Parenting and Child Development in the Modern Age

Parenting and Child Development can be one of the most wonderful experiences in life. Parenting and Child Development is also one of the greatest challenges. There is a myriad of decisions to be taken, and it is hard to know if we’re making the right ones. The element of surprise also faces us each and every day; a child will never stick to the plan!

Winnicot Psychiatrist has something interesting things to say on Parenting and Child Development. The first is that you do not need to be the perfect parent. Indeed, is there such a thing as the perfect parent? Can the pursuit of being the perfect parent be counterproductive in some ways? He maintains that we should be providing the support and encouragement to allow the child to find its own path in the world.

The main way that a child learns and develops is through play. We should not underestimate the role that play has in their lives. Positive and encouraging feedback during play helps the child to grow their physical, emotional and social skills. Positive reinforcement tells your child that they are doing well, and this will ultimately build self-esteem.

Parenting and Child DevelopmentThe flip-side of this is the misbehaving child. Winnicot points out five main reasons for the misbehaving child: attention seeking, boredom, power contests, revenge seeking and showing feelings of inadequacy. It can be difficult to remember that the child is not misbehaving out of spite, but simply as a reaction to some of the above. Giving positive feedback to the child is possibly the most powerful tool you have to changing a child’s behaviour and building their self-esteem. The idea is to focus on what the child does well. The parent is then rewarding and reinforcing positive behaviour with positive feedback.

Finally, let us not forget about one of the most important parts of parenting, you! It will be much more difficult to take care of the child if you don’t also take care of yourself. It’s important to de-stress and to self-care. What this means is individual to the parent. Perhaps a long walk with friends on the beach, maybe take up that yoga class on a Tuesday evening. Rejoin the swimming club you used to go. Whatever it is, take some time to make sure that you take care of yourself also.

Eamonn Boland & Valerie Kilkenny

Bath Avenue Counselling