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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Parents Importance To A Childs Life

Parents are very important to a child’s life. They influence children in many ways. Including how they act, talk, walk, and the way they act around other people. Even when the children grow up into adults, they still adapt some things that the parents do.
The reason that even when kids grow up to be adults, they still adapt things from their parents is because they need to grow on something. Moreover, if they have kids of their own they are going to go to their mother and ask her how she raised them. In the poem written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, she states “The courage that my mother has Went with her, and is with her still”. This means that she gets her courage from her mother because her mother still has courage. Therefore, when she grows up and has kids she wants to be as courageous as her mother is. 

"The home is the first and most important school your child will ever have." You may have heard this before, perhaps as part of a sales pitch for encyclopedias. It is, however, more than a statement intended to make a sale; it is also a truth supported by both research and common sense. And that truth is, parental involvement in school is important to academic success.

Practically any teacher will verify this. Teachers will tell you that their most successful students come from a home where the parents provide structure, support, and guidance. They will tell you from their own experiences that students who have parents who really care about their education are usually more successful than students who do not.

Research supports such observations, indicating that increased parental involvement in school enables students to achieve higher grades and test scores, improves student attendance, improves student conduct and attitude, and increases the chances of a child going on to higher education. The research also says that students who have parents who are more involved are less likely to be discipline problems at school.
Parental involvement might also be referred to as "family involvement," because the help and support can come from older siblings, grandparents, or any number of other influential adults. But whether we call it parental involvement, or family involvement, the results are the same. It helps.
The idea that parents can positively influence their children's education is common sense. Children spend more time at home than they do at school, and parents have the opportunity for a number of interactions with their children in one-on-one situations. In addition, the home environment provides for more "teachable moments" between parent and child.

There are three areas in which parents can have enormous control over a child's success in school: (1) controlling student absenteeism, (2) keeping a wide variety of reading materials available in the home, and (3) controlling the amount of time the television is on. Research says that when these three factors alone are controlled, it accounts for nearly 90 percent of the difference in test scores.

What else can parents do? For one, they can provide structure at home. Studies show that successful students have parents who establish a daily routine for doing homework, completing chores, and having a family meal together. These routines are important in making life predictable, and in establishing a framework in which the child has security and a better chance of academic success.

One practical way of helping build structure in a child's life is providing him or her with a quiet place to study. Arranging to have a small table or desk in a bedroom will help build in your child the idea that he has a place that is his own, for the sole purpose of doing well in school. Your child's own study area should have sufficient lighting, be away from family traffic, free of distractions, and have the necessary school supplies handy.

Parents can also help students by regularly monitoring progress, and that means checking regularly with teachers, even more often than report card time. In many cases, if the child is having trouble, a parent cannot afford to wait for the school to tell them about it. The parent should take the initial step in contacting the school. In addition, parents can ask that their son or daughter be provided more challenging work when necessary. Students who are never challenged are more likely to lose interest, or become discipline problems, or both.

The attitude of the parent is also crucial to student achievement. If a parent has a positive attitude toward the school, and towards learning in general, the child will tend to have the same positive outlook. If any parent has concerns about the school or a specific teacher, it is recommended that the parent be very careful how those concerns are voiced in the child's presence. If a child picks up on a negative attitude and adopts that attitude as his or her own, it can have consequences for all those involved. Negative attitudes or apathetic attitudes are at the root of a large portion of discipline problems in school. In addition, a parent who questions a teacher's methods or intentions in front of a student will undermine the teacher's authority, which can, in the long run, interfere with the child's learning in that particular classroom.

Research also tells of the importance of parents giving education a high priority. It is easy for children to become involved in too many outside activities that detract from the educational mission of the school. Even positive experiences such as those provided by sports, scouting, or music lessons can sometimes harm academics if the child's time is spread too thin. It is up to the parent to be consistent and firm when establishing education as a priority, and to guard against a child having so many irons in the fire that it harms academic performance.

And finally, parents should respond appropriately to how their children do in school. How parents react to grades can make a big difference in how well their children do in the future. Some parents ignore bad grades; some rant and yell about bad grades. Neither has been shown to be very effective. Some parents reward or punish their children extrinsically, by using car keys, curfews, restrictions, etc. to get the desired results on the report card. Research, however, shows that this often does more harm than good. What is most helpful, studies say, is when parents provide positive feedback and encouragement at the right times. Students who get better grades tend to have parents who praise, encourage, and offer help.

