The Cambridge dictionary defines parenting as the raising of children and all the responsibilities and activities that are involved in it.
According to Wikipedia, Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship. Parenting is usually done by the biological parents of the child in question, although governments and society take a role as well. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised in foster care, or placed in an orphanage.
Having said that, we believe that every parent will have their own unique definitions, according to their personal experiences. Whatever defines parenting, it is a constant process with absolutely no room for giving up. Like Frederick Douglas said, “It is easier to build healthy children than to repair broken men’. Therefore, parenting is a constant process of building up their social quotient, their emotional quotient, and their intelligent quotient to produce well-rounded adults.
Parenting Environmental Factors
An important factor that has been identified in the process of parenting is the environment the parents provide and expose the children too. When a child feels loved and wanted, it improves his self-esteem and impacts is emotional quotient positively tremendously. Jane D Hull said: ‘At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
As we go through this experience of parenting, we realize that parenting is getting down to the level of the child, adopting ‘child speak’ and listening with all your heart. Because, no matter how much we scream, the child only does what he sees. “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you” – Robert Fulghum
We all know that the most crucial job in the world is parenting. Some experts recommend parenting classes to prepare parents on the rigors of parenthood. As children are believed to the most important resource in the world. The amount of quality time we spend with our children will determine the value add of the new generations to the social, economic, political framework of the world.
In recognition of the efforts made by parents world over, The United Nations proclaimed June 1 to be the Global Day of Parenting “to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.” It is the same day as International Children’s Day.
Parents’ or Parenting Day is observed in South Korea (May 8) and in the United States (fourth Sunday of July). The South Korean designation was established in 1973, replacing the Mother’s Day previously marked on May 8 and included public and private celebrations. The United States day was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. June 1 has also been proclaimed as “Global Day of Parents/Parenting” by the United Nations as a mark of appreciation for the commitment of parents towards their children. In the Philippines, while it is not strictly observed or celebrated, the first Monday of December each year is proclaimed as Parents’ Day.
Every parent has their own unique style of parenting influenced by various factors. While some follow their heart with natural parenting methods, others blindly follow methods used by their forefathers. Whatever the method, Developmental psychologists have long been interested in how parenting styles impact child development.
In the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children. Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews, and other research methods, she identified some critical dimensions of parenting.
These dimensions include disciplinary strategies, warmth and nurturing, communication styles and expectations of maturity and control. Baumrind suggested that parents display one of three different parenting styles. Maccoby and Martin also suggested adding a fourth style.
Baumrind’s Parenting Styles: Four Types of Parenting
Authoritarian parenting is often thought of as disciplinarians.
- Strict discipline style with little negotiation possible. Punishment is common.
- Communication is mostly one way: from parent to child. Rules usually are not explained.
- Parenting with this style are typically less nurturing.
- Expectations are high with limited flexibility.
Permissive or Indulgent parenting mostly let their children do what they want, and offer limited guidance or direction. They are more like friends than parents.
- Their discipline style is the opposite of strict. They have limited or no rules and mostly let children figure problems out on their own.
- Communication is open, but this parenting style lets children decide for themselves rather than giving direction.
- Parents in this category tend to be warm and nurturing.
- Expectations are typically minimal or not set by these parents.
Uninvolved parenting gives children a lot of freedom and generally stay out of their way. Some parents may make a conscious decision to parent in this way, while others are less interested in parenting or unsure of what to do.
- No particular discipline style is utilized. An uninvolved parenting lets a child mostly do what he wants, probably out of a lack of information or care.
- Communication is limited.
- This group of parents offers little nurturing.
- There are few or no expectations of children.
Authoritative parenting are reasonable and nurturing and set high, clear expectations. Children with parents who demonstrate this style tend to be self-disciplined and think for themselves. This style is considered to be most beneficial to children.
- Disciplinary rules are clear, and the reasons behind them are explained.
- Communication is frequent and appropriate to the child’s level of understanding.
- Authoritative parenting is a nurturing parenting style.
- Expectations and goals are high but stated clearly. Children may have input into goals.
More recent parenting styles:
In 1990, Foster Cline and Jim Fay coined the term ‘helicopter parenting’ which gained wide currency as the oldest millennial began reaching college.
Helicopter Parenting is similar to the authoritative style, but with a little more involvement, or some might say over-involvement, in a child’s life. A helicopter parent is also known as cosseter.
Free range parenting
This parenting style resembles the uninvolved style, but with a conscious decision to allow more independent thinking that is in the best interest of the child.
Whatever parenting styles are adopted, there are myriad factors that play an important role in the development of the child. There are many methods to nurture the intellectual and cognitive development of the child.
