EDITOR: OLUSEYI ELIZABETH ODUDIMU
What does it mean to be a parent? Parenting and child’s mental health
Being a parent means assuming the responsibility of raising and caring for a child. It involves providing for the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs, as well as offering guidance and support as the child grows and develops.
Parenting involves a wide range of tasks and responsibilities, including feeding and clothing the child, maintaining their health and safety, helping them learn and develop social and cognitive skills, setting boundaries and discipline, and providing emotional support and love.
Being a parent is a lifelong commitment, and it requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to adapt to the changes and needs of the children as they grow and mature. It can be challenging at times, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in life.
Parenting styles refer to diverse ways parents interact with and raise their children. Here are four main parenting styles identified by developmental psychologists:
- Authoritarian parenting: This style is characterized by strict rules and high demands for obedience. Authoritarian parents often use punishment as a means of discipline and may have low levels of warmth and emotional support.
- Authoritative parenting: This style is characterized by elevated levels of warmth, emotional support, and clear rules and expectations. Authoritative parents use positive reinforcement and punishment as means of discipline and encourage their children to be independent and responsible.
- Permissive parenting: This style is characterized by low levels of discipline and a laissez-faire approach to parenting. Permissive parents are often warm and supportive but may have few rules or expectations for their children.
- Uninvolved parenting: This style is characterized by low levels of warmth, emotional support, and discipline. Uninvolved parents may be neglectful of their children’s needs and may have little involvement in their children’s lives.
It is important to note that these parenting styles are not fixed, and parents may use distinctive styles in different situations or with different children. Additionally, the effectiveness of a particular parenting style may depend on a variety of factors, including the child’s temperament, the parents’ personalities and beliefs, and the cultural context in which the family lives.
Steps to more effective parenting
As parents, we all want our children to be successful, independent, wise and compassionate. We also want to play a role in ensuring that these wishes come true. This is more meaningful during developmental stages when our children depend on us. The ten steps to more effective parenting will help you develop the flexibility and mindfulness to help your child make critical transitions and help you feel more fulfilled as a parent.
- Build a healthy relationship with your child: Spend quality time with your child, engage in conversations and create a positive environment that makes your child feel secure and loved.
- Empathy: Understanding and empathizing with your child helps them feel heard and understood, making them more likely to communicate openly with you.
- Consistency: Establishing clear boundaries and rules for your child and sticking to them consistently helps them understand what is expected of them and promotes healthy behaviour.
- Positive reinforcement: Praising and acknowledging your child’s positive behaviour helps build their confidence and self-esteem, leading to healthy emotional development.
- Active listening: Listening to your child attentively and without any judgment makes them feel valued and heard which is crucial for building trust and a strong relationship.
- Lead by example: Children often learn through imitation, so leading by example and exhibiting desirable behaviour will encourage your child to follow suit.
- Involve your child in decision-making: Including your child in decision-making processes helps them feel valued, heard, and responsible. It also teaches them how to make wise decisions.
- Ensure your child understands the consequences of their actions: Understanding the consequences of their actions will help your child make informed decisions and lead to better behaviour.
- Encourage open communication: By encouraging open communication, you are allowing your child to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
- Consistently prioritize your child’s overall well-being: Always prioritize your child’s well-being in all parenting decisions and prioritize time to ensure that your child’s needs are met.
Positive parenting tips in child development
Positive parenting is an approach to child-rearing that emphasizes building strong supportive relationships with children while setting clear expectations and boundaries. Here are some tips for positive parenting that can support healthy child development:
- Build a strong bond with your child: Spend quality time with your child, engage in activities that they enjoy, and show them love, affection, and attention.
- Encourage good behaviour: Praise your child when they exhibit positive behaviours and reinforce those behaviours by acknowledging them.
- Be consistent with discipline: Set clear expectations and consequences for your child’s behaviour and enforce them consistently.
- Use positive language: Avoid negative language or criticism, and instead, use positive language to encourage and motivate your child.
- Listen to your child: Encourage open communication with your child, and listen to their thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
- Provide opportunities for independence: Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities and opportunities to make decisions, which can help build their confidence and self-esteem.
- Teach problem-solving skills: Help your child learn how to solve problems and make decisions on their own, which can help them develop critical thinking skills.
- Model good behaviour: Be a positive role model for your child and demonstrate the behaviour you would like to see from them.
Remember that positive parenting is a process which can take time and effort to build strong, supportive relationships with children. By using these tips and being consistent in your approach, you can help support healthy child development and foster a positive, loving relationship with your child.
Principles of good parenting
As a parent, I do not have personal beliefs or feelings about the principles of good parenting, but based on the commonly accepted principles of good parenting, here are some pointers:
- Love: Show unconditional love and affection to your child.
