Chapter 3, Section 1: What is Parenting?
Parenting is a Learning Process
Children don’t come with a manual, and in spite of all the child development experts (and “experts”), all the advice that you will get from friends and family (whether you want it or not) and everything you see on tv, movies, etc., you will stumble through some aspects of parenting. It’s a process of growth and development not just for the children, but for the parents.
The other day my son was watching me hold a 4 week old baby. He made a cute comment: “Mom, you’re really good with babies. You must have learnt everything you know from me.” Very cute, no? Yes, but also very much correct. Being his mom has taught me a lot about caring for an infant, and a toddler, and a preschooler.
My son is just about to enter the stage known as “middle childhood” and I’ve got to tell you, I know very little about parenting a 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old or older child. But I’ll learn, and I’ll learn from parenting my son. And at the end of it, I will know how to parent a child like my son and have a bit of insight into how to parent other children, but we need to remember that all children are different.
One way that we can improve our learning curve is to reflect upon what it was like to be a child. Remind yourself of your childhood years. What did you like? What did you not like? Think of how different people communicated and interacted with you. Who did you like? Who did you feel most comfortable around? Think about why this is so.
A small piece of advice, come down to the level of a child. Generally speaking, they are not as physically tall as you are. They don’t yet have an adult vocabulary. As the adult hovering over a young child, using big words, you are a pretty intimidating person. As the adult physically coming down to their level and verbally coming down to what they can understand and how they communicate, you are much more approachable.
While the goal is not to be your child’s best friend, you do need to be able to relate and communicate with your child. If you are working with children, again, you need to instill confidence, and this cannot be done if you remain physically and communicatively above them.
Assignment: The Developing Child, p. 66
Check Your Understanding # 1 – 7
Discuss & Discover # 1