Unit 1: Parenting Basics

Terms in this set (19)

Continuity of the family name: Some people decide to have children to expand the family tree and ensure that their family name continues across generations.

Expression of love and reminder of bonding: People embody their love for each other by creating a child. They believe that the child will be a constant physical reminder of their love.

A sense of purpose: Some people believe that having children will help them to find meaning and purpose in life. They see the act of raising the child, instilling values, and guiding the child as a way of fulfilling their own destiny.

Desire for children: Some people love interacting with children. They feel the need to have their own children to interact with.

Joy and happiness: Some people believe that having their own children will give them a sense of joy and happiness. They see other parents enjoying life with their children, and they desire to experience the same joy and happiness. They expect that they will experience joy in bringing a new life into the world.

Compliance with expectations: Sometimes couples feel an expectation that they must have children. They may feel the pressure coming from peers who have children or from their parents, who may be expecting grandchildren.

Fear of missing the experience: Some people may not feel strongly about any of the reasons we have examined. However, as they age, they may fear that they are running out of time to have children. Therefore, they choose to have children so that they won't have any regrets about missing the experience.

Unexpected outcome: Sometimes young adults may want to experience physical intimacy, and their lack of knowledge may result in pregnancy. Pregnancy may also occur because of the failure of a contraceptive method. In such situations, the couple may decide to go ahead and have the child because of religious, cultural, or personal reasons.
Emotional effects: Children bring out a range of emotions in a person. Having a child can give a parent tremendous joy because of the idea that they can create a new life or because a baby is a physical expression of love. A growing baby also gives one a sense of excitement, especially when witnessing milestones such as when a baby walks or speaks for the first time. Parents may experience emotions of frustration and anger when they have to deal with a cranky or troublesome child. Children can also be a source of pride or a cause of shame because of their behavior. Parents may also experience anxiety related to their child's health.
Physical effects: Parents engage in physically demanding activities when they carry, bathe, or feed their children. Parents have to spend time and energy interacting with them, taking them on outings, and listening to them. Having children may also require people to take on extra work to meet their financial needs, which adds to the physical toll on one's body. When looking after an infant, the child may disrupt a person's sleep patterns over an extended period of time.

For a woman, giving birth to a child will physically transform her body. She may find it difficult to regain the figure that she once had, even after pursuing a rigorous fitness regime. Her body undergoes numerous physiological changes, especially during and after the birth process, and these can affect her physical appearance and health.
Behavioral and psychological effects: Children can help parents to behave in ways that are more responsible. Because children look up to older people as role models, it motivates them to be more responsible and likeable. Being a role model may encourage a person to change for the better. For example, one may adopt a better diet or change sloppy habits to set a good example for a child. Having and raising children can help make a person more compassionate and sensitive and help them become more aware of their surroundings. Looking at the world from a child's perspective can help a person become more sensitive to their needs.

Children can also help people deal with your phobias. For example, if you have a fear of spiders, you may disregard that fear in the presence of a child when you see a spider. While you might caution a child to be careful, you may choose to control your own response so that your child won't develop the same phobia.

Parents may become more involved in community activities as well. When children participate in school activities and sports, parents and others can attend these events, meet new people, and get involved in other similar activities. Concern over safety and security issues related to children may also encourage people to get involved in civic issues.
Financial effects: Raising children requires financial adjustments to accommodate them in one's life. People have to consider the initial costs associated with maternity and childbirth, such as the fees associated with doctors and hospital services. Post-delivery, apart from the medical bills, parents have to set aside money for necessities such as an appropriate bed (usually a crib or bassinet), formula and bottles (or a breast pump and bottles), diapers, and clothing; and they may want to set aside additional funds for toys. Education is another critical long-term expense for which parents must plan. Having a child increases the size of one's family, which adds to all general household expenses.

Social effects: Children require time and attention; thus, social life will change after having children. Parents do not have as much free time for themselves (or partner or friends) as before the child entered their life. With young children, their age and well-being will determine the type of outings parents can undertake. If you have a child, you may reconsider a weekend getaway because it will involve a lot of planning—much more so than just packing an overnight bag. You will need to carry additional child-related items. You will also have to investigate the type of place where you will stay to ensure that it is suitable for your child. As your child grows up, parents may decide to go on outings determined by the child's preferences.
Don't pick up a baby every time it cries: If you pick up a crying baby (less than six months old), you'll do no harm. You don't have to worry that the baby will begin expecting it all the time. Babies cry because they need something. When you pick up a baby, the baby feels soothed because someone responded.