What should schools do differently? In short, they should encourage the parents to be involved. Teachers should plan their lessons with parental involvement in mind. Some assignments can require parent-child collaboration. Some can solicit parental observations. Schools should also keep the parents informed. The school's public relations program should seek ideas and feedback from parents and community members, and should always strife to have policies that encourage family involvement, rather than discourage it.

The school should set a tone that makes itself inviting, always looks for ways to involve parents, and helps parents feel they are partners with them in education. Specific ways of meeting these goals include: developing an information packet to send home to parents, creating a newsletter that has family enrichment activities, establishing a homework hotline, requiring teachers to make personal contacts with parents through phone calls or letters, and having parent workshops.

The research merely confirms what we already knew: parents who care enough to be involved in their children's lives and in their education, tend to have children achieve at a higher level.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What about children's styles?

Parenting doesn't happen in a vacuum; parenting is an interactive situation. Children also have styles, or temperaments, which mesh with their parents' style, each affecting the other. Children are born with a tendency toward reacting to people and events in specific ways. This preferred way of responding is called temperament. Children in the same family often have different temperaments, and parents who have several children are likely to recognize the differences and to react differently to each child. For example, a parent would probably respond quite differently to an overly active, impulsive child than to a shy, timid child. She probably would discourage impulsive behavior in the overly active child but encourage assertive behavior in the shy child.
Differences in children's temperament can be seen even in infancy. Researchers have delineated three broad styles of temperament, as follow

  1. Easy children are calm, happy, adaptable, regular in sleeping and eating habits, positive in mood and interested in new experiences.
  2. Difficult children are often fussy, irregular in feeding and sleeping habits, low in adaptability, fearful of new people and situations, easily upset, high strung, and intense in their reactions.
  3. Slow to warm up children are relatively inactive, reflective, tend to withdraw or to react negatively to novelty, but their reactions gradually become more positive with experience.

It's the mix or the "goodness of fit" between parent and child that matters most. The match or mismatch between a child and parent determines the harmony between them. Temperament, however, is not set in stone. Although temperament has been shown to be consistent over time, family environment and life experiences can make a difference. Parents who are sensitive to their child's temperamental style and can recognize the child's unique strengths, will make family life smoother. For example, when faced with a new situation, a parent of a slow to warm up child may need to be patient and allow him more time to assess a situation. A difficult child may need advance rehearsal of the expected behavior to help her deal with the new situation.
Obviously, parents and children are individuals and not easily categorized. Most will show characteristics of several styles, but over time, one style generally prevails.

What parents should keep in mind

  • Think about how your own temperament style meshes with your child's temperamental style.
  • Be attuned to your child's temperament and encourage her to accomplish tasks at her own pace.
  • Make your expectations clear. Setting limits will help your child develop self control.
  • Encourage children to work with you on generating solutions to problems.
  • Make communication a priority. Be open to discussion; take time to explain your decisions and motives and listen to your children's point of view.
  • Make them aware that their opinions are respected, but remain firm in your decisions.
  • Respect each child's individual strengths and don't compare children.

Parenting Styles and their consequences on Kids

Categorizing parents according to whether they are high or low on parental demandingness and responsiveness creates a typology of four parenting styles: indulgent, authoritarian, authoritative, and uninvolved (Maccoby & Martin, 1983). Each of these parenting styles reflects different naturally occurring patterns of parental values, practices, and behaviors (Baumrind, 1991) and a distinct balance of responsiveness and demandingness. 

Indulgent parents (also referred to as "permissive" or "nondirective") "are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62). Indulgent parents may be further divided into two types: democratic parents, who, though lenient, are more conscientious, engaged, and committed to the child, and nondirective parents.
Authoritarian parents are highly demanding and directive, but not responsive. "They are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62). These parents provide well-ordered and structured environments with clearly stated rules. Authoritarian parents can be divided into two types: nonauthoritarian-directive, who are directive, but not intrusive or autocratic in their use of power, and authoritarian-directive, who are highly intrusive.

Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive. "They monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62).
Uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and demandingness. In extreme cases, this parenting style might encompass both rejecting–neglecting and neglectful parents, although most parents of this type fall within the normal range.

