Parenting is a continuous process that usually does not produce immediate results. This implies that parents have to be actively involved in child rearing to ensure positive development and nurture desired norms and values.
We will write a custom Essay on Importance of Parenting Concepts specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Parenting is termed as a gift and a privilege since parents are given the opportunity to positively impact a person’s life. This paper highlights the definitions of parenting, explains different parenting styles, drawbacks to successful parenting and reviews emerging issues in the area. It also seeks to examine the ecological model and its relation to parenting.
Definitions of Parenting
Parenting, often referred to as child rearing, refers to the process of providing emotional, physical, social and financial support towards the full growth of a child. It can be carried out by biological parents or adoptive parents who take it upon themselves to ensure that a child develops progressively from infancy to adulthood.
Upon reaching adulthood, children are in better positions to assume independence. Competent parenting is achieved through a gradual process of acquiring skills and adapting to different environments (which a child and a parent are often exposed to).
Competent parenting is achieved through a combination of several features. To ensure positive growth in a child, parents need to be sensitive to a variety of factors.
Parenting depends on pre-existing conditions of a child which include traits, abilities, characteristics and type of temperament. Competent parenting entails several features which parents should strive to cultivate: perceptiveness, flexibility, responsiveness and persistence (Parenting Today, 2013).
Perceptiveness calls for the need to be aware and observant of a childs’ emotional and behavioral changes. This facilitates identification and regulation of child behavior. Observance requires parents to be attentive to small details that often go unnoticed.
Some events that occur during child growth require parents to be sensitive to different changes which influence them. Upon identifying these changes, parents can thereby act accordingly. This eliminates the problem of ‘passive parenting’, which is evident in some families.
Flexibility refers to the ability to adapt to different situations appropriately. This implies that parents should be armed with a wide range of problem solving skills, usually acquired from experience and previous learning. This facilitates the possibility of effectively responding to different demands and situations, as and when need arises.
Different situations present themselves (ranging from academics, social and personal issues) during child development. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that they are armed with adequate problem solving skills to deal with these situations adequately.
Responsiveness is aimed at fostering adjustment based on changing needs of a child. Parents should be aware of what their children are going through and in the process understand that a parents’ warmth is vital for child development.
Affection should be expressed in all situations including rebuke. Gradual persistence builds on optimism which arises from positive attitudes. Children often learn from parents’ behavior through observation and this affects impartation of skills.
Challenges to successful parenting
Certain factors impinge on successful parenting. Cultivating positive parenting is arguably vital for growth in children. However, various aspects act as drawbacks to successful parenting. One major drawback arises from lack of cohesion between two parents. This usually occurs when one of the parents upholds certain values, often relating to discipline, that the other considers irrelevant.
In this case, the child is aware of the conflict transpiring between parents and may be torn between whom to follow and who not to. Children should be oblivious of any conflict between parents.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Parents should display consistency in matters relating to discipline and decisions that have a great effect on a child. Failure to do this may lead to emergence of rifts and favoritism arising from a child preferring one parent over the other because of the values they uphold.
Parenting is also affected by dysfunctionalaities in individual parents. These dysfunctionalaities arise from poor backgrounds of the child’s’ parents which leave them clueless on how to practice good parenting. Involvement of parents in drugs, alcohol or crime affects child upbringing negatively.
Issues pertaining to depression and lack of good family standings contribute to setbacks in child development. The common scenario is where parents concentrate on other things (like drugs, gambling and excessive drinking) at the expense of their children. They forget their parental responsibilities meaning that they are not in a position to execute responsibilities. This amounts to negligence
Negative media also influences parenting. The media is filled with all sorts of negative messages that children are exposed to. As a result, children believe what they see and acquire a perception of ‘I want a mommy or daddy’ like that. This is evident from many reality shows where parental values and acceptable norms are often ignored.
Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, there are several key ingredients to successful parenting. They include enforcement of rewards and punishment to support good behavior and manners. Children should be reminded of consequences that emerge as a result of the decisions they make.
