Parents who are very clear about their role and give instructions with confidence can be considered as Authoritative.   The Reader’s Digest Great Dictionary of the English language shows that authoritative means commanding and self confident, while authoritarian implies, favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority5.  It is similar to dictatorship.

            Another variety of parenting is known as permissive.  These parents allow their children to follow their own path, mostly non-interfering.   It is similar to saying, “let the sleeping dogs lie” as they are.   These parents do not want to follow any strict rules or take up much responsibility in bringing up their children.   There is another mode of classifying the parents.   According to this classification, there are three types of parents, such as Consultant, Helicopter, Dull Sergeants6.

Three Types of Parents

           

CONSULTANT

 

HELICOPTER

 

DRILL SERGEANT

 

This Love and Logic parent provides guidance and consultant services for children

 

This parent hovers over children and rescues them from the hostile world in which they live.

 

This parent commands and directs the lives of children.

1.

The Love and Logic parent provides messages of personal worth and strength

1.

provides messages of weakness and low personal worth

1.

provides messages of low personal worth and resistance

2.

The Love and Logic parent very seldom mentions responsibilities

2.

makes excuses for the child, but complains about mishandled responsibilities

2.

makes lots of demands and has lots of expectations about responsibility.

3.

The Love and Logic parent demonstrates how to take care of self and be responsible

3.

“takes on” the responsibility of the child

3.

tells the child how he /she should handle responsibility

4.

The Love and Logic parent shares personal feelings about own performance and responsibilities

4.

protects the child from any possible negative feelings

4.

tells the child how he / she should feel

5.

The Love and Logic parent provides and helps child explore alternatives and then allows child to make his / her own decision

5.

makes decisions for the child

5.

provides absolutes : “This is the decision you should make”.

6.

The Love and Logic parent provides “time frames” in which child may complete responsibilities

6.

provides no structure, but complaints, “After all I’ve done for you…”

6.

demands that jobs or responsibilities be done now

7.

The Love and Logic parent models doing a good job, finishing, cleaning up, feeling good about it.

7.

whines and uses guilt : “When are you ever going to learn.   I always have to clean up after you.”

7.

issues orders and threats: “You get that room cleaned up or else…”

8.

The Love and Logic parent often asks self, “Who owns the problem?” helps the child explore solutions to his / her problem

8.

whines and complains about having an irresponsible child who causes “me” much work and responsibility

8.

takes over ownership of the problem using threats and orders to solve the problem

9.

The Love and Logic parent uses lots of actions, but very few words

9.

uses lots of words and actions that rescue or indicate that the child is not capable or responsible

9.

uses lots of harsh words, very few actions

10.

The Love and Logic parent allows child to experience life’s natural consequences and allows them to serve as the teacher

10.

protects child from natural consequences, uses guilt as the teacher

10.

uses punishment; pain and humiliation can serve as the teacher.

Source: http://www.loveandlogic.com/pdfs/threetypes.pdf

One way to identify the kind of parents is by analyzing the kind of gifts they give to their children in order to make them do any specific activity.  Some parents have a survival mentality; they give their child “whatever” just to make them do the job. Some parents operate with a default mentality.    They give their child what is popular without considering whether it will be the most helpful. In actual practice the parent should be operating deliberately and purposefully, giving the child what is useful after carefully thinking through.    They are usually known as “intentional parents” 7.   Depending on what kind or type of parents they are, the goals, and gifts also change.    In the case of permissive parents, the guiding motive will be, “If I can just make it through the child – rearing years, I can get my life back”.   Their goal will be “jilting the kids out of the house”.  They follow the easiest method of doing whatever is easy to do.  Hence, they use bribes, threats and use TV as a baby sitter8.

            On the other hand, those “who want to give the child what will be best and most helpful for him”, will have the goal of preparing the child for life as a productive adult. They would spend quality time with the child, imparting ethical values to the child.  The gifts given by such parents would be, “religious books, enjoyable pastimes, academics, home skills and chances for socialization” 9.

            If a child is to be successful in life, the appropriate parental care is necessary.    But, of course, there are children who grow up into successful adults, in spite of defective parenting.   But such cases are very rare.   The society at present is facing problems of parenting especially in the case of single parent, divorced parents, simple and extended families. Most of the children brought up by single parent and unmarried mothers, find it difficult to cope with the pressures in the family and society.

Parenting Skills:

            With, hectic work schedule of the parents, the heavy load of learning coupled with  many distractions and the problems faced by the society, the children are looking for the support of their parents for a secure life.    It is ordinarily observed that parenting without proper foundation has always and indefinitely led to confusions in  child development.    What is essential is

Ø  Developing and clarifying clear communicative expectations.

