What it is like to be a parent? It is not an easy task. Do you know how your parents brought you up? Ask them if it was too easy and quick for them. You will get the answer!
They tolerated your tantrums, bought you the toys you pointed fingers at, heard your cries and supported you at every step of your life. Even when you thought they were not there, they were “always” there. You just did not come to know.
Are you on the verge of becoming parents? Or wish to know what exactly it is all about? We get your doubts clear here!
What is parenting?
To define in precise words, parenting is child rearing. It is the process of “promoting and supporting the physical, social, financial and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood”. In simple words, being a mother or a father to someone is to be a parent.
You have to invest on long term basis- investment can be in financial form or in form of efforts. In the infancy, you have to change the diapers and massage the little limbs so that they can move. You have to talk and read, and give your language to the new born. You have to turn the new life into a good human being. Proper schooling and guidance will lead your child to live a prosperous life. The child’s development is under your supervision. It is a huge responsibility, and can turn out to be the most rewarding job!
As parents, you have to prepare the child for the real world out there, taking care of his most basic needs as well as the luxuries. World is rapidly changing and thus, parents need to learn the correct way of “being parents”.
Not every parent has the same conduct in child rearing. Different parents have different methods and protocols of parenting. Children undergo a very crucial phase of progress and parents create their own ways of parenting. Parental behaviour impacts the child psychology the most. The growth and development is in the hands of the parents and they are the ones who lay foundation of a child’s identity.
Wikipedia says that parenting style is “a psychological construct representing standard strategies that parents use in child rearing”. People have different opinions and theories about parenting. But, the main four theories have been running since ages. They are the dominant parenting styles. Just check if you can relate with any of them.
Diana Baumrind initiated work on parenting styles and the research is known as “Baumrind’s Parenting Technology”. The research work included 3 categories, which are given importance till date- Permissive, Authoritative and Authoritarian. Further work was expanded by Maccoby and Martin, and this resulted in the inclusion of the fourth theory – Uninvolved.
- Authoritarian Parenting Style
This parenting style is all about stern discipline methods and controlling children with the help of punishments. This is not so affectionate method. Children are supposed to follow the strict rules and follow the code of conduct as instructed by the parents. They do not have any explanations to give to their children regarding their strict style. They just command the children to do something and support it by saying “Because I said so”. They have high demands and give no response to their children when asked. Such parents are very conscious about their status and expect their children to follow them without questioning them back. Parents are more like a dictator in this style.
- Authoritative Parenting
These parents also put up some rules and regulations for the children to follow, just like in authoritarian. But, the approach is more balanced like a democracy. Parents listen to the queries of their child and answer them to the best of their knowledge. When the children commit mistakes, such parents have a light approach. They listen to their children with a good ear and forgive them for their mistakes rather than punishing them. They are “assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive”. They have a supportive approach and this makes their child responsible and independent. A constant encouragement and motivation is provided by such parenting. Children feel warm and comfortable.
- Permissive Parenting
Such parents are less demanding and more responsive. They are lenient towards their children and do not expect them to be the perfect kids. This means that they have low expectations from their children, and they are very comfortable with the less discipline in the lives of their children. Mature behaviour is not mandatory for them. They are very communicative and friendly with their children and do not give instructions. Emotional warmth and too much affection are the characteristics of permissive parenting.
- Uninvolved Parenting
As it says in the title itself, in uninvolved parenting, the parents have very low demands from their children. They exhibit least response and do not communicate very well with the child. Although they look after the basic requirements of their child, they are not interested in his/her life. To be framed in easy words, they provide food and shelter but they do not provide the warmth and love. The affection factor is missing and emotional detachment prevails. In many cases, some parents may even neglect and ignore their child.
Now you understand what kind of parenting you follow, or you are going to follow. Achieve the best results!
Types of parenting
As we already said that different parents have different approach towards their children. Some are too lenient and some are too strict. The above mentioned styles exist as the most basic types of parenting with scientific aspect being prior. Apart from them, there are various other types as well.