Another key ingredient is ensuring consistency disciplinary values to serve as a reminder to children. These setbacks can be alleviated by exercising a variety of things which include counseling and attending parenting programs to assist in acquisition of desired skills and abilities (Guhl & Fontenelle, 2000).
There are a variety of parenting styles that have been defined by scholars and psychologists alike. These styles are based on how parents respond to situations and their level of control. Failure to strike a balance between responsiveness and control can be detrimental to a child’s’ growth and lead to a disaster in parenting (Schaffer, 2009).
Children who grow up in settings where one of the requirements is overemphasized tend to have issues relating to esteem, discipline and more often than not, academic performance may be negatively affected. This may trigger depression and anxiety at later stages in life.
The four major types of parenting styles include authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved parenting. These styles represent constructs and strategies that parents apply in parenting (Balter, 2000).
It is categorized as one of the most balanced and democratic types of parenting which is geared towards wholeness and positive maturity of child. This is due to the fact that parents are both responsive and demanding. It is based on a collective approach to parenting which involves children in the problem solving process.
This form of parenting gives a child a sense of freedom in making decisions hence cultivating independence. However, parents initially determine standards and continuously monitor their children to ensure they act responsibly. Disciplinary measures are characterized by a level of objectiveness rather than violent bursts which would otherwise engrave a negative image on the importance of discipline in a child (Brooks, 2000).
Authoritarian parenting is also referred to ‘strict parenting’. Authoritarian parenting is characterized by parents who are not responsive, however they are demanding. Parents usually set principles and standards that are to be religiously adhered to, with little or no discussions with the child. No form of explanation is provided to the child regarding the rules and regulations that have been defined by parents.
The result of such strictness leads to growth of ‘social dwarfs’. In this case, children are socially incompetent of developing relations due to the fact that they are accustomed to being told what to do and are seldom allowed to follow their hearts. Most children who have underwent this form of parenting end up feeling very insecure and are incapable of developing lasting social relations (Schaffer & Kipp, 2009).
Permissive parenting is considered a form of lenient parenting. It is responsive yet not demanding. Parents exercise little control over their children. Responsiveness emerges from the fact that parents are sensitive to the children’s’ needs despite failure to set strict rules and standards relating to behavior and manners.
The major disadvantage of this type of parenting is the fact that children from such homes end up engaging in misconduct as they are used to having their way in doing things (Bjorklund & Blasi, 2011).
Uninvolved parenting is mainly passive. Parents are unaware and insensitive to child growth and development. It is characterized by lack of responsiveness and demand in raising up a child. This form of parenting is neglectful due to the fact that it does not take into consideration any of the important strategies. Parents are completely detached and unsupportive to emerging needs of a child.
Such parents normally have other priorities (and values) other than child growth. They are totally unaware of events that children go through. As a result of this, children develop a sense of false independence because they are left to mature on their own.
Children who are a product of such parenting have social relation issues and find it difficult to observe any set rules and regulations. Neglect usually arises from a variety of things which include addiction to harmful and illegal substances, financial issues and failure to prioritize the importance of child upbringing (Sigelman & Rider, 2011).
Parenting should not be regarded as an ‘in house’ task. The community plays a major role in ensuring that parents are kept on their toes in exercising positive parenting. The community should cultivate a culture where acceptable norms, values and mannerisms of behavior are encouraged and emphasized.
The community has a role in ensuring that parental programs, to instill parental values and encourage competency in parenting, are conducted to promote child growth and development (Fisher & Lerner, 2004).
The ecological model and parenting
The ecological model supports the idea that children’s growth and development is equally determined by external factors. Healthy maturity depends on settings that are beyond the confines of a home. The ecological model places a child at the center of micro systems which the child is in constant interaction with. External events, values and norms are learned by children depending on the environments they are in.
