Art of Parenting – “a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science.”
Bruno Bettelheim, a prominent child psychologist once said “raising children is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science.” What he meant was that parenting is a process that traverses its own path in every parent child relationship. It isn’t a set of rules and notions that need to be followed. Rather, it is something that comes intuitively and naturally to every parent.
There exists an unspoken bond between them which all parents endeavor to preserve. But what can we do to ensure that we have been “good parents”?
First the aura around being “good” or “ideal” parents needs to be dispelled. What we need to understand is that none of us were born parents. We are all born children. And that is the thread that we need to hold onto. We tend to forget our childhoods when our own children are born. We inadvertently assume the “responsibilities” of adulthood. It is perhaps here that the bond gets disturbed.
Our children give us another opportunity to relive our own childhood and embark on a journey with them which is magical and sparkling. The problem arises when we do the exact opposite. Instead of joining the joyride of childhood we want our kids to live our realities. We want our children to realize the importance of time management and of living a disciplined life which are undoubtedly essential life skills. However, at this stage, the child doesn’t even clearly understand the concept of time or the meaning of discipline.
“RIGHT NOW” – This is what matters in a child’s world. They have little association to the past and even little ideas about the future. The question now arises, that is there a way to ensure that our children live a disciplined life while retaining their innocence and imagination? The answer is, yes. Here at One World News we would explore these answers.
How the bond between parents and children develops depends largely on the style of parenting that we adopt. You can perhaps identify with one or more than one of these styles.These are Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive and Uninvolved.
Authoritarian: As the name suggests, authoritarian parents expect a strict obedience from their children. They feel that they do not need to explain the demands they make on their children since they are the adults.
Authoritative: Such parents demand appropriate behavior from their children but are also highly responsive in supporting their children. They don’t believe in strict obedience or punishments. They provide a nurturing and safe environment to their children where the child has enough space to learn from his/her own experiences.
Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents remain aloof and unresponsive towards their children. They are negligent to any attention and emotional needs of the child.
Permissive: These parents are those who are over-indulgent with their children. Saying no to anything that their children demand is futile, as these parents believe that giving children everything they want is the only way to keep them happy.
Research suggests that children raised by authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved parents face self-esteem issues, insecurity issues and are more prone to conduct disorders and other behavioral problems. However parents authoritative in nature raise children who have a high self-confidence, better working capability and strong emotional stability.
From intensive research, psychologists have come upon certain characteristics of a healthy-parent child relationship. These are flexibility, connectedness, ability to create appropriate boundaries and having an open channel of communication.
Parenting isn’t a one-way process. The way the child responds to the parent accounts for the success of their relationship by ensuring optimum growth and development of the child. In order to win that cooperation from your children there are a few practical suggestions that we present to you.
EXPRESS UNDERSTANDING FOR THE CHILD’S FEELINGS: Certain rules need to be set up for the child’s own good which the child might resent or rebel against. Here as parents we need to acknowledge their anguish and anger first and then explain to them why these rules need to be followed. Also, talking to the child about the consequences of his/her actions is helpful.
SHOW EMPATHY WITHOUT CONDONING: Your child might come to you and complain about how unfair the outside world is and how angry it makes him/her. We need to offer our empathic understanding without condoning the negativity that has entered the child, instead offer other solutions for peaceful resolution.
SHARE YOUR REAL FEELINGS: We feel that as parents we need to project an ideal image of strength and stability for the benefit of our children. Though children do need to see us as stable figures but they also need to see our human side. Children are sensitive and pick up easily when their parents are distressed. At those times, by sharing our real feelings with the child it enables him/her to understand how it is alright to be upset at times and that there is always a way to cope with it.
STICK TO THE PLAN: Imposing routines, schedules and time tables to discipline the child fail miserably when we do not stick to the plans we set. This shows the child that it is okay to not follow the rules set down by the parents. They feel when the parents are not serious about it then even I don’t need to. The children respond not to the technique only but more to the frequency of it. Children tend to learn patterns easily, hence setting patterns and following them regularly makes them effective.
TAKE ON A SERIOUS TONE: Just as children respond well to regularity they also respond well to similarity. If we tell the child to do something, our manner, our voice and our body language all should convey the same to the child. If the child notices even slightly that the parent is not really serious about what they are saying then all techniques are doomed to fail.
In conclusion, I would like to say that we all need to just tap the inner child in us and let that experience guide our journey with our children. If we just remember a few significant facts we all would give the society healthy, mature and emotionally well tuned children.
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