One of the most important factors that determines the overall development of a child is parenting. It is an ongoing job; it is not something that ends at a certain time because children need their parents to enable them to stay on the right track. Children are naturally naive and more susceptible to changes in their immediate environment; hence parents are needed to guide/guard and supervise their decision-making.
However, a lot of parents have lost track of their responsibilities and the essence of parenting. In this article, we will briefly explain the role of parents/guardians in a child’s development and some tips to ensure effective parenting.
This is the process of raising, nurturing, and educating a child from birth until adulthood. Parenting and child development go hand in hand. The proverb: “The branch grows as the twig grows” also describes the effects of parenting styles on child growth and development. The role of parents in child development is responsive and never-ending. Parenting coordinates the actions, thinking, and decision-making of a child. The following areas require parent’s involvement to ensure overall development in a child:
In our society today, the physical well-being of a child is the first indicator of good parenting. In other words, the efforts of a parent are judged by how healthy or good-looking a child appears. Children learn about healthy living, exercising regularly, and growing in a conducive environment through play-and-learn. But parents are in charge of choosing the right diet, inculcating a good regimen of exercise and rest to achieve ideal physical development. Except in cases of chronic health conditions, parents are solely responsible for the physical appearance and growth of a child.
Fine motor skills and gross motor skills are also parts of physical development. Teaching children basic activities—such as how to walk, run, talk, flex his/her muscles, jump, write, eat, complete puzzles, dress up, maintain personal hygiene, etc—is the core of personal development.
It is sad to note that most parents pay little or no attention to the basic educational requirements of their children. Only parents who are involved in the school activities of their children know their strengths and weaknesses, when to change school or the teacher, how best they handle schoolwork. Parents’ involvement also gives a child a sense of belonging and reduces the workload on educators.
Effective parenting improves the cognitive, social, and problem-solving skills of children. How they identify things, react or interact largely depends on the nature of parenting they receive, as interaction and stimulation are very important in the early years. Effective parenting also helps them grow up to be better humans. It is all about recognizing problems, handling all situations well, and picking up the traits of discipline, time management, and effective problem-solving through simple routines at home.
Children learn by example. To inculcate the right values in a child, parents should exhibit these values as well. Cognitive development also includes areas like information processing, reasoning, memory, and language development. It is more of how children process information and less of the amount of knowledge a child has.
Good parenting helps a child develop a strong mental capacity to learn innovatively, overcome failures, and understand the award-and-punishment concept. Human minds are better developed in the early stage of childhood, so parents are expected to prioritize the mental health of their child(ren).
Scheduling children for therapy sessions annually or when necessary is also a great idea. Children have reservation tendencies; they may feel uncomfortable interacting with their parents at some point, which is normal. But parents must ensure their children speak to a professional, and then, the parent could communicate with the therapist and look for ways to sustain the child’s sanity.
Parents’ cultural affiliation plays an important role in molding children’s behavior and thinking patterns, as parents are the ones who prepare children to interact with society. Children growing up in different cultures receive specific inputs from their environment. For that reason, there is a vast array of cultural differences in children’s beliefs and behavior. However, parents should remind them that no culture is superior to the other. If possible, parents could also teach children a variety of socio-cultural rules, expectations, and taboos (and even languages) to enable them to know how to interact with people from other backgrounds.
This is one of the most sensitive areas in child development. The best way to stimulate a free spirit in children is to teach them to understand religious differences, know right from wrong, develop empathy, and have the right ethical values. As much as parents want their children to take on their legacies, beliefs, and whatnot, it is advisable to not conform them to any particular religion and let them explore spirituality on their own under close supervision. Teach them to be more accepting and believing in the greater good, which gives them a sense of purpose.
Some parenting tips to ensure the overall development of your child(ren)
- Encourage positivity
- Be sensitive to your child’s needs.
- Be available—emotionally, physically, financially, etc—for proper development.
- Build strong communication skills with your child(ren).
- Do not stereotype or discriminate against any of your children.
- Engage in fun activities—eat, play, and plan family get-together— more often.
- Be gentle in your speech and approach.
- Build trust.
- Inculcate the reading culture to help them widen their horizon at an early stage.
- Show love and compassion.
- Guarantee the safety of your child(ren), both in your presence and absence.
Good parenting is the bedrock of a good society; a well-trained child is advantageous to the immediate family and society in general. In all, one thing that guarantees a child’s success in life is the level of involvement from his/her parents or guardian, so parents should create an environment that motivates young children to participate, educate, and practice all the good habits there is.