Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Apple of His Eye

A very important element of responsive parenting is the emotional quality of the interactions between the child and the parent.  How responsive the parent is to the child’s needs and the use of encouragement, praise and physical affection are important. Adolescents who receive parental warmth tend to engage less in antisocial behavior and engage in more positive behavior.  When adolescents feel valued, accepted and loved, they are more inclined to internalize parental values and accept parents’ rules and attitudes.[1] 

When a child feels loved, he will feel special. God communicated that special love to Israel by referring to them as the apple of his eye (Deut 32:10). A child who is shown through the love of her parents that she is unique will develop a healthy self-esteem.

Children develop cognitive and emotional capabilities early in life primarily due to observing the model of their parents.  If children see such behaviors as helping, sharing and serving, they internalize those behaviors and use them.  Research suggests that many of these behaviors are acquired through the daily exchanges of the household between the children and the parents.  When a parent explains to the child the reason for changing a behavior or implementing a new behavior, there is a greater chance the child will respond positively.  Behavior modification that functions on a reward system works for very small children, but as the children get older they need clear explanations from their parents. The more cooperative the co-parenting style is between the mother and father, the better the children will feel about themselves and the more respectful and prosocial they will be toward other people. This emotional development will most likely have a positive impact on their social relationships later in life.[2]

The result of a consistent, responsive parenting style, which is strong on warmth, clear communication and control, seems to solve problem behavior much faster by helping to eliminate the confusion with clarity and make the child feel accepted.

Responsive parenting, while maintaining control, helps the child understand his or her emotions.  This style of parenting enhances the child’s autonomy.  Those children raised in responsive homes are more likely to pursue the ideals of their parents when they are adults with their own sense of independence.[3]

Concepts that need to be communicated to children early on for an effective transition from adolescence to adulthood are the following:

Respect for authority: This is the conduit by which all the major teaching and learning will occur.
Contentment: This allows the child to develop the ability to delay self-gratification.
Conviction: A moral system that can determine right from wrong.
Adversity: The ability to face adversity with the right attitude.
Courage: The ability to face pivotal moments in life with courage and fortitude.
Dependency on God: The ability to trust God in difficult situations.
Patience: The ability to remain steady and wait for the results without giving in to panic.
Humility: The constraining attitude that enables a person to be authentic.

[1] Wang, M., Dishion, T., Stormshak, E., & Willett, J. (2011). Trajectories of family management
practices and early adolescent behavioral outcomes. Developmental Psychology, 47(5), 1324-1341. doi:10.1037/a0024026
[2] Serimgeour, M., Blandon, A., Stifter, A., & Buss, K. (2013). Cooperative coparenting
moderates the association between parenting practices and children’s prosocial behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(3), 506-511. doi:10.1037/a0032893
[3] De Ruyter, D., & Schinkel, A. (2013). On the relations between parents’ ideals and children’s
autonomy. Educational Theory, 63(4), 369-388.

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