Healthy Parenting and Child Development

Healthy Parenting and Child Development

Dr.Shruti profile Authored by Dr.Shruti on 10 Jun 2014 - 12:18.

After years of research, experts in child development and child psychology have come to agree that the ideal style for parenting is what is known as the Authoritative style. Parents or family are first to socialize the child. We see different types of children - some are playful, stubborn, obedient, shy, bold and some others have challenging behaviors away from the norm of that age group. When these children grow up, they shape up to be what they are as children, if their social behaviors are not corrected.

Elements of socialization are of three types:

1. Physical and psychological heritage of an individual.

2. Environment in which the child is born.

3. Cultural habits from arising from interaction between these elements.

The family’s environment influences the child's growth. The behavioral development of a child is a complex affair. At that impressionable age, the message you give to the child is absorbed and maintained for life. Hence the right environment in which the child is given: emotional security and safety, affection, discipline is encouraged and moral values instilled, helps the child grow healthy with a positive attitude. Teaching by example is the best bet for parents or teachers.

Role of a parent as a teacher:

See your role as that of a teacher to your child. Provide encouragement along with constructive criticism in the following ways:

  • Set aside time on a regular basis to do something fun with your children.
  • Listen carefully to them.
  • Use a soft, confident tone of voice to redirect them when they are upset.
  • Be a good listener, don't interrupt. Ask open ended questions.
  • Look for gradual changes in behavior. Don't expect too much. Praise behavior that is coming closer to the desired goal.
  • Develop a nonverbal sign (gesture) that your children will accept as a signal that they are being inappropriate and need to change their behavior. This helps them to respond to your prompt, without getting upset.
  • Reward and praise to motivate your child.

Effective Parenting involves:

  • Being firmand helping them understand the consequences of their behavior and adhering to the terms when inappropriately behaved.
  • Fair behavior: To be fair in dealing with the child. Punishment must be appropriate to the misbehavior and advised not to repeat firmly. Harsh punishment must be avoided. Also, rewarding for good behavior can help the child understand what is good and what should be avoided.
  • A friendly disposition: Use a friendly but firm communication style. Treat them like friends, being polite, respectful and positive. Appreciate their good behavior and encourage them to do the right thing.

Guidelines for parent-child relationship:

  • Try to set aside time on a regular basis to do something fun with your child.
  • Never disagree about discipline in front of the children.
  • Look for gradual changes in behavior. Don't expect too much. Praise behavior that is coming closer to the desired goal.
  • Remember that your behavior serves as a model for your children's behavior.
  • If one of you is disciplining a child and the other enters the room, that person should not interfere.
  • eward desirable behavior as much as possible by verbal praise, touch,  giving  a toy or chocolate.
  • Both parents equally share the responsibility of disciplining the child.

Factors affecting child psychology:

  • Age of the mother
  • Birth order of the child
  • Maternal depression, including postpartum depression. Young children of depressed mothers have an elevated risk of behavioral, developmental and emotional problems.
  • Parental alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Re-marriage/stepfamilies.
  •  Family size and birth spacing
  • High levels of unemployment or poverty
  • Cultural and social factors:
  • Breast feeding
  • Sex of the child
  • Quality of mothering
  • Maternal education
  • Broken families
  • Illegitimacy

Consequences of bad parenting

  • Malnutrition
  • Protein energy malnutrition
  • Micronutrient malnutrition
  • Nutritional anemia
  • Vitamin A deficiency and Blindness
  • Iodine deficiency disorders – Goitre, Hyperthyroidism, delayed milestones, speech and hearing defects, subnormal intelligence.  
  • Accidents and poisoning – particularly prone to domestic accidents like:
  • Falls
  • Burns
  • Poisoning
  • Drowning
  • Behavioral problems
  • Motor development
  • Personal – Social development
  • Adaptive development - depression
  • Language development
  • Anti social behavior – smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, theft, high-risk sexual behavior
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Suicidal tendency
  • Lack of Trust
  • Poor Coping & Academic Skills

Preventive and social measures

1. Breast feeding – this creates a strong mother-child bonding helping in healthy growth and development of the child.

2. Growth monitoring with a growth chart

3. Education –is important for both the mother and the child. Parent education is important to improve child-rearing skills, increase knowledge of child development and positive child management strategies.

4. Family planning – family limitation and birth spacing substantially contribute in good parenting.

5. To love and be affectionate towards the child.

6. To be a good listener to whatever the child tells you.

7. To develop new parenting skills.

8. To seek counseling and therapy, parental education and training.

Raising a happy, healthy child is one of the most challenging jobs for a parent, yet rewarding. We may act on our gut reactions or just use the same parenting techniques our own parents used, whether or not these were effective parenting skills. Good parenting is about shaping their child to become a responsible and a good individual when they grow by fostering kindness, empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control and cooperation. It also helps to protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior.

Raise the future citizens of India with responsibility and love, because what they get is what they give to the society.


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.