Parenting tips to develop a smart kid
Children go through various stages of brain development through Parenting. The formation of new neurons and synapses is fastest at birth then slow down over time, that is why babies and toddlers can learn so fast compared to adults. Each neuron on an average connects 40,000 synapses. There are as many as 10,000 specific types of neurons in the brain.
An impressive amount of brain development happens during pregnancy. This development is the foundation of the baby’s intelligence to parenting and the rest of its life. So how do you create an enriched environment for Brain Development?
Parenting through Social Interaction
The Social Intelligence of a child develops from social interactions with people and from learning during social settings. Social interactions improve verbal fluency and conversational skills, active listening skills, knowledge of social roles, rules and scripts, role-playing and social efficacy.
Social activities also encourage growth in the language center of the brain. Encourage and provide as many social platforms for your child.
Parenting to Start Early
Some experts recommend giving your child a head start in learning, terming it a ‘start in the crib’, activities to support early childhood development.
Examples are maximizing loving responsiveness and minimizing stress, talking, singing and gesturing a lot, using number games and rhythm, enabling and encouraging three-dimensional competencies, and cultivating a love of learning.
Parenting by Reading Books to Your Kid
Reading to your child early will give him a head start in developing language skills. Kids who are read to when young are more likely to develop a lifelong interest in reading, do well in school and succeed in adult life.
Reading books is one of the most important activities that make kids smart.
Parenting using Conversations
Talking and listening to your child increases greater brain activity and verbal attitude.
Parenting Quality time and interactions
Scientists have observed that babies who are cuddled, played with and loved have stunted brain growth. Many studies have shown that loving, hugging, interacting and playing with your child has a strong effect on developing his intelligence.
Parents who respond to their child’s signals promptly and appropriately provide a secure base for their children.
Parenting to Nurture a Reader
Reading develops a child’s appetite for knowledge, the more he learns from reading, the more his quest for learning.
Parenting and Play
Social Interactions through play creates the foundation for intellectual, social, physical and emotional skills. This way, he learns to combine ideas, impressions, and feelings based on his experiences with other kids).
Parenting by Encouraging creativity
Nurture your child’s creativity by exposing your child to literature, music, and arts. Studies have shown that listening to music can boost memory, attention, motivation, and learning.
A child’s brains develop faster with music training.
Parenting by Limiting screen time
A child should not be watching TV before age 2. Too much of screen time limits social interactions and time for other brain-stimulating activities.
Be a good role model by Parenting
Children learn faster through observation. So try to emulate behavior that you want to teach in them.
Parenting by being Boring: Which is OK
Getting bored prepares your child for adulthood. Your child should also learn to enjoy ‘quiet reflection’ instead of just filling the day with activities.
Parenting by Promoting Freedom of thought
Children should be allowed to take risks and experience failure of pain. Encourage them to come up with solutions for conflicts or challenges they face.
It is important they learn to think and solve problems by themselves. Avoid coddling your child.
Providing the right nutrition for your child is essential to improve attention, focus and thinking skills.
Parenting One’s Sleep
Regular sleeping habits help prevent dementia over time, helps the brains restore information, enhances language skills and hand-eye coordination, helps re-establish order and keeps emotions in check.
Sleep is vital to keeping the brain healthy and preventing mental disorders. Sleep impairment can lead to mood disorders and chronic illnesses.
Parenting Math: Introduce it early
Maths is a good brain activity to keep the child stimulated and actively engaged.
According to researcher Greg Duncan: ”mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, but it also predicts future reading achievement.
Parenting Physically: Exercise
Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and builds new brain cells. It has a tremendous impact on a child’ still-developing brain.
Sometimes as parents we get overwhelmed and may need a little guidance. Here are a few books that will guide you through important milestones or challenges. Here are useful parenting books to read:
- Your two year old: terrible or tender by Louise Bates,
- Becoming attached by Robert Karen
- All Joy and no fun by Jennifer Senior
- When partners become parents by Carolyn Pape Cowan & Philip A Cowan
- Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
- The child, the family, and the outside world by D.W. Winnicott
- The whole brainchild by Daniel J Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
- No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
- The drama of the gifted child by Alice Miller
- Queen Bees Wannabes – Rosalind Wiseman
Technology has definitely provided us with a myriad of the platform to keep our children actively engaged. Parenting needs to be mindful about the kind of games the kids are exposed to ensuring to guide them to choose games that are age-appropriate.
Some important brain training apps that claim to improve intelligence and cognitive skills like memory, attention, processing speed and problem-solving ability are:
- Kids brain games digital copel
- Lumosity Mobile
- Fiete Match
- Brain trainer special
- Mensa Brain Training
- Elevate brain training
- Eidetic – Learn and remember anything
- iMindMap kids
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