Parenting a child successfully is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs a person can have. However, new parents are often unsure how to raise a child and learn through trial and error.
While psychologists generally define parenting as “the process of raising a child from infancy into adulthood,” they have actually identified several types of parenting approaches in an attempt to acknowledge all the different strategies involved in the process.
Parenting is affected by many factors, such as culture, social class, parental income, and parental wealth. Therefore, parenting practices are diverse, and they depend on the individual parent’s situation and social position. Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics that all parenting strategies have in common.
The parenting process has been extensively researched and studied to determine what makes parenting effective. In doing so, researchers have identified certain key points that directly affect the positive growth of a child and that cannot be left out if parenting is to be successful.
- Provide for the child’s basic physical needs. Parenting involves providing for a child’s every need, including basic needs like food, clothing, medicine, and shelter.
- Keep the child safe. Keeping a child safe from harm is an essential part of parenting. Therefore, parents should protect their children from things such as hunger, sickness, malicious influences, and bad weather.
- Provide education and guidance. Parents need to provide their children with formal education and foster a lifelong love of learning. Parents can support their children’s education by helping them with their homework (and teaching them to do their homework on their own), nurturing and encouraging each child’s specific interests, and guiding them in their academic and career choices. As Dr. Sylvia Rimm reminds parents, “in order to guide your children without pressuring them, praise with the values within which you’d like them to live.”
- Offer love, care, and support. Emotional stability is a huge part of children’s growth and development. Parents should strive to maintain close relationships with their children and support their endeavors. Providing emotional support will boost their confidence and self-esteem. Play with your children, hug them, appreciate them, and give them the attention they need.
- Promote healthy habits. Encourage children to eat a healthy diet and teach them the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. To promote their social health, be aware of the children’s activities and keep them safe from bad friends and influences.
- Use discipline when necessary. When a child makes a mistake, it is the parent’s responsibility to execute disciplinary measures in order to prevent the same mistake from happening again. At the same time, parents need to ensure that the child learns from his or her errors. Corporal punishment tends to make things worse, so it is not recommended. When correctly done, discipline forms a firm foundation of cultural values.
Each individual approaches parenting differently, but its core value is to ensure that children receive the necessary care and support in order to grow into morally upright and intellectually capable adults.
Research has shown that practically anyone can provide parental care. Parenting a child simply involves leading the child as he or she grows up. Information about parenting skills is available for anyone who needs guidance.
- Luster, Tom, and Lynn Okagaki. Parenting: An Ecological Perspective, 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2006.
- Rimm, Sylvia B. How to Parent So Children Will Learn: Strategies for Raising Happy, Achieving Children, 3rd ed. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press, Inc., 2008.