Positive parenting encourages personal development by strengthening emotional bonds between parent and child. It has been shown that children with a healthy emotional bond have higher self-esteem, better grades, and stronger friendships. Overall, they are more well-rounded as individuals.
Positive parenting is touted as one of the best parenting styles. Not just because people ‘say so,’ but because studies by experts have shown positive parenting helps to promote healthy, well-rounded children. How? By encouraging personal development. Continue reading to learn more about how positive parenting encourages your child’s personal development.
Learn how positive parenting affects your child long-term and how it shapes their sense of self.
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Positive Parenting Encourages Emotional Bonds
The emotional bond between parent and child is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, parents often misunderstand emotional bonds to mean that they should act like a friend, not as a parent. As a counter to this it is common to hear the phrase; “I am [my child’s] parent, not their friend.”
While this is absolutely true, as an extreme over-correction, some take this statement to mean that they also should not provide emotional support to their children. Those who subscribe to this view may instead adopt a strict, militant, and disciplined approach with their children. This does not have to be the case.
Developing a solid emotional bond does not mean you have to be a friend to your child and let them do whatever they please. Parents can build strong emotional bonds even with rules and boundaries in place. To further develop emotional bonds, focus on encouragement and support instead of discipline and orders.
Why Are Emotional Bonds in Positive Parenting Important?
Emotional bonds between parent and child directly correlate with a child’s success. Children who have strong emotional bonds do better overall compared to children who do not have emotional bonds with their parents. Children with good emotional bonds do better at school, have closer relationships with their peers, and have higher self-esteem.
Ultimately, belief in yourself, good grades, and well-developed social skills are a winning combination. Good emotional bonds also help to promote an inquisitive nature in children as they are more willing to explore and take appropriate risks. Most children are hardwired to seek attention and support from their caregivers. If children do not receive sufficient support and attention, they may become emotionally stunted.
For instance, they may struggle to develop and maintain healthy relationships. They also may have low self-esteem, which lasts into adulthood (this is especially true for militant parenting styles). People with low self-esteem may find it challenging to engage in self-development tactics since they fear they will not succeed.
Positive Parenting Encourages Long-Term Personal Development
Positive parenting is hard. It is not always easy to respond to your child in a positive and supportive manner. Sometimes you are tired, sometimes you are overwhelmed, and sometimes there is simply not enough time. Positive parenting takes much more time and dedication than other parenting styles. You are investing in your child.
Investing in another person takes time and resources (empathy, listening, emotion). Positive parenting is also challenging because it requires consistency. Using positive parenting on the weekend around friends will do little good if your parenting style is dictatorial the rest of the week. If you struggle to be consistent, that is okay.
With active practice and effort, positive parenting will become more natural and, thus, more consistent.
Additionally, positive parenting is extra challenging when we feel overwhelmed. You may find yourself dealing with a crying child after a long day’s work, upset over a fight with their sibling or something seemingly unimportant.
In these moments, when you are tired and overwhelmed, it is easier to tell them to “go to their room” or “stop crying.” We may unintentionally shout out these demands because it is easier to order their behavior to stop than to deal with the issue at hand. As a result, we miss the core issue at hand. These kinds of scenarios can make our children feel misunderstood and not worthy of attention and support. Children are not robots with the inability to feel.
They feel and, often, they feel more deeply than some adults. So, it is essential always to be aware of how interactions with our children affect them. The way we parent not only has an impact on our children now but also as an adult. Strict, militant parenting is likely to produce children with low-self-esteem that continues into adulthood.
The children of overly strict/unemotional parenting styles are also more likely to develop depression, anxiety, or substance abuse disorders when older. On the other hand, positive parenting is more likely to produce children with high self-esteem that carries into adulthood. Children from these households have less negative behavior and are generally happier.
Additionally, the well-developed social skills these children learn are carried over into adulthood. The moral of the story is to put in the hard work to reap the benefits later. During this time of sowing and watering, your child will thrive, and you will be happy that you put in all that effort.
Positive Parenting Encourages A Healthy Self-Concept
We’ve talked a little about self-esteem and how parenting styles can affect self-esteem. But parenting styles can also affect one’s self-concept. So, what is self-concept, and why is it so important? Self-concept is our perception of ourselves. Our perceptions include our abilities, characteristics, and behaviors.
If we have a positive self-concept, it will boost our physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. On the other hand, a low self-image can hinder us from succeeding in those areas. Our self-concept often does not have any basis in reality. For instance, your child may be a very skilled pianist for his age. Unfortunately, he may view himself as a terrible piano player who will never get better.
This will lead him to shy away from the piano, practice less, or altogether give up playing the piano entirely as he feels defeated. As you can imagine, negative thinking processes can affect how well we interact with others, how well we do at school, etc., So it is essential to have a healthy view of yourself, no matter your age. Thankfully, our self-concept is not fixed and can be changed.
Who your child is surrounded by, such as family and friends, can impact his/her self-concept. Not only can people affect one’s self-concept, but also media. For instance, social media can play a big role in how one views himself or herself. Unfortunately, some social media sites have been shown to negatively impact how the user views themselves and how they feel about themselves, especially females.
If your child spends a considerable amount of time on these sites, consider reducing the time spent on them. If they are in their teenage years, consider discussing how these sites affect their self-perception and that it is not congruent with reality.
It is also crucial to note that self-esteem and self-concept are linked. You will often find individuals with low self-concept will also have low self-esteem. Low self-esteem refers to how we feel about ourselves rather than how we see ourselves. So how your child talks about themselves may give you an indication of how they feel about themselves.
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The benefits of positive parenting are many. Positive parenting helps to develop children with high self-esteem, well-developed social skills, and academic success. It doesn’t just stop there, though. The benefits of positive parenting can be seen well into adulthood.
Although using positive parenting techniques consistently can be difficult at times, always remember that it will pay off in the long run. On the whole, positive parenting is a better approach than some of the other parenting methods.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.