There are many things that parents try to accomplish with their children. They try to get them to eat vegetables, do homework, and keep up on household chores. But what is the ultimate goal of parenting; what should parents really try to accomplish? To answer these questions parents have to look beyond what they hope to accomplish in the moment. Good parenting is more than obedience, it’s more than being a child’s friend. It is raising children to have an understanding of why they do what they do and how to act appropriately in situations. It is this understanding that eventually allows children to get along on their own.
However this goal is not accomplished without effort. The way a parent interacts with their child will be one of the largest influences in that child’s life. Involvement doesn’t mean that you do everything for them. In some ways it is the opposite. It means that you know your child and so are able to teach when they don’t understand, help when it is needed, and at other times give them full responsibility. Parenting is hard work and involves a lot. It involves providing care for children as they grow and develop. Parenting also entails teaching, socializing, offering guidance, and emotional support. It is all of these things interacting together that influence the type of person that a child will become.
As parenting plays such a crucial role in a child’s life it is so important that parents are intentional about their parenting. They have to plan and actively work to be involved in their children’s lives. If an active plan has not been devised beforehand, people typically revert back to what they are accustomed to, meaning how they were raised or what is familiar. While the home of origin of today’s current parents are not always bad, parents need to develop an environment and parenting style that is unique to their child’s needs and abilities.
When children’s parents are active and involved in their lives, children have better social skills, higher self-esteem, and internal control. Multiple studies have found that “youth who experience higher levels of parental involvement and a closer relationships with their parents are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems and to engage in risk behaviors”.
One example of parental involvement helping kids to be self-sufficient is involvement in school. Research has shown that “Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status.” Involved parents are aware of their child’s studies, encourage them, and aide them when needed, in fulfilling their academic responsibilities. When parents are involved in a child’s schooling they are more likely to attend school regularly, have better grades, and eventually go on for higher education.
The benefits of family meals has been a subject of discussion within recent years, and this is another way parents can be involved. These benefits range from better nutritional intake to lower drug and alcohol use. However it is not just the meals alone that provide these benefits in a child’s life, it is the time that parents spend with their children during these meals. Family meals are a symptom of something else. These meals show that the family and especially the parents, put forth an effort to come together throughout the week. Parents who make the effort to have meals together are more likely to make the effort in other areas of their children’s lives.
The benefits of involvement are tremendous and parents can provide them in different ways for each child. Making time together as a family, as well as individual time with each child is important. But in addition to time it is also important that parents be aware of what is going on in a child’s life. Knowing about the child’s teachers, friends, homework, and problems is important; as well as asking about their daily experiences.
As one scholar put it, that in parenting “our primary job is to put ourselves out of a job.” Parents take upon themselves a huge and immensely rewarding responsibility. Theirs is the job of raising the next generation and preparing their children to become self-sufficient. When parents take the time to be actively involved they are able to teach their children daily and monitor their growth so they are on the right track to becoming self-sufficient.