Contrary to popular belief, parenting does not start with the birth of a baby. It starts right from infancy although to adulthood. It is your responsibility as a parent to promote and support in all ways. You need to provide children with physical, emotional and social support. In addition, you are responsible for their intellectual development. Although various factors including your social class, income and culture are bound to affect your parenting, it is important to stress that the same cannot hinder you from bringing up well-behaved and natured children. To be able to achieve this, you need to move from being just a parent to being a coach and mentor for your children. The kind of parenting model that you choose will be very important in determining what kind of children yours will be. Have a look at the following parenting models:
- Attachment model – You try as much as possible to understand your child in a holistic manner. You create a strong emotional bond between you and the child and rather than resort to physical punishment, you employ interaction strategies, recognizing the fact that the child has brains and what is important is to help him/her develop cognitive ability.
- Natural model – You do not participate in your child’s development. Rather, you let the child explore the surrounding on his/her own. This is without any support or protection from you.
- Authoritarian model – You are always strict with the child, placing a lot of emphasis on discipline. You regularly use physical punishment whenever the child does anything wrong.
To achieve your objective and avoid being frustrated, you need to understand the different stages that your child will go through after being born:
- Infant stage – You main responsibilities include feeding the child, cleaning and ensuring that it is comfortable and obtains enough sleep. You will have sleepless nights with different types of crying. As a parent, you need to understand the different cry types and ascertain that associated with hunger, boredom, attention or discomfort.
- Toddler stage – The child will start exploring the surrounding, taking in diverse environments. The child will try to mimic you, paying attention to your eyes, mouth and body movements. As tantrums set in at this stage, it is your responsibility to start introducing the child to common things around.
- Child stage – The child tries to be independent. Decision-making starts, where the child is able to make choices when presented with several options. The child is able to initiate own play when bored. This is a very important stage. You need to participate in such play because it is from the same that you will be able to build a permanent friendship.
- Adolescent stage – The child begins to establish his/her own identity. This is a time of adventure and discoveries and you have a heavy responsibility in providing guidance and proper information on any questions asked. The way you undertake things at this stage will affect the child positively or negatively.
You will know whether you have been a good parent or not when your child enters the young adult stage. Although independent, he/she will occasionally come to you for advice on education, work, personal development and friendships. As a coach and mentor, ensure that you do the following:
- Recognize the fact that your child is a different personality. Respect his/her individuality.
- In questioning, ask open-ended questions that allow the child to open up as much as possible. It is only by opening up that you will establish special areas to work on.
- Be a good listener. Give you child room to speak out before you show direction where necessary.
- Do not assume. Do not ignore whatever the child says or does.
- Do not be know-it-all. Give your child room to state what he/she knows before you can make corrections. You will be encouraging problem solving skills.