- Communication: Foster a healthy relationship by keeping an open line of communication with your child.
- Consistency: Provide a stable and consistent environment for your child.
- Positivity: Focus on positivity and praise children for their efforts and achievements.
- Boundaries: Set boundaries and establish reasonable expectations for your child.
- Discipline: Discipline your child fairly and consistently.
- Empathy: Encourage empathy and understanding in your child by providing opportunities for community service or volunteering.
- Encouragement: Support and encourage your child to pursue their passions and interests.
- Safety: Ensure that your child is safe and secure in their environment.
- Encouragement: Lead by example and encourage your child to be the best version of themselves they can be.
How to avoid battles with your kids
As a mother, I have personal experience with parenting and can affirm that successful parenting is not about achieving perfection. None of us is perfect, and misunderstanding is healthy in every relationship. But it is essential that you approach your parenting habits with positivity, hope, and commitment.
Arguing with your child can be a frustrating and challenging experience that can leave both you and your child feeling upset and overwhelmed. As a mother, I established several strategies I cultivate to reduce arguments with my children and manage conflicts on many occasions.
Here are some tips that may help:
Tips to help you avoid arguing with your kids
- Set clear rules and expectations: Make sure your kids understand what is expected of them and what consequences will result if they do not abide by the rules.
- Listen to your kids: Take the time to listen to your children’s concerns and opinions. When they feel heard, they are more likely to cooperate with you.
- Positive reinforcement: Encourage and praise good behaviour. When kids receive positive feedback, they are more likely to repeat that behaviour.
- Choose your battles: Decide what matters most and let go of the small stuff. Not every argument is worth fighting.
- Remain calm: Keep your emotions in check, even
Tips to help you stop arguing with your child
- Stay calm: It can be easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and become emotional when your child is arguing with you. However, staying calm and composed can help you to manage the situation more effectively. Take a few deep breaths before responding to your child and try to keep your voice and body language calm and neutral.
- Listen actively: When your child is arguing with you, it can be tempting to interrupt or dismiss their concerns. However, active listening can help your child feel heard and understood which can reduce the intensity of the argument. Listen to what your child is saying, repeat back what you heard to ensure you understand their point of view, and then respond calmly and respectfully.
- Set clear boundaries: Children need structure and boundaries to feel safe and secure. Setting clear expectations and boundaries can help to prevent arguments from occurring in the first place. Make sure your child understands the rules and consequences of breaking them and be consistent in enforcing them.
- Use positive reinforcement: When your child behaves well or responds positively to a conflict, make sure to acknowledge and praise their behaviour. Positive reinforcement can encourage your child to continue behaving well and can help to prevent arguments from escalating.
- Seek support when needed: If you find that arguments with your child are becoming frequent or are difficult to manage, consider seeking support from a parenting coach, therapist, or other professional. They can help you develop new strategies for managing conflicts and improving communication with your child.
Remember that conflicts are a normal part of any relationship including parent-child relationships. By staying calm, listening actively, setting clear boundaries, using positive reinforcement, and seeking support when needed, you can help to reduce the likelihood of arguments and manage conflicts healthily and productively.
Research findings suggest that parents who struggle with their parenting skills and responsibilities or feel too overwhelmed to improve their social and communicative skills may negatively impact their kids.
Many skills can be helpful for parents to develop to be effective in raising their children. Here are some important parenting skills:
- Communication: Being able to communicate with your child clearly and respectfully can help build a strong relationship and foster a sense of trust. Effective communication also involves active listening and the ability to understand your child’s perspective.
- Positive reinforcement: Praising your child for good behaviour can help build self-esteem and confidence and reinforce positive behaviours.
- Setting boundaries and discipline: Setting clear expectations and consequences for behaviour can help children understand what is expected of them and can provide structure and consistency.
- Empathy: Being able to understand and empathize with your child’s feelings can help them feel heard and understood and can also help you respond more effectively.
- Problem-solving: Teaching your child problem-solving skills can help them learn how to handle demanding situations and make good decisions.
- Patience: Parenting can be challenging and frustrating at times, and it is important to be patient and understanding with your child.
- Flexibility: Being able to adapt to your child’s changing needs and developmental stages can help you be more effective as a parent.
- Self-care: Taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, can help you be a better parent by reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.
Remember that parenting is a learning process, and no one is perfect. By working on developing these skills and being open to learning from your experiences, you can become a more effective and confident parent.
Commandments of good parenting
There is no one set of parenting commandments that works for every family or every child. However, some general principles can help guide parents as they navigate the challenges of raising children. Here are some examples:
- Put your child’s needs first: Children rely on their parents for love, support, and guidance. Make sure that you prioritize your child’s needs and well-being above your own.