Child development is evidently affected by settings like educational institutions, extended families and community neighborhoods. As a child grows and time passes by, contexts change and each of the new developments affect the growth of the child hence parenting should accommodate these changes (Luster & Okagaki, 2005).
Skills of a competent parent
Parenting has been termed as a demanding task despite being a natural process. A parent needs to invest time in ensuring proper upbringing of a child. Becoming a better parent calls for acquisition of certain skills to foster good health, success and development of a child. The most important is love.
Parents should be affectionate to their children and create time to bond with them. This in turn creates a feeling of appreciation.(10 Skills of Competent Parents, 2013).
Relationship skills allow the parent and child to have a healthy relationship and in turn the child is in a better position to establish healthy relations with others. Parents should be respectful and encourage autonomy.
The child should be encouraged to understand their sense of purpose in life and reminded that they are self sufficient. Other skills that are vital in parenting include stress management, behavior management, safety and support of spiritual development (Golombok, 2000).
Communication quality and parenting
Communication is a key aspect in ensuring good parenting. Failure to communicate effectively leads to conflicts due to lack of understanding between the parties involved. Communication between a parent and a child should be open, and should not require the presence of a mediator. The right quality of interactions and communication affects the positive growth of a child.
Communication calls for the parent to be attentive to emerging needs and changes. The parent should simply listen to the child. The quality of relationships which children make is directly linked with parenting. Communication ensures that both the parent and child are aware of their environments and are in a position to express themselves adequately irrespective of the situations (Macklem, 2008).
Media and parenting
The medias’ role in parenting has recently evolved over the years. The media has played an important role in parenting in several ways. Parents are increasingly looking to the media for information on child rearing through access to a wide array of topics on parenting. Parenting information is available online where parents can borrow lessons from true stories and other experienced parents.
Psychologists also offer chunks of advice to assist parents in child growth and development. The TV also provides a considerable amount of content on parenting which parents can learn from. The print media equally discusses topics on child rearing and other child related stories. Several media owners in the print industry have devoted several pages to discussions on issues relating to family life (Simpson, n.d., para 11).
Despite the positive influence of media, there are several challenges that the media has generated. TV has largely been viewed as the major source of parenting advice hence overlooking other important aspects that build parenting like family and religion.
Sometimes, application of parenting advice varies from situation to situation. Therefore, what is portrayed in the media may be confusing and fail to apply efficiently in different situations. This implies that parents should not treat the media as ‘gospel truth’ hence they should discern what is right and applicable (DeGaetano,2004).
10 Skills of Competent Parents. (2013). Web.
Balter, L. (2000). Parenthood in America: An Encyclopaedia. California, USA: ABC, CLIO.
Bjorklund, D. F. ,& Blasi, C. H (2011). Child and Adolescent Development: An Integrated Approach. California:,USA:Cengage Learning.
Brooks, J. (2000). Parenting. USA: Mc Graw-hill.
DeGaetano, G. (2004). Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping our Kids Human. California, USA: Personhood Press.
Fisher, C. B. , & Lerner, R. M. (2004). Encyclopaedia of Applied Developmental Science. USA: Sage Publications Ltd.
Golombok, S. (2000). Parenting: What Really Counts? New York, USA: Taylor and Francis Group.
Guhl, B. , & Fontenelle, D. H. (2000). Purrfect Parenting. Arizona, USA: Fisher Books.
Luster, T., & Okagaki, L. (2005). Parenting: An Ecological Perspective. New Jersey, USA: Routlege.
Macklem, G. L. (2008). Practitioner’s Guide to Emotion Regulation in School-Aged Children. Massachusetts, USA: Springer.
Parenting Today. (2013). Web.
Schaffer, D. (2009). Social and Personality Development. California, USA: Cengage Learning.
Schaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2009).Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence. California, USA: Cengage Learning.
Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2011). Life Span Human Development. California, USA: Cengage Learning.
Simpson, A. R. Role of Mass Media in Parenting Education. Web.