Child-rearing, also known as parenting, is the process of bringing up children from infancy to adulthood and providing for all their needs.
Child-rearing involves training children by punishing wrong behavior and rewarding good behavior. It also encompasses promoting children’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. Effective child-rearing improves a child’s self-confidence and results in responsible and reliable adults. Parents, guardians, and close relatives are better equipped to handle child-rearing responsibilities because they will provide love, care, and proper guidance.
The behaviour and adjustment of a child appear in general to depend on his family’s treatment of him; this seems particularly true in relation to the preschool years which are crucial in providing a basis for future development. —Robert B. Burns in his book Essential Psychology
Parenting Styles of Child-Rearing
Each parent has a particular way of raising their child. There are four types of parenting styles, as follows:
- Authoritarian. Authoritarian parents are harsh and rarely interact with their children. Their children must follow their orders, and this instills fear in the children. The parents believe that punishing their children is the only way to discipline them. Children of authoritarian parents generally lack self-esteem and are socially isolated.
- Authoritative. Authoritative parents have a good relationship with their children. They set appropriate behavioral expectations for their children and consider their children’s mistakes as part of a learning process and not necessarily as disobedience. They listen to their children’s opinions and work with them to make decisions and solve problems. Children of authoritative parents perform well academically due to their high self-esteem, and they are socially interactive.
- Permissive. Permissive parents do not give much behavioral guidance to their children, leaving them to do what they wish. The parents set no limits, and the children tend to get whatever they want.
- Uninvolved. Children of uninvolved parents are left to make their own decisions, and communication between the parents and the children is very limited. Uninvolved parents do not bother to find out how their children are doing. Hence, the children are undisciplined and feel neglected.
The Pillars of Child-Rearing
The pillars of child-rearing are the foundations upon which parents should raise their children. They help children become responsible adults who can easily integrate into society and adapt to change.
- Guidance. Proper guidance helps children control their emotions, make good decisions, and interact well with their peers.
- Discipline. The presence or absence of discipline affects children’s behavior. To behave well, children need clear, consistent discipline that involves punishment motivated by love.
- Spirituality. It is important to teach children moral values and spirituality. Learning the difference between good and bad in early childhood will have long-lasting effects even into adulthood. Children should engage in religious activities in order to gain a better understanding of faith. Parents should be good examples and always be there to guide their children in spiritual matters.
- Education. It is important to nurture children’s talents and to guide them in their academic pursuits. Parents who closely interact with their children will have a better knowledge of their children’s skills, interests, and dislikes. Parents should help their children strengthen their skills and build upon them. Children shouldn’t be forced to adapt any skills or profession based solely on the parents’ preference.
It is worth noting that authoritative parenting is the style most preferred by child psychologists due to its overall positive effects. According to research, “the authoritarian pattern was positively associated with the use of direct commands, physical enforcements, reprimands, and prohibitive interventions, and negatively associated with the use of suggestions. The authoritative pattern was positively related to the use of suggestions and positive incentives, and negatively related to the use of physical enforcements, prohibitive interventions, and direct commands.”
If parents closely observe the parenting pillars and adopt the authoritative parenting style, they are more likely to develop close and trustworthy relationships with their children. Child-rearing can be difficult, but with love and patience, it can also be fun.
- Kochanska, Grazyna, Leon Kuczynski, and Marian Radke-Yarrow. “Correspondence between Mothers’ Self-Reported and Observed Child-Rearing Practices.” Child Development 60, no. 1 (1989): 56–63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131070?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
- Burns, Robert B. “Child-Rearing Practices.” In Essential Psychology: For Students and Professionals in the Health and Social Services, 138–147. Dordrecht: Springer, 1991. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-0-585-30665-0_9