Some types of parenting are based on philosophies of life with emotional aspect being prior. They are:
- Positive Parenting
- Attachment Parenting
- Unconditional Parenting
- Spiritual Parenting
- Slow Parenting
The type of Parenting based on poor fortune and detrimental approach has three styles under it:
- Narcissistic Parenting
- Helicopter Parenting
- Toxic Parenting
The most stable environment for the development and growth of the child is when he/she has loving parents and positive environment. But, there are many cases where the parents can no longer continue with their relationships and thus become apart. They divorce or no longer live with each other. In such a case, the children are stuck in between. Their growth pattern is disturbed and their lives are affected in the long run. What should the parents do in such a case?
Many parents do not agree upon living with each other just for the sake of their children. They fight for the custody of the child. Is it right? No. There might be some rare cases, but here we are talking in general.
For a child, the warmth of love of a mother is as important as that of the father. If it is suitable, then the parents can opt for Co-Parenting style. They do not have to be in a relationship actually and be committed to each other. But, they have to be committed towards their child. They need not be romantically involved, but they must share the responsibility of their child.
The surveys tell us that Co-parenting generally arise when the parents have separated or divorced or undergone a breakup. Both the parents have to keep their personal differences aside and provide the best parenting to their child. They may decide certain rules and guidelines, and work according to them.
Do you know how co-parenting affects your child? Do you find this style absurd? Don’t you wish to compromise with your ex and work for the benefit of the child? Look at the points below, and then decide.
- When there is a lot of stress and tension in between the parents, the child’s mental state is affected. Although the children do not understand what exactly is going on and what are the parents talking about, but they can sense that something is really “wrong”. They feel the disturbances and this makes them dull. If you have a good environment at home which is serene and peaceful, and you have a good communication with each other, the children feel safe and secure. They become stable and develop better.
- Divorce and separation will disturb the mind of your child. Which one to choose when you want both? Even if he/she decides to go with one parent, the child is unhappy as he/she may miss the other. Children are delicate. They cannot understand your interpersonal issues. They cannot handle the emotional drama which goes on between the separated parents. There are chances that they may withdraw themselves socially and become inactive, or they may undergo any other mental health issue. That’s why we are emphasising upon the need of co-parenting. Do not make your child feel “torn”.
- When children will see your healthy relationship, they themselves will establish their own relationships with people in a better way. Remember, you are setting an example in front of your child. Do not become the reason of hatred inside your children. Be a true guardian.
- The effect of the environment is significant upon the child’s performance at school and other events. If the environment is good, children are at their best. But, a disturbing environment results in inactivity and lower grades in academics.
- Co-parenting helps to overcome the social and emotional conflicts going on inside the brain of the child. Yes, it does not completely resolve all the problems. But, definitely has much effect on the development!
We understand that the reason of separation might be big enough. Betrayal, cheating, lies and breakdown are hurtful and bring an emotional challenge in front of you. But, for your child, you should give the co-parenting a second thought. This will require a true commitment power because adjusting with your other half can be quite difficult. But, many separated parents have proved co-parenting as effective method.
The help can be taken of a mediator and a perfect plan can be devised. You can also plan without including a mediator. Talk out with your ex and resolve some issues. Consider taking into consideration the following points:
- Decision making
- Share your schedules
- Prepare for the emergency situations
- Discuss about future plans and moving on steps
- Discuss about the finances
Children are your priority. Care for them!
Positive Parenting is a type of parenting which has emerged from the roots of positive psychology. It is based on philosophies and values of life. Positivity brings happiness in life, and so the term positive psychology can be termed as happiness psychology. The satisfaction, goals and abilities are the areas of interest in such type.
Positive parenting helps the children to find their inner strengths and skills. It avoids any focus on traumatic events and cures emotional pain. The ultimate goal of such parenting is to empower the children and enlighten their young minds. It is about nurturing your child and supporting him/her so that they explore their true potential and make the best of their lives.
