Subtopic 1: Parenting Skills and Their Development
Description of Concrete Experience: I have found parenting to be a very tasking job yet important responsibility that one has in a lifetime. Unfortunately there is no formal education to guide me in parenting; all I have is a handful of literature materials on the subject. I mostly rely on the experience I received from my parents. I usually do either what they did to me or do what I felt was supposed to be done based on my personal opinion
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Reflection: As a parent, rather a mother of two children it has not been an easy task trying to bring them up in the most appropriate way. There is no parenting class offered in school and the guidance given in the hospital before birth mainly focuses on the birth process. No one gives a very comprehensive guideline on how to bring up children until they become responsible adults. Most people muddle along until they make it.
As a single parent my main concern has been to try the much I can to understand my children’s behavior and give them the most appropriate guidance. Knowing that they will at one point become adolescent, I have made efforts to try and get any relevant form of training that will assist me in guiding them when the right time comes. Under the training, I learnt the different reactions of my children to people as well as different events.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: Psychologists have made efforts to research and come up with recommendation on the best parenting tactics. Parents might therefore acquire the parenting skills by going for the appropriate training.
Since the death for my husband on April 2003, it has been very challenging to parent my children singlehandedly. My children lack a father figure and this has affected them in a way.
Psychologists have recommended the best way to ensure that your children are brought up to become responsible adults. It is quite common for children raised by single parents to be seriously affected and if not well guided they might start indulging in unacceptable acts like substance abuse.
Testing and Application: I have sought help from psychologists under the family therapy program as well as the psychotherapy and this has had a great impact in helping me develop better parenting skills.
I can now understand my two children and avoid practices that are unhealthy. I have been able to adapt the best practices when it comes to matters like administering disciplinary measures to them as well as helping them avoid bad habits.
Some of the tactics I use include taking some of their privileges away, for instance, I do this through denying my son the chance to watch television, having fun at the play station, hanging out with his friends, going for skating as well as doing some spanking among other forms of instilling discipline.
For my daughter on the other hand, I do it by basically making sure that she does not get her privileges for instance, by taking away her cell phone as well as denying her the chance to watch television.
Subtopic 2: Parental Values and Attitudes That Accompany Stages in the Development of the Child
Description of Concrete Experience: I learnt that in the early stages of development, the child is in most cases preoccupied with acquisition of knowledge and values and this mainly comes from the environment from which the child brought up. This means my children behave according to the attitude that me as the parent portrays towards them.
If I have a negative attitude towards my children, they tend to behave badly because of the notion that I do not show love to them. Name calling is also a problem. When a parent constantly refers to disobedient child as naughty, there are high chances that the children will grow perceiving themselves as naughty.
This is widely known as the self fulfilling prophesies. In the same way, I have learnt to always have a positive perception towards my children. I believe that they are growing up with a better perception of themselves which is that they are good people expected to behave well.
Reflection: This tactic has worked for me. I always want my children to have a positive outlook towards life and have a high self esteem.
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I therefore for focus on their positive aspects and encourage them to develop positive traits instead of focusing on their shortfalls or how bad they are. I correct them by showing them the right values that I want them to acquire. I do my best to act as a role model to them hence showing them the right path to follow.
One cannot for instance expect the child to be hard working if he/she is not providing the best example for being hard working. Children basically acquire their values from the parents whether consciously or unconsciously. If the parent is a drunkard, the child is most likely to become one as that is the value that the child will have acquired.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: the Information Processing Theory of Cognitive Development explains that a child’s brain can be compared to the computer. This translates to mean that the brain accepts input and uses the same information to process the output.
The child will therefore perceive and understand issues according to the input acquired particularly from those parenting them. Whatever occurs in the physical or the social environment of the child greatly influence their expectations or understanding about life issues.
Their social, cultural or even cultural environment greatly influences their development and this is basically acquired from the adults around them. As a mother, I have a very significant role in my children’s cognitive development because they depend on what I teach them or what they learn from my conduct to develop they behavior.
Testing and Application: my children usually prefer to emulate me and other adults as they develop their own personality. In some cases, my children may play the roles of parents in their games and this allows them take responsibilities in a simulated setting making decisions and acting like responsible grown-ups.
This just shows the role that parenting plays in the cognitive development of a child. Children may for instance play games that mimic proper behavioral conduct or routine activities of those values instilled in them in the earlier years.
Children acquire logical reasoning at an early age; they are able to use deductive methods of reasoning to come up with conclusions. Such deductions are in most cases acquired from their environments. Children born in conservative families, cultures or believe systems tend to be conservative. In most cases they stick to the principles and beliefs installed in them and they are very reluctant to act or go against those beliefs.
Subtopic 3: Methods of Effective Guidance
Description of Concrete Experience: as a parent I strife to give effective guidance to my children. I feel that am obliged to use techniques that will minimize conflict between me and them children. In this endeavor punishment and discipline are two different things.
My method of guidance is developmentally appropriate because I now understand what my children want what I expect from them. A consider my children as very important members of my family. As such they need to be loved and I take up this duty to ensure better development. Just like any other child I understand that children need my love and need to know they are loved. I give them unconditional love.
