Does Parenting Come Naturally?

Having a child is a significant land mark in one’s life. Parenting a child is the most important job an adult can ever embark upon. It is a mission for life. The ambiguity of all this is that while instructions come with every new task one engages in, a new born does not bring a manual. So how do we parent? Research shows that many parents repeat what they learnt from their childhood, if it was pleasant, or do the opposite if they did not like it.

This comes naturally.

But Effective Parenting  is something else. In today’s world the upbringing and education of children require skills and knowledge that perhaps were not available to parents decades ago. Not only that, but research also shows that with all the good intentions in the world, sometimes more harm than good is done because of ineffective parenting. Through my professional work with parents I can easily say that the vast majority of parents love their children. Love also means shouldering the responsibility to be in touch with today’s research and knowledge about parenting.

Parents are a child’s first teachers and are supposed to enhance the holistic development of the child. From the first year of life children are absorbing and influencing their environment. Adults responsible for such young children are not only expected to provide the baby’s basic needs but also to help the child build trust in others. When an infant does not have to cry to be fed, cleaned or be spoken to she is learning to trust others.

Children learn two very important life lessons in heir first two years, and they learn these on their own – that is walking and talking. Of course a happy two year old, excited about his achievements wants to talk and walk all the time and on his own if possible. While doing this she is trying to prove to herself that she can achieve and to show her significant others that she is learning. The drive to learn is strong in children. All this can be spoilt when the child hears in return – ‘shut up and don’t talk and/or sit down and don’t move’. So much for good intentions!

The first six years of life are crucial as the child is developing her personality built upon what she understands and interprets at such a tender age. One such important belief is the building of the child’s self esteem which starts between the first and second year of life.

On a side note, this year’s ICASSI (international committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes) summer school, will take place in Holland starting on July 20th. If interested kindly get in touch: callus@maltanet.net

Joyce Callus M.A.

Coach of parenting skills, and professional development programmes