What is parenting?
At its simplest, parenting is the sum of all of the interactions there are between an adult and a child throughout their upbringing. It can be carried out by a biological parent, a step-parent, an adoptive parent, a grandparent, an adult friend, the state, an elder sibling and even a combination of all of these. Parenting is mostly associated with social, emotional and intellectual developmental growth, but it can also relate to physical growth, too. There are various styles that parents have in bringing their children up, which all have their place so long as they are administered with sufficient care and love. Usually, parenting comes to an end when a child reaches adulthood, although some parents continue to operate in a nurturing role well beyond this time. Poor parental upbringing is known to cause ongoing psychological damage among children as they grow up, something that can last a lifetime.
Why is parenting sometimes hard?
Bringing up a child, even if you have an extensive support network around you, can be tough. Even the best-behaved child who has no additional needs can frustrate parents from time to time. Therefore, parents need to be aware of their own limits and to seek help where it is appropriate. Parents who think that they are alone in finding parenting hard occasionally can feel they are doing something wrong, which may make the problem worse. Acceptance of tough times – along with good ones – goes a long way to putting parents back on the right track.
Can parenting styles cause anxiety?
When a parenting style is overly anxious and consequently risk-averse, it can lead to children suffering from greater levels of timidity and disquiet. It is best to let children experiment and to make their own mistakes - within age-appropriate limits, of course. When one parent is very free in their style, and the other is not, tension can arise, which is difficult to resolve. Like most things in life, a compromise should be sought so that the child gets a consistent message about what is allowed and safe and what is not. Setting boundaries which are stuck to tends to suit most children in their relationship with their parents.
How does parenting affect a child's personality?
The nature versus nurture debate is one that has fascinated psychologists for decades. The truth is that no one really knows how much parents influence their child's personality and how much is inherited genetically, despite some work into separated twins that was conducted in the 1960s. Certainly, children make significant attachments with their parents, adoptive or otherwise, in early development. This is something that can have a big impact on their ability to form adult relationships later in life.
Are parenting classes helpful?
Drawing on the practical experiences of other parents and childcare professionals is helpful if you are new to parenting, whether you choose to turn to a formal class or not. Younger parents, who may not have acquired all of their life skills already, can find such classes particularly beneficial.