There is no secret to raising great kids. There are many. It takes the consistent application of the parenting basics practised every day to raise well-behaved, confident, sociable young achievers.
Great parents have a solid understanding the basics of child-rearing and apply them every day in their interactions with their children.
The basics of parenting include:
√Talking with children. This is the essence of effective parenting. If you do nothing else talk with them about a whole range of ‘stuff’. The links to school achievement and parents’ ability and propensity to engage in conversation with their kids from young age is indisputable.
√Authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents search for a balance between warmth and firmness in their child-rearing. Their disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive and they aim for self-regulation. Authoritative parents influence rather than control their children and have a range of strategies to build relationships and give children a voice in their family enterprise.
√Promoting citizenship and respect for others. The ability of parents to teach kids the concept of altruism and that there is more to life than meeting their own needs is strongly linked to children’s social competencies.
√Persistence and responsibility. These two values are huge drivers for children’s well-being and achievement. For instance, over 35 per cent of children’s success in school is directly attributed to their ability to persist as a learner, and less the 10 per cent is attributed to IQ.
These are just some of the basics of parenting that when understood and applied lead to the best outcomes for kids.
Traditionally, we have learned to parent from different sources including our own experience of being parented, friends and relatives, and from our own children. When the norm was four or more children, parents tended to grow into the job – learning and gaining perspective as we went.
Now that two child families are the norm parents don’t have that luxury of experimentation. We have to get ‘it’ right straight away.
Learning what makes kids tick is a challenge for modern parents. We used to gain a great deal of child development knowledge from observing children close to us in our environment. With the proportion of children as part of the population dropping to less than one in five in western countries most adults can go through an entire day without interacting with children. There just aren’t that many kids around that we can learn from.
We clearly need to look for different sources for guidance and information about child-rearing and parenting to fill the void.
Current research shows that parents are now resourcing themselves through avenues such as through schools, media, books and readily available publications such as the one you are reading now. Programs that focus on the foundations of parenting are also learning options for parents.
Seeking support and advice is now becoming normal for parents.
In fact, savvy parents realise that staying informed about parenting and consistently applying the basics will impact more on their children’s future well-being and achievement levels than the type of school they will attend.