Because parenting style is a typology, rather than a linear combination of responsiveness and demandingness, each parenting style is more than and different from the sum of its parts (Baumrind, 1991). In addition to differing on responsiveness and demandingness, the parenting styles also differ in the extent to which they are characterized by a third dimension: psychological control. Psychological control "refers to control attempts that intrude into the psychological and emotional development of the child" (Barber, 1996, p. 3296) through use of parenting practices such as guilt induction, withdrawal of love, or shaming. One key difference between authoritarian and authoritative parenting is in the dimension of psychological control. Both authoritarian and authoritative parents place high demands on their children and expect their children to behave appropriately and obey parental rules. Authoritarian parents, however, also expect their children to accept their judgments, values, and goals without questioning. In contrast, authoritative parents are more open to give and take with their children and make greater use of explanations. Thus, although authoritative and authoritarian parents are equally high in behavioral control, authoritative parents tend to be low in psychological control, while authoritarian parents tend to be high.

Consequences for Children 

Parenting style has been found to predict child well-being in the domains of social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development, and problem behavior. Research based on parent interviews, child reports, and parent observations consistently finds:

• Children and adolescents whose parents are authoritative rate themselves and are rated by objective measures as more socially and instrumentally competent than those whose parents are nonauthoritative (Baumrind, 1991; Weiss & Schwarz, 1996; Miller et al., 1993).
• Children and adolescents whose parents are uninvolved perform most poorly in all domains.
In general, parental responsiveness predicts social competence and psychosocial functioning, while parental demandingness is associated with instrumental competence and behavioral control (i.e., academic performance and deviance). These findings indicate:
• Children and adolescents from authoritarian families (high in demandingness, but low in responsiveness) tend to perform moderately well in school and be uninvolved in problem behavior, but they have poorer social skills, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression.
• Children and adolescents from indulgent homes (high in responsiveness, low in demandingness) are more likely to be involved in problem behavior and perform less well in school, but they have higher self-esteem, better social skills, and lower levels of depression. 

In reviewing the literature on parenting style, one is struck by the consistency with which authoritative upbringing is associated with both instrumental and social competence and lower levels of problem behavior in both boys and girls at all developmental stages. The benefits of authoritative parenting and the detrimental effects of uninvolved parenting are evident as early as the preschool years and continue throughout adolescence and into early adulthood. Although specific differences can be found in the competence evidenced by each group, the largest differences are found between children whose parents are unengaged and their peers with more involved parents. Differences between children from authoritative homes and their peers are equally consistent, but somewhat smaller (Weiss & Schwarz, 1996). Just as authoritative parents appear to be able to balance their conformity demands with their respect for their children’s individuality, so children from authoritative homes appear to be able to balance the claims of external conformity and achievement demands with their need for individuation and autonomy.

Influence of Gender, Ethnicity, or Family Type

It is important to distinguish between differences in the distribution and the correlates of parenting style in different subpopulations. Although in the United States authoritative parenting is most common among intact, middle-class families of European descent, the relationship between authoritativeness and child outcomes is quite similar across groups. 
There are some exceptions to this general statement, however: 

(1) demandingness appears to be less critical to girls’ than to boys’ well-being (Weiss & Schwarz, 1996), and 

(2) authoritative parenting predicts good psychosocial outcomes and problem behaviors for adolescents in all ethnic groups studied (African-, Asian-, European-, and Hispanic Americans), but it is associated with academic performance only among European Americans and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic Americans (Steinberg, Dornbusch, & Brown, 1992; Steinberg, Darling, & Fletcher, 1995). Chao (1994) and others (Darling & Steinberg, 1993) have argued that observed ethnic differences in the association of parenting style with child outcomes may be due to differences in social context, parenting practices, or the cultural meaning of specific dimensions of parenting style.


Parenting style provides a robust indicator of parenting functioning that predicts child well-being across a wide spectrum of environments and across diverse communities of children. Both parental responsiveness and parental demandingness are important components of good parenting. Authoritative parenting, which balances clear, high parental demands with emotional responsiveness and recognition of child autonomy, is one of the most consistent family predictors of competence from early childhood through adolescence. However, despite the long and robust tradition of research into parenting style, a number of issues remain outstanding. Foremost among these are issues of definition, developmental change in the manifestation and correlates of parenting styles, and the processes underlying the benefits of authoritative parenting (see Schwarz et al., 1985; Darling & Steinberg, 1993; Baumrind, 1991; and Barber, 1996).

