When it comes to the meaning of the concept of parenting, not only the biological fathers and mothers are recognized as parents but also any other individuals involved in the process of taking care of a child and raising him or her (Geddes, Haw & Frank 2010, p. 7). Despite the fact that raising children can be a rather fulfilling and rewarding process in one’s life, it is often very challenging. A parenting strategy is a guidance designed by parents and for parents for a purpose to provide support during the process of raising a child, help parents become the best persons they can be for their offspring, and give them a start in adult life.
The Importance of Parenting
The conducted research shows that children who are loved and supported by their parents are more likely to be healthy physically and mentally not only in the early years of their development but also in adulthood (The Scottish Government 2012b, 10). However, loving and nurturing children does not mean that parents should always allow their children to do whatever they desire. Children’s nurturing as a parenting strategy is linked to creating a positive model for a child as well as establishing acceptable boundaries of behavior that the child should follow consistently.
Furthermore, the positive effects of play should never be underestimated by the parents. Through play, a child will be able to create strong connections with his or her family members as well as develop an interest in exploring the world and learning from it in the future (Irwin, Siddiqi & Hertzman 2007, p. 9). With the child getting older and developing physically and mentally, outdoor playing activities will be beneficial for sustaining the child’s health as well as presenting a balanced and natural way for the child to develop and maintain his or her independence.
As noted by Moges and Weber (2014), children who have a loving and nurturing relationship with their parents are usually able to go through life challenges with success as well as achieve the full potential in their family and career life. In other words, the physical presence of the parents is not enough for the healthy and harmonious development of a child; a parent is to invest in the quality time spent with the child in order to achieve a deeper level of emotional involvement on both sides (Moges & Weber 2014).
This proposition is closely linked to positive parenting as a vehicle for teaching children self-control, reduction of risks in life, as well as the ability to cope with stress and negative outside factors (The Scottish Government 2012b, 11). Thus, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the absence of ability to deal with stress and reduction of self-control can potentially lead to criminal or antisocial behavior.
On another end of the spectrum, outside factors like poverty or inability of parents to get access to certain resources play a negative role in the development of children. However, these factors are not as important as the negative life experiences children go through in their early years. Negative life experiences can lead to serious problems such as drug abuse or alcoholism. In this case, prevention of their instances is much more effective than the cure for an existing issue. Thus, through building a positive future for children by means of effective parenting, the society will be able to achieve long-standing benefits for their children as well as the society as a whole.
Positive Parenting Is Every Child’s Right
Positive parenting strategies are not only nice for children to have but are also the right of every child, outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Unicef n. d.) It is clearly stated in the convention that children have a human right to receive support from their parents in their growth and developments. In addition, the UN Convention places a responsibility on children’s parents to make sure that their rights are valued and met (Unicef n. d.).
A positive parenting strategy that is developed in a framework of a society or a country, in general, can be beneficial in addressing the existing parenting issues and provide guidelines for the parents to follow. One of such frameworks is the National Performance Framework developed by the Scottish Government and which includes the following four steps:
- Giving our children the best start in life.
- Reducing significant inequalities within the society.
- Improving the life experiences of children that are at risk.
- Creating a community where people will be resilient to challenges as well as responsible for their actions and the effect these actions have on other individuals (The Scottish Government 2012b, p. 12).
Furthermore, every positive parenting framework should also include principles that as a checklist for parents in evaluating the well-being of their children. Such checklist can include the following eight principles:
- Healthy. A child should experience high marks of their mental and physical well-being as well as be supported by his or her parents in making choices concerning their health.
- Active. A child should be encouraged and supported in taking a variety of activities that aid in building a happy and satisfying lifestyle.
- Safe. Parents should protect their children from harm as well as mental and physical abuse.
- Achieving. A child should receive support from parents in his or her process of learning.
- Respected. A child should be involved in the process of decision-making in cases where the child’s wellbeing is affected.
- Nurtured. A child should be able to live in a loving and stimulating atmosphere.
- Included. A child should have access to guidance and help in overcoming physical, social, economic, and educational inequalities that exist within the society. Furthermore, it is crucial for a child to be included as a complete member of their society.
- Responsible. A child should be actively involved in their educational and social communities (The Scottish Government 2012a, p. 3).
Effective Parenting Strategies
One of the most significant strategies of parenting is building a strong relationship between parents and their children. Letting children see the fun side of their parents will be a first step towards building a stronger relationship. For instance, sharing a common hobby will make the child see his or her parent as a person. In addition, it is crucial to allow children to have their space, especially when they become teenagers. Overprotection is not the best idea when it comes to parent-children relationships as every child should have the right to privacy in order to develop as a personality (LifeCare 2011, p. 1).
Promotion of Self-Esteem in Children
A positive self-esteem in children and teenagers is closely linked to being valued and loved by their parents. Despite the fact that due to large amounts of time spent with their peers, children’s self-esteem is formed by the environment, it is important for parents to praise their children for their achievements and encourage them to value themselves as individuals. Promotion of self-esteem is also important because it can directly affect children’s behavior.
Separate attention should be paid to respect the concerns children may have in their school or family life. Promotion of self-esteem will be ineffective if parents decide to overlook or dismiss the concerns their children have. Lastly, criticizing children should be done in a cautious manner. If a parent is not satisfied with the child’s behavior, it is crucial to make it clear that the behavior itself is dissatisfying, not the child (LifeCare 2011, p. 2).
It is a common fact that children complain that parents rarely listen to them. This interferes with the strategy of effective communication between parents and their children. Thus, to ensure effective communication, a parent should create a setting in which the full attention is offered to his or her children. At the end of the conversation, it is important to ask the child if there are any concerns left in order for the child to be sure that he or she is fully supported and valued. When talking with a child, especially the one reaching teenage years, parents are advised to avoid lecturing, being judgmental and acting the way as if the parent’s opinion is all that matters. Even if the parent does not agree with the child’s point of view, it is important to show respect and allow the child to voice his or her opinions (LifeCare 2011, p. 3).
A crucial task for parents in their strategy is to teach their children to make effective and wise decisions that are based on the individual opinions and values. To some degree, the values are taught to children through the beliefs and standards of their family or friends. Such values as ethnic identity and religion can be different while the values of kindness and honesty should be taught to all children regardless of their cultural background.
Families are the most important settings in the way the future lives and experiences of children are determined (Halpenny 2016, p. 1). Within the context of the family, children can shape their social expectations and standards which in future facilitate the responsibilities and the greater skills of self-regulation. The effective parenting strategies are linked to giving children the best possible start in life, respecting and valuing their opinions as well as facilitating the process of self-development. Furthermore, the principle of effective parenting that involves nurturing and respect is also the right of every child as mentioned in UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Unicef n. d). The effective parenting strategies provided in the paper offer a guideline for parents to follow when it comes to helping their children become a fully-developed and self-respecting individual.
Geddes, R, Haw, S & Frank, J 2010, Interventions for promoting early child development for health, Chief Scientist Office Edinburgh, Scotland.
Halpenny, A 2016, Parents’ perspectives on parenting styles and disciplining children, Web.
Irwin, L, Siddiqi, A & Hertzman, C 2007, Early child development: a powerful equalizer, Web.
LifeCare 2011, Positive parenting strategies for the teenage years, Web.
Moges, B & Weber, K 2014, Parental Influence on the Emotional Development of Children, Web.
The Scottish Government 2012a, A guide to getting it right for every child, Web.
The Scottish Government 2012b, National parenting Strategy: making a positive difference to children and young people through parenting, Web.
Unicef n.d., UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Web.