As a single parent, I try to see to it that the children feel my love as they have no one else to look to when it comes to parental love. Even while implementing the disciplinary measures, I make them understand that it is for their own good as I want them to become responsible people.
Reflection: As a parent of a teenage son, it is never easy to give the appropriate guidance whenever the child has made a mistake. Most adolescents become rowdy and they may be unwilling to cooperate in different ways.
Punishing my son sometimes draws him away and he distances himself and hence making it even more difficult for me to give the needed guidance. In such cases, disciplining the child might be of greater significance than administering punishment.
The best way of fostering discipline for me has been to ensure effective communication and openness with the child and talking to him/her about the issue at hand. The method is effective and it can works for children of different ages. In most cases the results are usually positive. In fact, the child is able to contribute to the solution to his/her own problem.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: It is always good to understand the development stage a child is going through. It could be more harmful when I view my child as a failure or a letdown when it comes to the behavior. I understand that my children are still in the age bracket of learning behavior that can be termed as acceptable. As far as I see, the best guidance approach is preventive rather than curative.
This makes me to be sensitive about the feeling of my children and I respect their feelings and address bad behavioral aspects. I always seek establish the reason behind certain behaviors of my children must be established. As a parent I have developed a relationship that is supportive with my children so as to foster the guidance.
Testing and Application: there are some standard guidance approaches that are very beneficial in ensuring that children attain better self control and respect for other people.
As a parent, I have acted as a role model to my children and my zeal to learn better parenting skills has also paid off well as I have managed to keep my children obedient. They always feel loved and accepted as they are and this has helped be foster their self-concept.
I have always given them option that I know I can be able to abide by myself. I also give realistic options and sensible repercussions for defiance. Considering that some behavior come because of the environment in which people grow, I have adopted an approach that constantly changes the environment to avoid certain bad behaviors that may develop.
Subtopic 4: The Role of Discipline: Compare and Contrast Discipline with Punishment
Description of Concrete Experience: Discipline helps children to adopt acceptable ways or habits and it entails teaching good behavior and rebuking bad behavior. Punishment on the other hand is reprimanding bad behavior with aim of preventing such behavior in future or deterrence of unacceptable conduct.
It’s often a parent’s way of reacting to anger. It is a hurtful act that helps to prevent the child from committing the mistake although this is short lived. I know that punishment does not give any guidance to the children but could precipitate into unhealthy relationship between the parent and the child. Punishment is not the best option for in trying to correct my children.
My children need to learn appropriate behavior in a positive way and punishment is just a short-lived remedy to the problem of wrongdoing. Children who are punished may in the long run become very different people as compared to those disciplined.
Reflection: Discipline plays a very significant role in a child’s development. It is meaningful to a child as it enables him/her to rectify the mistake and points to the right thing to do. The child feels appreciated and he/she becomes part of the solution to the problem at hand.
Punishment on the other hand does not show the child what to do. The child is left to feel that he/she is bad. It might in fact have nothing to do with the mistake. It does not make sense to the child.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: In disciplining, I take the position of a role model hence a guide to my children by being a good example to them. In punishment however, I am the judge over the misconduct and I pass the judgment to them by inflicting pain like grounding them, denying them television, taking away their computer games, telephone and for my son sometimes spanking. After one is disciplined, the person feels motivated while punishment results in the demoralization of the subject.
Testing and Application: Punishment might be administered by inflicting pain to the offender or denying them something and this is usually effective because children attach so much value to things like TV and computer games.
However, the only problem is that it may leave negative feeling that as a parent I do not love them 100%, its therefore a great challenge trying to let them know that I punish them because I love them.
In my case for instance, I use both denying of privileges as well as spanking while trying to correct my children’s behavior and they change their behavior and even ask for forgiveness. Whenever the children fail to comply by the discipline I offer, then they become liable for some punishment.
I use both discipline and punishment to ensure that my children will grow to become responsible members of the society. My discipline approach encompasses training and imparting proper knowledge while punishment is mainly inflicting pain, emotional and physical.
Subtopic 5: Constructive and Destructive Elements in Parenting Styles
Description of Concrete Experience: Parenting can be both constructive as well as destructive. Those elements of parenting that are constructive should be encouraged while the destructive ones should be discouraged.
Some of the constructive ones might include; building a good rapport between the children and the parent, reinforcing the desired behavior and letting the children understand the consequences of bad behavior. Punishment is just one of the destructive parenting elements. Here pain or agony is inflicted to the child so as to force them to stop a negative behavior. It might be in form or corporal punishment or verbal reprimand.
Reflection: Discipline coupled with guidance tends to be very beneficial when reinforcing good behavior and this is precisely much of what I use.
Many people know that parents must act as role models so as to instill the desired values into their children. Reprimands if not well used or targeted at a given character might just result in reinforcing the negative character as it gives the child the attention.