Parenting your Child in the guidance of God's preachings

When are we going to learn? When are we going to learn that God's creatures can only live successfully in His world by following His ways? If God is all-wise and all-holy, His Word must be both good (because it is the fruit of unblemished holiness) and best (because it is the fruit of infinite wisdom). If this is so (and it is) why do we persist in seeking other ways?

Life becomes a bewildering labyrinth when we ignore God's truth and seek wisdom from below. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the family. Why the warfare between parent and child? Why is parenthood so difficult, dreaded, and feared? Why is growing up so painful and distressing? It is because we think we are wiser than God and have found a better way to do parenting and "childrening" than the way He sets down in His Word. It's time for all of us to realize "we ain't smarter than God!"

How clear and simple are His directions to parents and children: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. . . Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Children are to obey. Parents have been given authority by God to command their children. Indeed, parents hold the position of God's representatives to their children. For this reason, children are commanded to honor their parents even as they honor the Lord Himself (Leviticus 19:3; Hebrews 12:9). In this anti-authoritarian age, we need to remember this. It is not unreasonable to expect obedience from our little ones (or our "big, teenage ones" for that matter!). The authority they submit to is God's and His authority ought always to be honored.

This submission required of children is not unlimited, however. Parental authority is strictly limited by God's Word. No parent has the right to command anything contrary to Scripture. Children are required to obey but only in the Lord.

Notice too, the reason why children are to obey, "for this is right." Interestingly, Paul doesn't mention the many benefits that come to children who obey their parents nor does he mention the benefits parents derive from obedient children, he simply points to the ultimate reason we are to do anything -- because it is right! It is God's will that you honor your parents. Yes, great blessings come to you (and to them) when you honor them, but the primary reason you must do this is that God requires it. To refuse to do this is to sin.

But what about the responsibilities of parents? Mutual privileges and responsibilities mark covenantal relationships. If one party is bound to submit to the authority of another it is incumbent on the other party to exercise that authority in lawful, honorable ways. Thus Paul tells fathers, "do not provoke your children to wrath." 

This should not be understood to mean that we are never to make our children angry. Being sinners, children are selfish and sometimes get angry even when authority is exercised properly. The point is that fathers are not to provoke anger by ungodly rule over their children. This is done when we give unscriptural commands; when we make unjust demands; or when we have unreasonable expectations of our children. This is done when our chastisements are too harsh or too lax. This is done when our rule is administered hypocritically or inconsistently.

If our children are provoked by faithful rule, they sin. If they are provoked by our inconsistent, unreasonable, or ungodly rule, we have sinned.

We are not to provoke our children but rather to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We are to rule over our children as God rules over us. How does God rule us? He nurtures and admonishes us. We are therefore to instruct, encourage, and lead as well as chasten, rebuke, and correct our children. We are to set before them the truth of God and train them to walk in it. The home is to be the great "training ground" for life.

This is not profound. It doesn't come from a densely printed, heavily footnoted, professional treatise. You won't find these things in the latest psychological journals. But these simple directives are God's formula for a happy home. Following these children will receive the promised blessings of the covenant (it will "go well with you and you will live long on the land"). You won't be injured by submitting to your parents. They are God's protectors set over you for your good.

Obeying this, parents will enjoy the blessed fruits of children who love and honor them and even more importantly, love and honor the God who made them. "Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul." (Prov. 29:17) You don't have to worry about warping your children if you spank them as God commands. You don't have to fear inhibiting their creativity by insisting upon obedience to your word. You need not be afraid of wounding their "self-esteem" by saying "NO!" If God commands us to do these things, we can know they may be safely done.

Children are to be blessings not burdens (Psalm 127:3). Parents are to be prized not despised (Prov. 17:6). Why continue domestic warfare? Forget the threats, discard the nasty words, abandon the bribery, manipulation, and deception, dry your tears, and begin, by God's grace, to do what He says. Then and only then will you dwell safely and securely and enjoy covenant peace.

Children Obeying their Parents

Children have become experts these days at stretching and re-interpreting the words of Ephesians 6:1. The result has been to redefine various forms of rebellion as obedience. Even worse, parents have all too often allowed it to happen.

