A survey of 1280 teenagers found that 73 percent say that their relationship with their parents is what makes them happy. This presents some valuable information: the parent-child relationship is one of the most important. “The relationship that parents share with their child is one that impacts a child throughout his or her lifetime.”
With this responsibility the question emerges: What is the role of a parent?
Caring for basic needs, safe environment, protection, education, direction, support, emotional skills, and discipline are all a part of the role parents play in the life of their child. The focus of every parent should be the child and his or her growth. In the eight roles listed above you can see the focus; the child.
Caring for their basic needs. The daily ins and outs. Food, shelter, clothes, fresh air, and enough sleep are just a few. This role as a parent seems obvious and usually comes more naturally.
Safe, nurturing, and supportive environment allows a child the ability to grow and learn. For development, most children need an adequate physical home environment, positive atmosphere, opportunities to explore and experience as well as constant routines. Set up a safe haven for your child. Let the home be a safe place for them to return to every night. Young children often need a place to explore, and have routines in their daily schedule. Routines provide a child a level of certainty, comfort, and security. Talk to others providing care for your child and get on the same page as much as possible.
Protecting a child. What does a child need to feel safe and protected? Most children feel safest and do best in an environment that is consistent in daily routines, and where there is a loving atmosphere. The parents’ role also covers the areas of right and wrong. Teaching children the difference is important to their future, in school and interacting with peers. Along the lines of right and wrong are warnings. Children don’t come equipped with knowing dangers from “that pan is hot” to “look both ways before crossing the street.” Children need help and guidance in these areas. In giving guidance like this a parent is providing protection.
Parenting goes beyond safety and protection. Teaching and educating can be just as important to your child. Parents are involved in shaping the knowledge and character of their child. In doing so a parent is preparing their child for the real world. Taking action as a parent can be helpful; go on walks and talks, read and write together, give opportunities to be a part of the community. Teaching your child appropriate coping skill, and helping them gain independence can be a positive asset in the future. Children need to learn how to deal with conflict and emotions. Train them, teach them, and show them by example. It can also be important to teach a child how to be a man or woman. Give them skills to equip them as they grow into a man or woman.
All children need direction. Be there to guide, direct, and assist your child. In the early years children need more. Be patient and guide them through their needs. As they grow, provide some space and time. Try to avoid imposing your point of view on your child. Give them direction and guidance; Yes! Often times being an advising parent is more productive than a commanding parent. Also is important for a parent not to suffocate a child by completing his or her work or tasks. Help the child cope with the problem, yet avoid solving it for him. Lead them to independence, but be available in their dependence as well.
Encouragement. We all need encouragement, children included. Encouragement, motivation and love can often be a triplet in parenting. Love and encourage a child in success and failure. The encouragement may look different in these situations, but is needed equally. Teaching a child how to deal with failure can prove to be beneficial in their future endeavors. We all, as parents have experienced failure at some point in life. How did we get through it? What helped encourage us? Be a personal coach of your child: “[uplift] the positive, temperate the negative, be active and influence” your child’s development.
Emotional skills. Believe it or not all of us were taught certain emotional skills; some positive and some negative. Think about a two year old for a moment…do they have many emotional skills? Not usually. A role of the parent is to assist the child in acquiring emotional wellbeing. Teach them how to temper their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Guard your child from traumatic events when possible. Love and nurture your child. Eliminate such behaviors towards your child as sarcasm, neglect, and bullying. Respond in ways that may have a positive impact on your child instead. Praise, encouragement, calm speech, affection, and listening are some of those ways.
The most common parental role is probably discipline; not because it is enjoyed. Most parents struggle in this area at some point. You are not alone. Being a parent is difficult and every child it different. Practicing a calm, yet firm discipline style may be helpful. Talk to your child in a calm, rational tone. Lead them to becoming conscious of their own mistakes. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and standards in your household. This does not limit your child, but gives you ground of authority and teaches the child work ethic and that life isn’t about instant gratification.
Being a parent is a demanding “job.” It takes effort, time, and selflessness. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. You are not alone. There are millions of parents out there who know the struggles you are feeling. Seek help and encouragement from those well-seasoned parents around you. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you are not a failure! As stated at the beginning of this writing children want to have a relationship with you. Whether they admit it or not; they need you. Your role as a parent is irreplaceable.