In some cases the child might feel slandered and develop a negative attitude. This is the reason why I show a lot of affection to KA and ZA and make use positive reinforcements so as to encourage positive behavior rather than punitive measures. A good relationship makes my children feel more secure and therefore are always willing to comply with my parenting manipulation of their behavior.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: Authoritarian Parenting style is based strict rules and being in charge. The parents using this strategy seek to take total control of all the aspects of their children’s lives. Parent hence institute stringent rules, they are inflexible, unbending and strict. Such parent can be said to use ‘iron rod’ in ruling their children.
Defiance of the rules leads to punishment and the relationship between the parents and the children lacks warmth and affection. Children cannot develop ability to think well as parents do not explain reason behind the rules and they have problems of expressing themselves.
The permissive parenting style is the approach where parents are more loving and the parents do not strive to take control but allow their children to be in charge of their behavior. Parents do not usually institute a lot of rules and even the few that ate set are often lenient.
Parents require their children to develop critical thinking skills to know that bad behavior is harmful to self and others. Children are not often punished because parents fear that they may cause harm or the children would be offended and develop negative attitudes towards them. These parents are kind and loving but problem could escalate when children’s behavior becomes more rebellious requiring strong reprimand.
The democratic parenting styles employ a model that seems to be having permissive and authoritarian attributes. Democratic parents only enforce rules they deem very necessary and are also liberal in dealing with situations. These parents are loving and firm in their stance and are able to strike a good balance between high and low expectations.
This style allows parents and children to work together towards common goals and consequently, the children will grow to love their parents and revere their guidance. Children will grow to become more responsible and this is why I have adopted this parenting style.
Testing and Application: as a parent I have been more consistent as this reduces resistance on the side of my children. My parenting style has developed a harmonious relationship between me as a parent and my two children.
Consequently I often get positive results at the end. The parent needs to be flexible and be willing to listen and negotiate with the child especially if he/she is an adolescent. This reduces resistance and the child feels appreciated hence developing positive judgment. The parent needs to set behavior limits.
The parent must be ready to reward positive or desirable behavior and help the child in developing self discipline. Eliminating negative behavior without reinforcing positive ones might not be that effective. The parent might also deny the child some privileges like taking the phone from the child, denying the child driving privileges, not allowing them to go out with their friends among other strategies.
Subtopic 6: The Challenges to Responsible and Effective Parenting Presented By Contemporary Society
Description of Concrete Experience: The situation in which the society is in today has brought a lot of challenges to parenting. These challenges are increasing becoming more prevalent because of the characteristics of the society as being sophistication. As long as parenting is in the realm of the society, its implication can hence be overlooked. Accordingly, the societal challenges of parenting greatly vary based on individual. Having the knowledge of these challenges have made me better prepared to seek for means or reacting adequately as to be a good parent.
Parenting effectively in the contemporary society is a very challenging task. Most people have drifted away from the ancient ways of parenting. Today’s children are exposed to all forms of media which tends to influence their moral perceptions. They are also prone to the peer pressure and drug abuse. It is therefore not an easy task to instill discipline or good morals to these children.
Reflection: Today’s parents are expected to work so as to carter for their families. They therefore spend most of their time at the workplace and have very little time with the children. It seems as though most of the children today interact more with technology than with their parents.
Children therefore lack role models and they tend to emulate the celebrities. The children today mature faster and become sexually active at a very early age and they are likely to indulge in sexual activities even before their right time comes.
The influence of the society is the main challenge in that as a parent I have been forced to put into considerations the developing norms of the society like allowing my children access to internet and their privacy. Basically I seek to ensure that as much as I try to uphold social and moral rules, I do not end up exposing my children to negative social influence. As such I encourage religious and moral uprightness.
Generalization/Principles/Theories: a major challenge that parents face is having difficult children. These are the type of children who seem to be very hard to control or offer guidance to. This can spark violence as parents seek to take drastic actions to correct their children. As a parent, I seek to do this job with love and temperament and natural understanding.
In the contemporary world, teenage parenting is very taxing because the teenagers are ambitious and exposed to too much information because of the societal sophistication in information technology.
This involves a lot of maturity and I strive to warn my teenage son to be careful on what he watches, reads, and the friends he keep. I have made my children know that my role is to shape their future and not jeopardize their wellbeing.
Because of job demands, I have sometimes failed to attend to what my children do during the day when am not around but I am confident that they would not misbehave on such grounds. I work hard do all the things I deem necessary for my children and I strife to spend much time with them as possible.
Testing and Application: as a single parent, the contemporary society puts much pressure on an individual because naturally a child needs to have a mother and a father. This is the most prevalent challenge in parenting today because the number of signal parent is increasing and is caused by various reasons.
Children brought up by signal parent are thought to be spoilt and irresponsible because of the imbalance of parenting during their upbringing. I understand the impact of teenage behaviors including peer influence, risk of early sexual behavior and risk of drug abuse.
As a parent I learn to stay with my children to help unlearn whatever bad habits they picked from friends or other bad influencers. I use the knowledge of the contemporary challenges to help me finds the best ways of responding properly to these challenges.