Friday, February 26, 2010

The 4 Essential Elements of Parenting

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 3:06 PM
There are four essential parts of effective parenting. While at first glance they may seem contradictory, they are actually quite complimentary. These four elements are: Love, Discipline, Consistency and Flexibility. Reliable and well-respected research on parenting supports the theory that a balance between love and discipline is the most effective way to parent (Santrock, 1999.) Parents don’t discipline out of obligation or because they should. Parents discipline because they love. That also means that parents discipline with love. Discipline is applied with the best interest of the child in mind. It is meant to protect our children and guide them.
Often parents don’t feel like they’re loving their children when disciplining them because it doesn’t feel good to have to punish a child. It’s easier to wish and hope a child will do what he or she is supposed to do because it’s the right thing to do. However, it doesn’t take long observing children to know that their nature is not to be selfless and do the right thing.
Consistency and flexibility, like love and discipline, are also both essential for effective parenting. The issue of being consistent continues to show up in parenting research and education classes (Sells, 2003; Welchel, 2005.) Children feel most comfortable when life is consistent and predictable. Children need consistency not only in daily routines, but also in discipline. It completely throws a child off balance when they do the same action but get different results each time. Imagine what it would be like if you used your lunch hour every day to sit at your desk and catch up on some reading. Randomly, your boss yells at you for eating at your desk. It would make you extremely uncomfortable and unsure of yourself. That’s exactly how children feel when get away with some behavior until mom or dad is “fed up” with it and yells at or punishes them; or when change the rules mid-game. It’s a parent’s job to determine what the rules are, make them clear, and then enforce them.
Consistency does not mean an out-of-balance rigid style of parenting. As important as love is to applying discipline, there also needs to be some flexibility in routine and rules. A child flourishes in a loving environment with consistent boundaries and discipline, but there often occurs situations which call for adapting. For example, if your child is sick, you are probably going to relax the television and eating rules. As our children grow, we must continue to reevaluate their personality and developmental level in order to ensure that boundaries and discipline are appropriate (Holden, 1996.)
So, all parents are called to do is to love abundantly, discipline effectively, remain consistent, and be flexible, at the right times. Seemingly daunting, but possible when armed with the right knowledge and motivation, love of a child.

Bibliography
Holden, G.W. (1996). Parents and the dynamics of child rearing. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Sandtrock, John W. (1997). Life-Span Development. University of Texas – Dallas.
Sells, Scott. (2003). Parenting with love and limits: Leader’s Guide.
Welchel, Lisa. (2005). Creative Correction: The Bible Study. Nashville, TN.

0 comments on "The 4 Essential Elements of Parenting"

Friday, February 26, 2010

The 4 Essential Elements of Parenting

There are four essential parts of effective parenting. While at first glance they may seem contradictory, they are actually quite complimentary. These four elements are: Love, Discipline, Consistency and Flexibility. Reliable and well-respected research on parenting supports the theory that a balance between love and discipline is the most effective way to parent (Santrock, 1999.) Parents don’t discipline out of obligation or because they should. Parents discipline because they love. That also means that parents discipline with love. Discipline is applied with the best interest of the child in mind. It is meant to protect our children and guide them.
Often parents don’t feel like they’re loving their children when disciplining them because it doesn’t feel good to have to punish a child. It’s easier to wish and hope a child will do what he or she is supposed to do because it’s the right thing to do. However, it doesn’t take long observing children to know that their nature is not to be selfless and do the right thing.
Consistency and flexibility, like love and discipline, are also both essential for effective parenting. The issue of being consistent continues to show up in parenting research and education classes (Sells, 2003; Welchel, 2005.) Children feel most comfortable when life is consistent and predictable. Children need consistency not only in daily routines, but also in discipline. It completely throws a child off balance when they do the same action but get different results each time. Imagine what it would be like if you used your lunch hour every day to sit at your desk and catch up on some reading. Randomly, your boss yells at you for eating at your desk. It would make you extremely uncomfortable and unsure of yourself. That’s exactly how children feel when get away with some behavior until mom or dad is “fed up” with it and yells at or punishes them; or when change the rules mid-game. It’s a parent’s job to determine what the rules are, make them clear, and then enforce them.
Consistency does not mean an out-of-balance rigid style of parenting. As important as love is to applying discipline, there also needs to be some flexibility in routine and rules. A child flourishes in a loving environment with consistent boundaries and discipline, but there often occurs situations which call for adapting. For example, if your child is sick, you are probably going to relax the television and eating rules. As our children grow, we must continue to reevaluate their personality and developmental level in order to ensure that boundaries and discipline are appropriate (Holden, 1996.)
So, all parents are called to do is to love abundantly, discipline effectively, remain consistent, and be flexible, at the right times. Seemingly daunting, but possible when armed with the right knowledge and motivation, love of a child.

Bibliography
Holden, G.W. (1996). Parents and the dynamics of child rearing. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Sandtrock, John W. (1997). Life-Span Development. University of Texas – Dallas.
Sells, Scott. (2003). Parenting with love and limits: Leader’s Guide.
Welchel, Lisa. (2005). Creative Correction: The Bible Study. Nashville, TN.

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