Positive parenting instils self confidence and beliefs which help the child progress at an excellent rate. A child’s personal interests are discovered and they are guided through the right path step by step. No instructions are given to them and no personal opinions are bombarded on them. Strict rules and regulations are not entertained in this type of parenting.
The support a child receives in this type is significant. He/she acquires the skills and is made capable of making his/her own choices. He/she can make out the possible outcomes and think about the consequences. The task of decision making is in the hands of the child itself.
Children are given lot of love and affection in positive parenting. They feel the warmth and optimism in their environment, which makes them feel supported. Respect and trust are dominant in this style. Parents prepare their children for the real world situations and help them become independent. They inspire their children and guide them through their vision. Children are morally developed and possess a positive attitude towards their lives.
This is the best opportunity to develop the best in your child. Opt for positive parenting. Yes, you have to be determined and committed to such a big responsibility, and you’ll make it!
What it is like to be a bad parent? How are parents termed as “bad”? How the children are affected with the bad parenting? All these questions have the answers down here!
It is well said that actions speak louder than words. How you act with your child and how you behave with him/her defines how “good” and “bad” you are. Here are a few signs of “bad parenting”.
- Children are active and full of energy. They might ask you so many questions and raise a sense of curiosity in themselves. But, if they constantly disturb you intentionally, this means that you are not paying much attention to your child. The affection is missing on your part and the child is hungry for your attention and response.
- Parents often scold their children for their mistakes and punish them severely. Sometimes they overreact and this is the reason why children lie to them. The outrageous behaviour is the reason for the lies and mysterious attitude of the children.
- If your child is low at self esteem and confidence, then it clearly means that you are very poor at encouragement and providing motivation. You impose your personal advises on them.
- Many parents have a habit of instructing their children in public and in front of friends or peers. They themselves display high discipline standards and expect their children to act as per those standards. Their public image is more important to them. This makes the child feel humiliated and embarrassed. Over the time period, the child develops the habit of not standing up for himself or raising a voice.
- Some parents are so dominant that they make their own choices on behalf of their children. For example, they decide everything themselves for their child and do not let the child make his/her own choice. This makes children still go for the things which do not belong to them.
- If your child has some fears and feels hesitant, then it is you who have made him so. You have made his every path clear of hurdles and any disturbances. Children won’t learn to get up until and unless they fall. He won’t learn to overcome obstacles if he doesn’t face any obstacle.
- Jealousy is a common factor among kids who consider themselves as inferior to others. This instinct arises because you might have compared your child with any other child, and you always keep on praising others but not your own child. Just remember, each tiny tot is special and unique in his/her own way.
- Many children misbehave or display inappropriate attitude. This is because they want your attention by such attitude. Otherwise, you are too busy in your own work that they don’t get any personal attention.
- If your child does not obey you or does not respect feelings of others, then it is the consequence of your ignorance. His/her feeling was not given much importance and thus he/she does the same with others. You should not order them. Listen and understand first.
- If your child is not able to share things with you, then he/she might feel insecure doing so. He/she might feel that you are not worth keeping secrets or you may overreact and not understand the true meaning.
Bad parenting leads to bad behaviour in children. They may turn out to be criminals or deviate from the correct path. They might suffer from mental issues and depression conditions. Also, there may be reduction in the performance of the child on academic front.
Now you can make out how “bad” is the bad parenting.
Single parenting is clearly understood as parenting done by a single parent. The parent might be single due to separation or any other calamity. Many single parents are worried about whether they will be able to take care of their child just the way other parents do. They are worried about the fact whether they will be able to provide the love of both sides to their child. So, we shall clear your doubt by telling you that single parent do as good as normal parents do parenting. What matters is the commitment to your child and the way you spend time with him/her.
It might feel difficult to take care of the needs of your child alone, especially the education and finances. You have to teach the child how to live life as well as spend time on other materialistic things. When there is partnership in work, the load gets divided and it becomes easy to handle things. But, as a single parent, the stress increases. You don’t have to be stressed. You, as a single parent, are capable enough to take care of your child on your own.