Giving sugar to children makes them hyperactive: There is no scientific evidence to prove this. Sugar and many other foods (such as fruits) can affect blood sugar levels, which can lead to a child becoming very energetic. Fiber in food reduces the effect of sugar on blood sugar levels; thus, if sugary foods have fiber supplementation (as with fruits and granola bars), there is no reason to avoid giving them to children. It's fine to add a small amount of sugar to fiber-rich breakfast cereals.

Give reasons for actions and don't just say, "Because I say so": If you get into a discussion and try to reason with a child, you'll only cause delays. Being firm and saying, "Because I say so" or "Because I'm your parent" firmly establishes your authority and accustoms your child to responding quickly to your instructions. This can come in handy in emergencies. You can provide a reason the first time, but if the child keeps wasting time by asking for reasons, you must be firm and take control of the situation.

Don't bribe your child: In general, bribing your child in exchange for good behavior can teach your child that behaving well is only worthwhile if the child obtains something in return. However, if you use this method judiciously in critical situations, it can be very effective. For example, if you need your child to behave on a flight, you can promise to buy a desired toy after the flight. However, using chocolates as a bribe to get a child to eat vegetables at meals will lose effectiveness quickly.

Don't argue in front of your kids: It's all right to argue in front of your kids as long as you argue in a mature manner. Don't indulge in emotional and physical abuse or name-calling. Remember that arguments are part of any relationship. Arguing in front of your children can teach them how to argue and reach an agreement in a mature way.
Rely on parental instinct: On occasion, what a parent considers as parental instinct may just be anxiety. Parents tend to worry that their child may get hurt in various situations. However, being overprotective does more harm than good. Assuming that something bad is going to happen to a child does not mean that it will happen. However, parents need to be alert and teach their child how to take precautions when a parent is not around. Parents should always pay attention to any persistent feelings they have, such as about their child's health.
Sexual intimacy suffers when there are children: Raising a baby does not mean that physical intimacy between partners has to suffer. Couples may need to explore alternative ways and means to remain intimate with each other. Couples must find time to spend together to allow themselves to feel connected and romantic again.

Deal with misbehavior firmly: Parents do not have to deal with every instance of misbehavior in a firm fashion. Instead, children can be taught to identify cues that demand unconditional obedience. They must learn to identify a particular tone or look of that signifies that complete obedience is expected. Children who can identify these cues will know when they can bargain and ask for laxity in rules and when they cannot.
Make tough decisions: Parents will have to make decisions that their child may not like, but they need to make unpleasant decisions to achieve parenting goals. Parents should not seek a child's approval for every decision they make in the child's interest. For example, parents have to create a bedtime despite their child's reluctance to go to bed at that time.

Teach your child to be independent: People derive happiness from the feeling that their family and friends rely on them. Caring for a child satisfies our basic human urge to feel needed by someone. As children grow into adults, parents should teach age-appropriate skills that will help their children lead an independent life. For example, a parent may decide to walk (or drive) their child to school every day for the sake of the child's safety. But as the child grows older, parents should resist the urge to be overprotective.
Discipline your child: As much as parents love their children, there will be times when certain issues have to be addressed firmly. This will help instill a sense of responsibility in a child and make him or her accountable for their actions. For example, a parent may have to discipline a child who habitually neglects assigned household chores. This situation could be handled in various ways, such as by taking away the child's allowance or spending money or taking away privileges, such as going out with friends.

Educate your child: School is not the only place where children learn. Children have opportunities to learn from the outside world as well. Children should be encouraged to explore and question. This is the best way to learn. Parents should encourage inquisitiveness, answer questions, and share their thoughts with your child.

Help plan for your child: A child does not always know what's best. Parents need to help plan for special occasions, vacations, college, and future careers. However, parents should not force their decisions on their child. Parents can gently guide their children by drawing on their own feelings and life experiences.
Controlling the child's behavior: Every child is an individual. Parents can influence their children. However, they should not control the child. For example, a child may not do well in school despite their parent's best efforts. This does not mean that parents are not taking proper care.. Parents should not blame themselves for all their children's problems and recognize that some are a result of the child's individuality. A child may not be interested in sports despite the parents' attempts at encouragement. Parents should identify activities that the child enjoys and offer encouragement to apply talent and energy in those areas.

Getting everyone's approval: Parents don't need other people to approve their parenting style. It feels good when others admire a child's behavior. However, parents should not doubt their decisions because someone thinks they are wrong. Parents can listen to other people's advice, but should stick to what they know works best for them and their children.

