Good parenting is one of the major influencers for child-development, serves as the foundation of a successful family life and consequently, contributes towards a conscious community. Adults may find parenting especially challenging when they are having a hard time making ends meet, are stressed at work, dealing with separation or divorce, or when a child or adult in the family suffers from a mental or physical illness. In today’s era, multiple distractions have also made parenting tough.
In the past amalgamation of various cultures, i.e., social and technological, couldn’t make such an influence as technology was still developing. In today’s global world and with scientific advancement, technologies like a simple cellular phone has given rise to several vices such as comparison of one’s life with others on social media, materialism and greed, that make it difficult for the children to differentiate between good and bad. Parents in Asian families, today face much more amplified and complex challenges, when it comes to parenting, than ever before.
A loving relationship is necessary, but is not enough to ensure healthy development. Children also need structure, consistency and an appropriate level of monitoring. From an early age, children benefit from routines that help them to know what to expect each day. Parents set the limits of acceptable behavior by setting clear rules and expectations. Parents help children to learn that their actions have consequences. By noticing and commenting on appropriate behavior, parents strengthen good habits.
As a counseling psychologist, I have realized that ‘we are imperfect parents, training imperfect children’, when in today’s world, parenting is definitely a lot more complex and multifaceted. The most important thing to remember, however, is that there is no one right way of parenting. Nevertheless, a few things can help create a conducive environment for the children where they can grow, learn and develop various skills.
Be the Person You Want Your Child to Be
Parents play a vital role in their child’s life and so it is imperative that parents try to be the people they want to see their children become. Therefore, it is important that parents support their child’s learning at home by spending time with them through play and everyday activities. For parents it has certainly become tougher, more tasking and draining because the social environment around us carries a lot more distraction, rebellion, immorality, destructive habits, laziness, insensitivity, etc. Hence, it is more difficult to teach children the difference between right and wrong.
Healthy Family Environment
Healthy family environment plays a key role in positive parenting. Both parents need to be unanimous when raising children together as young minds can sense hostility and distress very easily. Pakistani society lacks consistency and communication in most households, which leads to confusion and competition amongst children and their parents. Inconsistency is vastly seen between rules and regulations and when these inconsistencies occur, one parent inevitably undermines the authority of the other. These inconsistencies need to be resolved in order to achieve a favorable environment for both the parents and children. In older days, there was no concept of open communication between spouses regarding a child’s upbringing but it is a big help for parents, nowadays, to talk and share experiences. Parents should encourage communication between each other and subsequently with children in order to safeguard their home from petty disputes taking place every day.
Uncertainty and confusion can create a disapproving environment within a household. Where uncertainty about where to take a stand and what rules to impose can create turmoil within the family, rivalry about decisions occurring between spouses can lead to unhealthy competition. Both parents need to be mindful that raising children together is a cooperative effort rather than a competition. If, however, there is a natural disagreement, both parents should realize that they should be committed to working together in harmony. The art of listening, generating alternative solutions together, negotiating differences and dealing with discord in the house teaches children how to deal with disagreements in a mature way. If two people living under the same roof do not have a sound relationship, children tend to suffer the most. Children raised in broken homes always have conflicted minds and can rarely benefit the society.
The role of parents should be to protect their children, to offer safe haven, provide guidance and to love and cherish them unconditionally. Setting unrealistically high expectations from children will always create unhealthy relationships and limit the child’s freedom to learn and explore on their own. Every child has his/her own distinct personality and characteristics. Parents should be accepting of their varying opinions and habits and should try not to compare them with anyone as it creates resentment.
Human Touch Not Technology
Living in this age, we have all made ourselves extremely busy, running after careers and other worldly possessions; completely forgetting about our social responsibilities. The surge of cell phones, social media, movies, text messages and other forms of technology has virtually destroyed the bond amongst humans, especially between children and their parents. Parents have started giving gadgets, phones and internet, known as the 21st century toys, to keep them busy and occupied whenever and however they can. This has led to addiction to technology of the parents or the other way round. Regrettably, both have negative effects on the well-being of the present generation. People are consistently interacting with machines instead of other human beings, consequently giving up on love, inner joy, contentment and mental peace. The absence of natural human interaction has made everyone numb. As parents, guardians and adult supervisors, parents have simply forgotten that their utmost responsibility is children. Children need love, support, admiration, emotional as well as physical attention, guidance and someone who is there at all times to provide assistance.
Love is shown by smiles, hugs, compliments, interest in child’s well-being and by being available to spend time with them. Regular time devoted entirely to the child (without distraction from phones, TV, or computers) is the foundation of a good relationship.
Define Limits and Expectations
The formula of parenting is very simple and if understood properly it can solve all parenting issues. Children need both love and structure to grow and thrive. Putting this into practice is not always easy. A loving relationship is essential for children to develop their confidence and self-esteem. Parents show love in different ways according to their personal style and cultural background. Love is shown by smiles, hugs, compliments, interest in child’s well-being and by being available to spend time with them. Regular time devoted entirely to the child (without distraction from phones, TV, or computers) is the foundation of a good relationship. It also helps children to learn that they can turn to their parents when they are troubled. A loving relationship is necessary, but is not enough to ensure healthy development. Children also need structure, consistency and an appropriate level of monitoring. From an early age, children benefit from routines that help them to know what to expect each day. Parents set the limits of acceptable behavior by setting clear rules and expectations. Parents help children to learn that their actions have consequences. By noticing and commenting on appropriate behavior, parents strengthen good habits.
Psychological research and practice shows that parents are the most significant influence on their child. To be a good parent takes knowledge, a great deal of practice, a lot of flexibility and openness to keep learning. Just as our children grow and learn so do our parenting skills. Whether parenting with a partner, or as a single parent, everyone needs the support from family, friends, and community. It is necessary that the community helps the young parents by encouraging them and helping them however they can in order to restore the old social values of companionship in the community. HH
The writer is a counseling psychologist and was formerly a legal psychologist at the Research Society of International Law.
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