Here are a few guidelines you can take help of, for building a strong relationship with your child.
- Spend a lot of quality time with your child. Explore his/her interests and know more about his/her talents. The more you involve with your child, the more he/she gets connected to you. You can plan for picnics or some outdoor activity. Also, you can join some recreational activity together. If not outdoor, you can always talk to your child while having meals. Go for evening walk around the corner and share funny stories. Sing along or play word games.
- Show that you are interested in them. Be frank and listen to them. Do not judge on random assumptions. Play the games they love or watch their favourite cartoons together. Have fun while doing the activities.
- Giving attention doesn’t mean you have to keep your child in high surveillance and give commands. You have to break the monotony. Teach your child to be disciplined, but make sure you have fun while doing so. Share smiles and hugs. Laugh together and show your child that you are too happy to be with him/her. Greet them good morning and kiss them good night. Ask them about their school activities and friends when they come home from school.
- Encourage your child to explore his/her own talents. Motivate them to make a progress in their vision and support them in their right decisions. Praise them whenever they do something responsible and when they commit any mistake, try to have a holistic approach. Tell him/her that you are proud of him/her. Tell him/her to dream big and be a good person.
- You may definitely find some tasks challenging and when you will be stressed, you might not do positive parenting. But, you have to slowly learn and understand that if you are going to get weak, things will tumble down. You are strong and you have the capacity! Believe in yourself.
- Children usually follow the habits of their parents and people around. You have to set an example in front of your child, so that he learns from you. You have to be a good person yourself to motivate your child. Be polite, be generous and be lively.
- When your child gets in the bad mood, be patient and give your child some space. Try to talk to him/her in a very polite way and be a good listener. Show him/her that you are right there and listening. You understand him/her. Show it!
- Do not be too lenient, and set rules and regulations very clearly in front of your child. Listen to his/her opinions as well and form some rules for yourself too!
- Single parenting may put a lot of pressure on you. You have to arrange the finances as well as look after the child. It is all your work, and you might feel shattered many a times. But, be calm and take a deep breath. Things are going to be okay! Be strong and determined. You can take support of family and friends if possible.
Single parenting is challenging, but not impossible! Strong parents can do everything for their child.
Step parenting is another challenge for some people. It is hard to parent a child who does not accept you and might dislike you even. Even for the parent, it is confusing how to behave with the child- just start with the parenting or introduce themselves gradually into their life.
Children are not capable of accepting such big changes instantly. They take time to accept people and trust them. They take time to understand things. You have to wait and see whether the child accepts you and gets along with you.
By being a step parent, you come into the child’s life as a central figure. And, if you have your own children, then a set of siblings is prepared. You have the opportunity to feel the support of a new family and chance to build strong relations. But, it is not as easy as it sounds. You have to start afresh in step parenting. You can never start midway. You have to establish a good communication with the child and then move ahead slowly.
If you try to be quick and rush with the new bonds, then you are likely to fall. The child may reject you and neglect you. He/she may feel uneasy around you and take you as a complete stranger. You may not like such behaviour, but keep yourself in place of that little kid. You might have to face a lot of problems, because after all, you are a new person introduced at such an early age, where the brain has not even developed to the extent of understanding. You may have some expectations from the child, but do not completely rely on those expectations. You have to work hard first in order to bring those expectations in your favour.
Deal with the negative reactions in a positive way. Discuss things with your partner so that both of you can work mutually in order to make the child comfortable. Try to know your child and his/her behaviour by having involvement in his/her activities of interest. Have a friendly approach and be positive. Read stories, share experiences, watch movies together or make the favourite food of the child. Explore his needs and interests. Appreciate his talents and aspirations. Don’t go too much “lovey-dovey” with the child and expect him/her to love you the same instantly.
It is okay if the child doesn’t call you “Mom” or “Dad”. Respect the way they pay you respect and feel responsible. Care for the children whole-heartedly.
