With so many ideas on parenting, and having a baby being one of the most life-changing, even life-defining events that we can experience, it’s hard to know what is best. We all see the effects of different parenting techniques, patience or impatience, arrogance or humility, generosity or stinginess, and we make judgement calls on whether we agree or disagree – or aren’t bothered either way. This, along with our own upbringing, shapes our parenting philosophy and creates our own parenting technique.
An interesting article was published recently showing different ways in which ideas that many of us accept as reasonable parenting behaviour may not be as beneficial as we thought. As a western society, we have gone from denying adult well-being for the sake of a child’s every whim, to creating an environment that denies the child’s well-being so that it can meet the adult’s every whim. What we need now in this century is balance.
Are there any accepted ideas on childhood? What could we potentially accept as ‘fact’, even obvious? A few may be as follows: Babies don’t ask to be born. Parents may not have had training but they will have a natural inclination to how to best raise their child. Babies are people, not sub-species or subordinates. Parents are constant and continuous role models, and their achievements and failings are less important than how they reacted to the events.
The article mentioned below presents research into various ‘modern’ ideas of parenting and how it goes on to affect children. Ranging from infant isolation, infant formula and responding to cries, the effects include a reduced sense of conscience, increased stress and aggression, IQ, ego resilience and empathy. Using the ‘facts’ above, do our ideas match what we know about babies and parents?
These are very relevant areas of development to consider, when we think about the childhood we experienced, the comparative freedom, and the worries that we now have in our own children growing up in the culture we see around us.
On one level, it is almost unthinkable that there is no qualification, no testing, no examination needed to have a child, considering the importance and responsibility of the position. Yet this is what has always been, so on another level, there must be an natural ability to raise a child, as natural as it is to have a child. Perhaps we just need to think a little more about how we were raised, how we may have done it differently, and what works best with the person that we have been entrusted to raise.