- Provide a safe and nurturing environment: Children need a safe and secure environment to grow and develop. Make sure that your home is a safe and nurturing place for your child to thrive.
- Be consistent: Children thrive on routine and predictability. Set clear expectations and boundaries and be consistent in enforcing them.
- Communicate effectively: good communication is key to building strong relationships with your child. Listen actively, speak respectfully, and be honest and open with your child.
- Model positive behaviours: Children learn by example. Model positive behaviours, such as kindness, respect, and responsibility and your child is more likely to emulate them.
- Encourage independence: As children grow and develop, they need to learn how to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Encourage your child’s independence, while also providing guidance and support.
- Practice self-care: Parenting can be stressful and demanding, so it’s important to take care of your own mental and physical health. Make sure that you prioritize self-care and seek support when you need it.
Remember, there is no one “right” way to parent, and what works for one family may not work for another. However, by prioritizing your child’s needs, providing a safe and nurturing environment, being consistent, communicating effectively, modelling positive behaviours, encouraging independence, and practising self-care, you can help ensure that your child grows up happy, healthy, and resilient.
Raising kids with special needs
Raising children with special needs can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips for parents:
- Educate yourself about your child’s diagnosis and needs. Learn as much as you can about your child’s condition and how it may affect their development and behaviour.
- Seek out support from other parents with similar experiences. Join support groups, online forums, or attend parent meetings for families with special needs children.
- Be patient and flexible with yourself and your child. Remember that every child is unique and may have unique needs and abilities.
- Advocate for your child’s needs with healthcare professionals, school staff, and other caregivers. Develop a strong partnership with them to ensure your child receives the best care possible.
- Focus on your child’s strengths and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
- Take care of yourself, emotionally and physically. Self-care is important for parents of all children, but especially for those raising special needs children. Make sure to prioritize your own
Easy Ways to be a fantastic parent
Being a fantastic parent is a goal that many parents aspire to, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. Here are some uncomplicated ways that parents can be fantastic:
- Show love and affection: Demonstrate affection and love for your child through hugs, kisses, and kind words. This can help build a strong bond and sense of security.
- Be present: Try to be present and engaged with your child when you are spending time together. Put away distractions like phones and TV and focus on connecting with your child.
- Listen actively: Listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings and show interest in what they have to say. Ask questions and be willing to hear their perspective.
- Have fun together: Be available to have fun with your child, whether it’s playing games, going for walks, or doing arts and crafts. This can help build positive memories and strengthen your relationship.
- Encourage independence: Support your child’s independence by giving them age-appropriate responsibilities and opportunities to make decisions.
- Be consistent: Set clear expectations and consequences for behaviour and enforce them consistently. This can help provide structure and predictability for your child.
- Show patience: Parenting can be challenging, and it is important to show patience and understanding when things do not go as planned.
- Prioritize self-care: Take care of yourself physically and emotionally and be available for activities that help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. This can help you be a better parent by reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.
Remember that being a fantastic parent is about doing your best and showing your child love and support. By focusing on these simple strategies, you can build a strong relationship with your child and help them thrive.
Balancing Parenting with Social Life
Parenting can be a demanding and time-consuming job, and it can be challenging to balance the responsibilities of parenting with maintaining an active social life. However, parents need to prioritize their own social needs, as well as the needs of their children.
Here are some tips for balancing parenting and social life:
- Plan: Schedule social activities in advance, and coordinate with your partner or other caregivers to ensure that your children are well-cared for while you are away.
- Find activities that include your children: Look for social activities that are family-friendly, such as picnics, outings to the park or zoo, or play dates with other families.
- Connect with other parents: Join a parenting group, attend events for parents, or connect with other parents online. This can provide opportunities to socialize with other adults who understand the demands of parenting.
- Prioritize self-care: Be available for self-care activities, such as exercise, hobbies, or relaxation, which can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
- Be flexible: Recognize that parenting can be unpredictable and be willing to adjust your plans or make alternate arrangements if needed.
- Set boundaries: It is important to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs, while also meeting the needs of your children. Be clear about your availability and communicate your needs to others.
Remember that every parent’s situation is different, and it is important to find a balance that works for you and your family. By prioritizing your social needs and finding ways to connect with others, you can support your well-being and build a dedicated support network for yourself and your family.
Peterson, T. (2022, January 11). What Is Parenting? What Does It Mean to Be a Parent?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, April 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-skills-strategies/what-is-parenting-what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-parent
Parenting. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. Retrieved April 2023 from https://www.apa.org/topics/parenting
Lisa Coyne and Amy Murrell (2009) The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to … – Lisa Coyne, Amy Murrell – Google Books