Ensuring that your kids are happy: Parents should do what they can to help their kids feel happy. However, as a responsible parent, children will be unhappy and angry at times (such as when they're a being disciplined). Parents must remember that they're responsible for making decisions that are best for their children rather than trying to keep them happy at all times.

Doing everything for your child: The old maxim "practice makes perfect" applies to parenting. Children learn quickly when they receive encouragement to do tasks on their own. For example, if parents tie their child's shoelaces on every occasion to save time, the child will not learn to do it on their own. Parents should let their children attempt tasks as much as possible, providing guidance as needed. Though the child may get it wrong the first few times, they will learn through practice.
During pregnancy: During pregnancy, a woman experiences many psychological and physiological changes. It is important for her partner to make an effort to understand these changes and to remain tolerant during any mood swings. During the later stages of pregnancy, the woman may find it difficult to perform household chores or manage the house. For a woman who works outside the home, balancing a job and housework becomes all the more difficult. The woman's partner can assist by taking on more household responsibilities and providing her with rest and care. A man's participation in periodic medical checkups and following up with the doctor's advice is also desirable.

Childbirth: During childbirth, the partner can either be with the expectant mother in the birthing room or be waiting outside, depending on what makes the woman comfortable and mentally relaxed. During the period following childbirth, a woman will experience numerous physical and emotional changes, which may include drastic mood swings and depression. The woman's partner can offer her moral support and understanding besides caring for her and the newborn baby as much as possible.

Infancy: During a child's infancy, the mother generally multitasks between household chores, nursing the child, and caring for family members. This task becomes more daunting when there are other, slightly older children that also require care. The mother's partner can relieve her workload by helping out with household chores and feeding and caring for the infant or the older children.
Childhood: Both parents play equally important roles in a child's intellectual, emotional, and social development. For example, fathers act as role models for boys, who will imitate their father's ways of dressing, mannerisms, and other traits. Girls learn how to relate to men from dealing with their fathers and watching their parents interact. By acting as role models, fathers can offer correction and guide children to exhibit appropriate social behavior. In addition, they can continue caring for their partners.

A partner can support a woman in nurturing their child by making the new mother feel safe, secure, and assured in all the processes from pregnancy to a child's adulthood.
Pregnancy: Before a child's birth, most of the expenses incurred will relate to hospital visits. It may include some medical tests for the expectant mother. Other expenses could involve baby clothing, accessories, furniture, and preparing a nursery.

Childbirth and postnatal care: Health insurance helps with hospital bills. However, in many cases, insurance only offers partial coverage of hospital care. If parents don't have insurance, they will need to arrange to cover the cost of the delivery. It is a good idea to arrange for extra funds. It helps to cover cost escalations due to any complications. Post-delivery costs include medical care for the baby and new mother. This involves formula and bottles, diapers, baby accessories, and toys. Parents must also consider whether they'll need household help once the baby is born.

Making room: Parents need to make space for the baby by preparing a nursery and furnishing it with items that the baby will need. They may also reassess their requirements to determine whether a larger house or a larger car would better suit their growing family.

Loss of income: Aside from increased expenses, having a baby may also cause a loss of income for some families. Some expectant women have to stop working altogether during pregnancy. However, some women may receive maternity benefits that offer a percentage of their income for varying lengths of time. Parents must assess their situation and make financial arrangements for those months when one partner will have to stay home to look after the new baby. Parents must account for the cost of daycare services when the new mother returns to work.

Education: The cost of education is an ongoing expense. It begins with daycare centers and continues with school fees through college. Finally, there are other associated expenses that parents may cut down on but cannot completely avoid. Recreational expense, such as movies and restaurant meals, will cost more as family size increases.

Planning your resources: Having a baby may affect a person financially, but parents can prevent it from escalating into a financial crisis. Couples can plan and manage resources to meet the increased expenses and a possible loss of pay for a limited period. Such planning can help parents understand their income and expenditure patterns and make necessary adjustments wherever possible. This way, they'll be able to decide if they are financially ready to raise a child. Let's discuss how to evaluate financial standing.

Prepare a budget: Assess your income and savings and make a note of your regular expenses. You may consider using budgeting software that can make the task easier and help you be more accurate.

Curtail unnecessary expenses: A budget will help you analyze how you spend your money. You can then prioritize the necessary expenses and try to cut down on unnecessary costs that you can postpone until later or eliminate altogether.
Reduce debt: Reducing debt will help reallocate funds to raise a child. It is important to pay off any high-interest debts (such as credit cards) first so you won't spend more money than necessary on interest payments.

