So, how do we explain Smart Parenting? The Harvard ‘Making Caring Common’ Project, talks about the importance of teaching children to care about others.
But, why this emphasis upon teaching to care?
In a world where families are characterised by higher disposable incomes, consumer driven economics and social lifestyle aspirations, children tend to grow up feeling a sense of entitlement, preferring individualistic attitudes and focussing on self-elevation. And, teaching to care seems to be the perfect antidote for children growing up in such an environment and with such attitudes.
Research in human development tells us that the neural connections for caring, compassion and empathy are present even during early life. However, children need parental guidance during their early years to help them develop confidence and learn to care for others.
Smart Parenting is about parents learning to adopt practices that provide strong building blocks for healthy parent–child relationships, for character building, and for preparing children for a future where there will be a great emphasis on self-control, emotional regulation, and good interpersonal skills.
A nurturing parent–child relationship has multiple benefits for both parent and child. To nurture a child means to:
- care lovingly
- feed the relationship with security and stability
- provide the micronutrients for learning to show gratitude and care for others
- demonstrate effort, hard work and perseverance
- prune the child’s growth with empathy and an understanding of child development
- brace the winds of change that sweep through every now and then
Here’s what you can do to become a Smart Parent:
The parent–child relationship is the essence of Smart Parenting. It is the most enduring relationship that develops over time and is influenced by characteristics of both parent and child, and the family as a unit. A nurturing relationship mitigates risk factors such as emotional trauma or negligence; it gives emotional strength to cope with the challenges and conflicts within and outside the home. It is not about being overly soft with children; rather, it is about how to strike a balance between care, warmth and control while raising and disciplining children.
Be a smart parent, practise Smart Parenting!
Arundhati Swamy is a counsellor and the Head of Parent Engagement Programs at ParentCircle.
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