Sometimes we believe our children are obeying even though they roll their eyes, then sigh in frustration as they go away shuffling or stomping their feet. We think they have obeyed even when their "obedience" is a job half done, or done in a sloppy manner. Often they "obey" after a brief but silent protest, or after a longer time of neglect or "forgetfulness." But are these examples of true obedience? What does true obedience look like?

Obedient children obey their parents promptly.

A child who "obeys" only when he is ready, only after he has done other things he considers more important, is a disobedient child. The cliché "better late than never" may be true in some contexts, but it does not reflect God's heart in this area. Every second of delay is one second of disobedience, and therefore one second of sinning.

If our highest goal were to get the household chores done eventually, then later compliance would be OK. But our greater motive should be to instill into our children a godly pattern of immediate submission to God-ordained authority—in this case, prompt obedience to parents. Just as Jesus' first disciples "immediately left their nets and followed Him" when He called (Mark 1:18), God wants children to obey their parents promptly.

Obedient children follow instructions properly.

When a child is told to clean his room, is he obeying even though his toys and clothes are thrown under the bed or behind the dresser? Is it the obedient teenager who mows the lawn as told, but leaves streaks of uncut grass, or who takes out the trash as instructed, but leaves debris strewn along the driveway?

When God gave instructions for worship, He expected them to be followed in a detailed manner. When the Jewish priests became sloppy, bringing defective animals for sacrifice, God said, "You bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering!" Then He asked, "Should I receive that from your hand?" (Malachi 1:13b). Parents, should you accept your child's half-done or sloppy work? If you do, you are tolerating disobedience.

Obedient children submit to authority pleasantly. 

The child who responds promptly to his parents instructions and does his work properly, yet goes away grumbling, rolling his eyes in disrespect, or sighing in frustration, is essentially saying, "Woe is me! I am so weary of your burdensome and unreasonable authority. When will I ever be out from under you?" The child, though "obeying" promptly and doing the work properly, is exhibiting a rebellious attitude and is therefore disobedient, just as if he refused to obey at all.

The Jews of Malachi's day not only grew sloppy, they also became weary of obeying God. But God rebuked their attitude, saying, "You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it" (Malachi 1:13a). Later He says to them, "If you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name . . . then I will send the curse upon you . . . " (Malachi 2:2). True obedience is a matter of the heart.


  • Obedient children obey their parents promptly.
  • Obedient children follow instructions properly.
  • Obedient children submit to authority pleasantly.  

Parenting skills training

Parenting Skills training gives parents tools and techniques for managing their child's behavior. One such technique is the use of token or point systems for immediately rewarding good behavior or work. Another is the use of "time-out" or isolation to a chair or bedroom when the child becomes too unruly or out of control. During time-outs, the child is removed from the agitating situation and sits alone quietly for a short time to calm down. Parents may also be taught to give the child "quality time" each day, in which they share a pleasurable or relaxing activity. During this time together, the parent looks for opportunities to notice and point out what the child does well, and praise his or her strengths and abilities.

This system of rewards and penalties can be an effective way to modify a child's behavior. The parents (or teacher) identify a few desirable behaviors that they want to encourage in the child—such as asking for a toy instead of grabbing it, or completing a simple task. The child is told exactly what is expected in order to earn the reward. The child receives the reward when he performs the desired behavior and a mild penalty when he doesn't. A reward can be small, perhaps a token that can be exchanged for special privileges, but it should be something the child wants and is eager to earn. The penalty might be removal of a token or a brief time-out. Make an effort to find your child being good. The goal, over time, is to help children learn to control their own behavior and to choose the more desired behavior. The technique works well with all children, although children with ADHD may need more frequent rewards.

In addition, parents may learn to structure situations in ways that will allow their child to succeed. This may include allowing only one or two playmates at a time, so that their child doesn't get overstimulated. Or if their child has trouble completing tasks, they may learn to help the child divide a large task into small steps, then praise the child as each step is completed. Regardless of the specific technique parents may use to modify their child's behavior, some general principles appear to be useful for most children with ADHD. These include providing more frequent and immediate feedback (including rewards and punishment), setting up more structure in advance of potential problem situations, and providing greater supervision and encouragement to children with ADHD in relatively unrewarding or tedious situations.

Parents may also learn to use stress management methods, such as meditation, relaxation techniques, and exercise, to increase their own tolerance for frustration so that they can respond more calmly to their child's behavior.