Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
-- When young men and women get married, and become parents modification or transformation of their thoughts, feelings and decisions- start to happen as a prelude to their forthcoming parental role. Once the baby is born, making need based alterations and amendments to the existing parental life styles, daily routines , professional work and personal choices becomes inevitable. They need to make decisions right from the start : whether to wait for a normal delivery or undergo an operation, bottle or breast feed the baby; whether to use a baby carriage or stroller, engage a nanny or send the baby to a daycare center and so on. When it comes to their work and earning, parents explore various options like opting for a work-from-home facility, shifting to changed timings or searching for a new job, or staying at home for some time. Thus the list goes on. Though making decisions for child development and finding solutions for day to day dilemmas are a never ending part of parenting it is the parents’ overall style of parenting, personality and attitude that count as they influence, teach and socialize their children and impact every aspect of child development.
Nurturing a child from infancy to adulthood involves a number of dimensions, some of which are listed below:
Dimensions of child development:
Health & physical development
This includes Physical as well as mental growth and well being. Hereditary factors of genetic diseases should be remembered so as to take timely measures to overcome them. Good, nutritious and a balanced diet should be given to the child and if the child falls ill for some reason, timely and suitable medical attention will help to ensure quick relief. The normal immunizations should be gone through in the early months after birth. Thereafter, regular medical checks should be undertaken to ensure that the child is crossing all the developmental milestones at the appropriate times.
Intellectual development & Education
This covers all areas of a child’s cognitive development, which begins from birth. The child should be given adequate opportunities for play and interaction with other children. Children should have access to books and have varied experiences, so that they develop various skills and interests, taste success and achievement. Any special educational needs the child has, should be attended to, so that the child does not fall back in progress.
Emotional and Behavioral Development
This refers to the temperament, attitudes and characteristics that a child displays during early childhood. It also includes the responses to parents, to care givers and the interactions with people outside the home. It concerns the appropriateness of response demonstrated in feelings and actions by a child, initially to parents and caregivers and, as the child grows older, to others beyond the family, nature and quality of early attachments, adaptation to change, response to stress and the degree of appropriate self-control. The right guidance given at this stage goes a long way in moulding the character of a child, hence close observation by parents will be fruitful.
Personality (Identity development)
Concerns the child’s growing sense of self as a separate and valued person. These include the child’s view of self and abilities, self-image and self-esteem, and having a positive sense of individuality. This should include feelings of belonging and acceptance by family, peer group and wider society, including other cultural groups. Parents should fortify good traits and purge negative ones. Race, religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability may all contribute to this..
Family and Social Relationships
This includes a stable and affectionate relationship with parents or caregivers, good relationships with siblings, understanding the need for age appropriate friendships with peers, easy interaction with other significant persons in the child’s life and response of family to these relationships.
Refers to the child’s growing understanding of the way in which appearance, behavior and any disability are perceived by the outside world and the impression being created. It includes suitability of dress for age, gender, culture and religion; cleanliness and personal hygiene; and availability of advice from parents or caregivers about presentation in different settings.
Self Care Skills
As the name suggests, these include all the competencies required by a child to be able to look after itself. They include, communication, dressing, feeding, developing confidence and a practical approach to problem solving. To these can be added empathy and emotional control.
Children with impairments or disabilities of any sort should be taught how to conduct themselves in society by being confident and positive rather than looking for pity and showing helplessness.
Moral & Spiritual
This refers to the value system that is imparted to a child which will help him when he is confronted with difficult choices in life. A spiritual and god fearing upbringing will help the child to make ethical choices.
However parenting is no easy task as there are no universal rules and practices that are applicable in all situations. Each set of parents has to see what suits them best, whether a rule has to be modified or how to change those rules, whether one should abide by traditional ways of bringing up children or be in sync with changing trends and so on. Effective parenting requires parents to understand their children, share a warm relationship of give and take with them. When the child is very young all decisions involving the child are taken by the parents. As the child grows, and his awareness also grows, he likes to be freed from the parental apron strings and desires to take independent decisions. It is at this point that dialogue plays a crucial role. If parents and children do not sit and talk, and each is adamant about its own point of view, tensions will prevail. So, parents should guide and counsel their children till they know how to take right decisions
With Saras Rao