Parenting skills and tips
Parenting is not easy. It may have various styles and types, but the basic concept remains the same. Parenting should be good enough as it shapes the whole family. The skills essential for a parent are given below:
- You have to be of understanding nature. You have to understand as you listen and then give the appropriate advice. You should not directly jump to conclusions.
- Do not be too strict and too lenient. Support your child wherever required and scold him whenever felt necessary.
- Don’t be too harsh while scolding. Make the child realise why the mistake was “wrong act” and make him learn from those mistakes.
- You should be polite and humble. You should ask your child to do some work very politely.
- Do not be an expecting parent. Appreciate the child when he does something good. But, don’t have too high expectations.
- You should know how to make the child follow rules and regulations which will make him disciplined. The protocol must have some “fun” element. The synchronisation between you both should implement a disciplined environment.
- You should have a friendly approach. If the child feels some fear from you, then he won’t be able to share his thoughts and feelings with you. You need to have a comprehensive communication with him.
- Always plan for recreational activities and spend some quality time with your child. He will love it! Outings at the weekend and holidays spent with some fun activity are memorable and beneficial in bringing freshness.
- Be a mentor to your child. Teach him moral values and make him learn educational elements.
- Use rewards and praise to encourage and motivate the child.
- Schedule your day according to what fits your child the best.
- Play games and have some moral education taught to your child through these games.
- Guide them through and support them. Do not let them feel isolated and abandoned. Children are sensitive. You should be precise with your behaviour with them.
- Set an example for your child. What he perceives, he follows.
When a child needs support, parents, family members and other relatives might be there to care. But, there are many kids in our community, who are deprived of such care. They might be abandoned, separated, abused or victimised. You can provide a home to such parents. Sometimes, home is not a building, but a person. Anyone can become a foster parent and take care of such children. Even you can provide the safe and secure environment to a young life.
Just like normal parenting, you have to be patient with the child you foster. You need to understand and know him first. You need to encourage the child to accept you gradually. You have to win his trust and boost some confidence in him. Many children who had a tough life before or have gone through any kind of trauma can be a challenge. You have to make them overcome their fears and socially active.
The time period of foster care may range from days to weeks and to the several months and years.
Best Parenting Books to refer
If you feel the need for books to guide you through parenting, we have the best suggestions here.
- Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach
This book will guide you through out the child care process. It covers the information of infants to five year old kids.
- Gentle Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley
This book has step by step instructions on how to make the child sleep peacefully.
- Child Behaviour: The Classic by Crances Ilg and Louise Bates Ames.
- Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurchinka
- 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan
- Becoming the Parent You Want To Be
- Power to Parent DVD series
- The Portable Paediatrician: A Practicing Paediatricians’ guide to Your Child’s Growth, Development, Health and Behaviour, From Birth to Age 5 by Laura W. Nathanson
- Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
- The Positive Discipline series
- Hands Down: Scream Free Parenting by Hal Runkel
- Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort
And many more! Go to your nearest library and you may find something which suits you the best.
Parenting magazines to read
A parent who loves to read is the best!
In western countries, some popular parenting magazines are:
- Disney Family and Fun
- American Baby
- New Parent Magazine
- Scholastic Parent and Child
- Baby and Toddler
- You and Your Family
- Working Mother
- BabyTalk Pregnancy Planner and Guide
- Pregnancy and Newborn
Some Indian Magazines are also listed here!
This is a monthly magazine and covers the growth and development of children from infancy to 12 years.
Monthly magazine and covers various child related topics.
- Mother and Baby
This magazine publishes inspiring illustrations and optimistic articles on motherhood and child development.
- Parent Edge
- Parents India
- Responsible Parenting
- Parent Circle
- Parent and Child
If you wish to get actually trained and educated for parenting, then various classes are available online and offline. Online courses require constant access to internet. If you do not have a stable net connection, you can go for the offline classes. Check your locality and city. We are sure that you will find one. And, if not, then plenty of written information is available in books and on internet. Gather from there!