Review insurance coverage: Parents need to take into account any additional costs for adding a family member to their insurance plan. It's also advisable to evaluate the insurance plan to determine whether it's still appropriate for the new family situation. In addition, you should review whether your current policy covers costs for pregnancy and childbirth.
Dedication: Parents should spend time with their child. Buying expensive new toys is not a substitute for interacting with the child. Parents can show their dedication by putting the child's interests before their own. Children need to feel confident that their parents will be there for them if a need should arise.

Love and understanding: A parent nurtures a child by expressing love. Parents should express unconditional love, even when a child acts in ways that are not loveable. Parents should be kind, respectful, and loving even when correcting misbehavior or dealing with poor performance in school.
Empathy: Parents should be empathetic toward their child. They should listen to their child attentively and show genuine interest in what the child says. Children usually know when adults are only half-listening and can feel frustrated and neglected when this happens.

Patience: One quality that every parent must have is patience. It is important to allow a child to complete tasks and speak at his or her own pace rather than stepping in and doing things because the child is too slow. When parents are patient with their child, they will get to observe and understand the child's character, strengths, and weaknesses while helping the child develop confidence and independence.
Responsibility: Responsible parenting is about taking ownership of a child's development. Children need to see their parents as a responsible person. Being consistent in dealing with the child and being dependable are some ways parents can demonstrate their own responsibility and nurture the same value in a child.

Respect: Parents should show respect for each other, their children, and other people. Parents can be role models of respect by displaying this trait toward their partner, child, and any other family members. When parents show respect to their child, the child will learn how to respect others.
Supportive nature: An extended family can make a significant contribution by providing support to the newborn's parents. Such support could consist of advice on handling a newborn or help with household chores and caring for the baby.

Role models: The extended family is often the first set of people a child interacts with other than the parents. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and even cousins may spend time with a young child. In these interactions, the extended family members serve as role models, and the child often mimics the adults' behavior. Children more easily learn the importance of appropriate behavior when adult figures other than their parents exhibit it.

Sense of community: The extended family provides a child with a sense of security and stability. The family's involvement lets the child know that people other than the parents will give the child love and care. Therefore, the extended family builds an awareness of community in the child.
Communication: Parents need to clearly communicate with their children so that children understand the purpose and value of the topics they discuss with them. As a parent, you should not expect your children to do everything you ask them to do. You need to be realistic about your expectations and provide truthful and convincing explanations when discussing problems. You need to be considerate and encourage two-way communication by letting children express themselves. Parents can also provide suggestions and choices for the topics based on what their own parents discussed with them. Children who participate in decision making along with their parents are more motivated to implement their joint decisions.
Praise: A child's self-esteem is primarily shaped by the parents' words and actions. Parents should not use scornful gestures or language that will cause their child emotional pain. If the child makes a mistake, parents should correct the child in a kind, caring manner, reassuring the child that he or she is loved. When you praise a child, it is necessary to give positive praise for even small achievements with a positive tone of voice and body language, warm smile, eye contact, and an enthusiastic hug or a kiss. For example, you may say, "You have done a good job by putting your toys back in the closet." You can praise or reward a child for good behavior. However, do not bribe the child to stop behaving badly. Praising children for good behavior in front of people motivates them to behave better each time. Positive parenting also implies that parents should not compare their child to other children. This makes the child feel bad and inferior.

Discipline: Parents should help children understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Simple house rules, such as following strict study and play times, not hitting others, not blaming others for your mistakes, and apologizing, motivate children to observe discipline and self-control. Parents need to be consistent when they enforce and act on such rules. The purpose of discipline is to correct the deed and not to punish the doer.
Make time for your children: Many parents today find it difficult to set aside quality time for their family, but parents' attention and time is what children need and cherish the most. Children who don't get their parents' attention deliberately misbehave on occasion because they feel that misbehavior gets their parents' attention. Therefore, it's important for parents to make some time for their children by setting aside other responsibilities from time to time. For example, parents may choose to postpone doing the dishes after dinner and read to the children or listen to the things they wish to share instead.

