Child rearing or parenting is a unique process involving establishing a connection with a child before he/she arrives in the world of actual parents and caregivers. This process continues throughout a child’s life until he/she outgrows the care of his/her parents. Parenting or caring promotes and furthers the mental, physical, social, and emotional development of a growing child from infancy through adulthood. It also includes the responsibility of providing security and helping children acquire self-confidence and assertiveness. Essentially, it encompasses the four elements of parenting: giving, receiving, making, and learning.
There are many different approaches and models for parenting. The most common is the socialization model which considers human beings to be psychologically and socially structured following from birth. In this model, there are three primary socialization processes: instinctive socialization, rational socialization, and sociocultural or experiential socialization. Instinctive socialization occurs from birth and lasts through the toddler years, while rational socialization and emotional socialization occur at later ages. Socialization also applies to children outside of the home when they interact with adults.
Parenting also involves two main areas: parental guidance and child development. Guidance involves setting limits, controlling anger, teaching self-control, and fostering positive behaviors. Child development is related to physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. These areas include verbal skills, self-control, personal values, attitudes toward people and things, and independent thinking. Parents can also play an important role in child development by encouraging self-esteem, maintaining positive interactions, exercising self-reliance, feeding a healthy self-image, and fostering healthy relationships.
There are several ways to integrate behavior modification, physical exercise, and independent thinking into the parenting of your child. Early diagnosis and stimulation by the family’s primary caregivers are critical to child development. Parents can provide the emotional support that the primary caregiver is not able to give. Many of these caregivers were not able to have the social skills and social relationships that they have been used to having as children. Some of these early experiences are not easily adjustment to new environmental demands and can be painful for the child.
As the child enters the toddler and preschool years, parents may make adjustments to their parenting to increase their effectiveness and quality of care. Some parents may make adjustments to their child’s discipline style based on what works for them and their friends. Some parents may make an effort to create an independent, caring environment where they can model their parenting style. In some cases this independent approach can be very successful, where other parents are unable to practice this discipline style due to resistance or fear of parenting styles that are independent.
A well-balanced, comprehensive parenting program includes all three components of parenting: guidance, discipline, and socialization. A good program will encourage self-control, healthy relationships, appropriate socialization, and responsible decision-making and behavior. It is also important to remember that parenting does not stop with the early years of child development. Many of the same principles of effective parenting will carry over into adulthood and may be even more effective due to their longevity. Raising children in a positive and productive environment continues into adulthood and can impact the parent’s professional, psychological, and social life.