Ø  Staying calm in the midst of turmoil

Ø  Encouraging positive consequences and consistency.

Ø  Being the role model to your child.

Ø  Effective praising.10

           

To be a successful parent discipline is necessary.  At the same time, there should be consistency in whatever the parents are saying and doing, parents should have a preplanned, pre-developed strategy to teach proper behaviour to the child. That is, both the parents,or the single parent should make their expectations clear to the child. , Both of them can sail smoothly while bringing up their child.    They should be very specific and firm in teaching their children. Moreover, the parents must take into consideration the child’s age, ability, developmental status and the resources that are available for the family.11   Once the expectations are clearly stated, it is necessary that both the parents should communicate it to the child, without contradictions.    In addition to these, there should be frequent family ‘get togethers’.  Instead of punishing the child for not abiding by the expectations, it will be better to have discussions to clear the child’s doubts and parents being role models.

            Ray Burke states that “Children can be sarcastic, defiant, rebellious and possibly violent, parents have to prepare themselves for times like these and learn to keep cool” 12.   Yet another way to increase or encourage desirable behavior is to use positive consequences.    What the parents should remember is to use the positive consequences that would work with the child.   While developing a child’s behavior the parents should remember “consistency”.    Consistency is the key to being a successful parent.    This gives the message to the child that “your parents are reliable and serious”.

            The most important aspect of successful parents is that the parents should be role model for their child 13. The parent should be a positive role model for their child to follow.    As Ray Burke say, “Praise is powerful…. Praise is nourishment.   It helps in the emotional development.  It helps in building up self-esteem, belief of personal satisfaction, feeling of security.”14    The praise should be communicated to the child either verbally or through action.

Parenting Skills :

Ø  Discipline

Ø  Education

Ø  Finance

With the social changes,  the extended family that existed earlier, which played the vital role of a model, a shock absorber, a vent for relieving one’s feelings has become a thing of the past.   Hence, the parents of the modern era have to learn creative ways of bringing up their children.   It is found that the most important but controversial parenting skills is DISCIPLINE.   Whether the method is, redirection, time-outs, loss of privileges, grounding, extra chores, or sparking, the parents should embrace their role to train their children to become moral and respectable adults15. The second skill to be acquired by the parents is regarding education.  The parents should also be educating their children in moral values.   The child’s education should take into consideration certain important facts16:

v  Family’s financial status.

v  Quality of local public and private schools.

v  Level of parental education.

v  Personalities of parents and children.

v  Home schooling support and resources.

v  The involvement of the parents in the child’s education.

Besides education, one of the important parenting skills is the effective way of dealing with financial issues.    The demand for expenditure for rearing the child, medical, hygienic needs etc. are soaring high today.     Hence, a successful parent should know what is essential and what is not before deciding upon the expenditure of the limited resources.

Conclusion

            There is no doubt that children bring us much joy and much responsibility.   Most of the stress and worry of bringing them up can be reduced or removed with proper, careful planning.    The parents should plan when to have a child.   The working mother, if she is to stay at home, once the child is born, should plan earlier to save as much as possible and cut down the family expenditure.   Both the parents have to plan to set aside enough time to be with the child, not only when it is a baby, but till the child becomes an adult.

             The parents, need not be only the problematic, should avail of training in parenting skill as much as possible. First of all, both parents should have a congenial and frank communication between them.   Only then, once the child comes into the family, they will be able to communicate with the child easily.   Further the “ego”, the concept of “I” should be relegated to the background.    It is possible that the child becomes sick at times mildly, at times seriously.    Both the parents should take responsibility of looking after the child, not blaming each other as the cause of sickness.    The child rearing, though filled with difficulties, hurdles and events that test one’s tolerance, is undoubtedly a pleasure.  It is a joy.   A successful parent should know how to smile.    That will reduce the stress and pain of the child.    As it grows into adolescent stage, the skills of the parents should be developed further.    They should know more about the physique, the psychology and mental development of the child.

            It should be remembered that the requisites of  an effective parent are dedication, attention, love and constant denial of easily administering swift punishment. Though parenting is time consuming, the fruits are very attractive.    The future generation and its success depends on the effective, successful and cheerful parents of today to a great extent.

END NOTES

1.       Author’s personal experience

2.       Ibid.

3.       http://www.raisingkids.co.uk 10.14.2008

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/614981/authoritative_authoritarian_and_permissive.html
The Great Dictionary of English Language (Readers Digest Association Limited, London, 2003) p.56, 57
Three Types of Parents: Love and Logic institute – www.loveandlogic.com 1981.
http://intentionalparents.com/types-of-parents/ p.1
Ibid. p.2.
Ibid.p.2
http://allp
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