Be an excellent role model: Children learn a lot about how to behave and act by watching their parents. Parents must be aware that they're constantly being observed by their children. If parents are tired or frustrated and react in an aggressive way in front of their children, then there is a possibility that the children will start to copy such aggressive responses. Therefore, it is extremely important for parents to model the behavior they want their children to display rather than simply telling them what to do and not do. For example, parents should be conscious of how they demonstrate values such as honesty, respect, kindness, and tolerance.
Clear and consistent rules: It is extremely important for both parents to set clear rules and be consistent in enforcing them. They need to make it clear to the child what's expected and acceptable behavior and what kind of behavior will result in specific consequences. If a parent sets a rule about no television or games at bed time and the child throws a tantrum and insists on watching television, the parent needs to firmly assert him or herself and refuse to give in.
Rewarding good behavior: Rewarding does not imply that parents offer a material gift to their children every time they behave well. Parents can reward them with compliments such as, "You did a great job completing your homework in your study time and picking up your toys after your play time." Verbal compliments are as important as physical rewards.

Be a good role model: Children learn a lot of things by watching adults, especially their parents. Parents can be strong role models and set an example for their children by tidying up their own things and switching off the television at bedtime. A child is more likely to learn good behavior when their parent demonstrates discipline through their actions. Remember, children learn from what they observe.

Assigning responsibilities: There is no fixed age at which children become responsible. Parents can start assigning responsibility to their children slowly and gradually. For example, a parent can ask their preschooler to put away the toys after play time. Kindergarten children can make their own beds or fill their pet's food or water dish. A school-age child can take on bigger responsibilities, such as putting away their laundry or even helping parents in doing some of the household chores.
son helping his father in the garden
Teaching time management: Time management is a skill that every parent should acquire and teach their children. Parents can help children understand the need for managing their time and planning activities. This will help the child to manage time properly and ensure peace of mind for themselves. Parents can teach children to manage time by teaching them to make a schedule and stick to it and by showing them how to allocate time to various activities.

Using natural or logical consequences as punishment: Parents can help children overcome unacceptable behavior by applying disciplinary techniques. Parents need to assure their children that they love them. However, they need to communicate that their child's negative behavior is unacceptable and address such behavior in a calm and purposeful manner. Parents need to associate responsibility with both rewards and consequences. They need to reward children for taking responsibility and remind them of the consequences if they fail to behave well. Parents can make the child identify their behavioral mistakes and their logical consequences. For example, if the child loses a library book, the consequence can be a replacement fee from the child's pocket money.
Infancy: Infants completely rely on their caregivers for fulfilling their basic needs. They feel loved when they are comforted and cared for. Parents can build an infant's self esteem by attending to them when needed. This instills a sense of trust in infants. Parents should cheer them on when they achieve some basic milestones like rolling over, crawling, and so on. Parents can talk positively to the infants, though the infants may not be able to understand them entirely. Infants who feel loved and cared develop a sense of security. This sense lays the foundations for positive self esteem in infants.
Toddlerhood: Toddlers constantly learn new aspects of their own self and the environment around them. They look to their parents and caregivers for approval while performing tasks. This helps in building positive self esteem. They develop a sense of belonging related to their caregivers, places, toys, and more.

Toddlers often refuse to share their belongings with others. They gain a sense of self-worth when their parents or caregivers appreciate them and show love and care.

Preschoolers: Preschoolers gradually gain awareness about themselves and their relation to the people around them. They still look forward to approval and appreciation from their caregivers, but they develop the ability to think and recall past events. They build self-esteem by performing activities that they have seen their caregivers accomplish. Children develop a sense of accomplishment when they see that their caregivers appreciate their effort, even when they are not able to perform the task. They can also introduce them to their peers who help them build their social image, and they learn sharing and cooperative play.
School Age: Children who are school age experience a sudden exposure to the world around them. They learn to interact with other peers at school. This is a crucial time for them in which their self esteem may drop. They have to cope with various stressors at school, such as difficult lessons and bullies. At such times, parents and caregivers should try to help children cope with the stressors by motivating them to communicate openly. This helps children feel that they are heard and makes it easier to build their self esteem. Parents can try to channel their children's energy in creative activities that which they are good at. They should avoid forcing children to perform tasks they find extremely difficult to perform. This step can help in boosting their self esteem.

Adolescence: Adolescents go through considerable hormonal and physical changes. They become conscious about their looks and find it difficult to deal with the sudden changes occurring with their bodies. Self esteem may drop in adolescence when they try to fit in peer groups and social circles. Adolescents may find it easier to open up to their friends rather than their parents. They may become rebellious. At such times, parents should try to understand the reasons behind their children's behavior and not try to impose their view on adolescents. Parents can reassure them that they're always there for them.