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The parental role is a complicated function undertaken by parents and other carers in order to facilitate the upbringing of children.
In the case of humans, it is usually done by the biological parents of the child in question , although governments and society take a role as well. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised by foster care, or be placed in an orphanage.
The goals of human parenting are debated. Usually, parental figures provide for a child's physical needs, protect them from harm, and impart in them skills and cultural values until they reach legal adulthood, usually after adolescence. Among non-human species, parenting is usually less lengthy and complicated, though mammals tend to nurture their young extensively. The degree of attention parents invest in their offspring is largely inversely proportional to the number of offspring the average adult in the species produces.
There is general consensus around parents providing the basic necessities, with increasing interest in children's rights within the home environment.
Providing physical security
Providing physical security refers to a safety of a child's body, safety of a child's life.
- To provide physical safety: shelter, clothes, nourishment
- To protect a child from dangers; physical care
- To care for a child's health
Providing physical development
- To provide a child with the means to develop physically
- To train the body of a child, to introduce to sport
- To develop habits of health
- Physical games
Providing intellectual security
Intellectual security refers to the conditions, in which a child's mind can develop. If the child's dignity is safe, that is nobody encroaches upon a child physically or verbally, then he is able to learn.
- To provide an atmosphere of peace and justice in family, where no one's dignity is encroached upon.
- To provide "no-fear," "no-threat, "no-verbal abuse" environment
- To spend bonding times and share wonderful moments with children
Providing intellectual development
- Reading, writing, calculating etc.
- Intellectual games
- Social skills and etiquette
- Moral and spiritual development.
Providing emotional security
To provide security to a child is to help protect and shield the child's fragile psyche. It is to provide a safe loving environment, give a child a sense of being loved, being needed, welcomed.
- To give a child a sense of being loved through:
Providing emotional development
development refers to giving a child an opportunity to love other people, to care, to help.
- Developing in a child an ability to love through:
Other parental duties
- Financial support: Money provided as child support by custodial or non-custodial parent(s), or the state
- Insurance coverage and payments for education
Parenting models, tools, philosophies and practices
Conventional models of parenting
- "Rules of traffic" models
It is an instructional approach to upbringing. Parents explain to their children how to behave, assuming that they taught the rules of behavior as they did the rules of traffic. What you try to teach a child doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll get through to them. For example, a teenager was told "a thousand times" that stealing was wrong yet the teen continued to do so. The problem of parenting, in this case, is not that they tried to teach him/her the right thing, but that they considered parenting as a single, narrow minded method of parenting, without fulfilling the range of parental duties.
- "Fine gardening" model
Parents believe that children have positive and negative qualities, the latter of which parents should "weed out" or "prune" into an appropriate shape. The problem in this parenting method is that parents fight with the faults of their child rather than appreciate their current achievements and/or capabilities; a method which may continue through their whole life without success.
"The models “rules of traffic” and “fine gardening” are especially dangerous because we, following our best motives, constantly quarrel with our children, destroy relationships, and all our parental work becomes a hopeless effort. Moreover, we don’t understand why this has happened." S.Soloveychik, 
- "Reward and punishment" model
"RaP" is a most popular model of parenting based on logic: for a good action - a reward/praise and for a bad action - a punishment/scolding/reprimand. To teach a child by this logic is relatively easy and can even be effective, especially if it is done consistently. It is because it forms a sense of justice in a child's mind that it works. But, simultaneously, it imparts the child's universal image of the reward and punishment and when real life doesn't prove to be just it undermines the child's faith in justice, according to S.Soloveychik. He writes "It is dangerous for the future of children. It may happen that a man, grown up by this model, facing the first serious failure or first trouble, would lift his arms and ask, “Why me?”
Modern models of parenting
Parenting typically utilizes tools of reward and punishment method, but most child development experts now agree that corporal punishment is not an effective behavior modification tool. In some jurisdictions corporal punishment (e.g., spanking or whipping) has been prohibited by law. Many parents have adopted non-physical approaches to child discipline, for example time-out. The other "civilized" forms of discipline behavioral control, structure, accountability, Parental supervision, etc.
- Examples of modern parenting models
A family model where children are expected to explore their surroundings with protection from their parents.
Places a strong value on discipline as a means to survive and thrive in a harsh world.
Seeks to create strong emotional bonds, avoiding physical punishment and accomplishing discipline through interactions recognizing a child's emotional needs all while focusing on holistic understanding of the child.
The philosophy of Parenting For Everyone considers parenting from the ethical point of view. It analyses parenting goals, conditions and means of childrearing. It offers to look at a child's internal world (emotions, intelligence and spirit) and derive the sources of parenting success from there. The concept of heart implies the child's sense of being loved and their ability to love others. The concept of intelligence implies the child's morals. And the concept of spirit implies the child's desire to do good actions and avoid bad behavior, avoid encroaching upon anybody's dignity. The core concept of the philosophy of Parenting For Everyone is the concept of dignity, the child's sense of worthiness and justice.
In the United States, disparate models explicitly termed "Christian parenting" are popular among some parents who claim to apply biblical principles to parenting. Information on Christian parenting is found in publications, Christian parenting websites, and in seminars devoted to helping parents apply Christian principles to parenting. [How to reference and link to summary or text]
While some Christian parenting models are strict and authoritarian, others are "grace-based" and share methods advocated in attachment parenting and positive parenting theories. Particularly influential on opposite sides have been James Dobson and his book Dare to Discipline, and William Sears who has written several parenting books including The Complete Book of Christian Parenting & Child Care and The Discipline Book.
In a study of Christian parents done by Christian Parenting Today in 2000, 39% of the families surveyed have family devotions once a week or more, and 69% of parents consider Sunday school, youth and children's programs extremely important.
There are several parent self-report measures that have been developed for use by clinicians and researchers to assess parenting.
Where parenting assessment indicates poor performance parenting training can be provided to help improve parenting skills.
Parenting issues across the child's lifespan
Planning and Pre-pregnancy
Family planning decisions about whether and when to become parents, planning, preparing, gathering resources. Reproductive health and preconceptional care affect pregnancy, reproductive success and maternal and child health.
Pregnancy and prenatal parenting
During pregnancy the unborn child is affected by many decisions his or her parents make, particularly choices linked to their lifestyle. The health and diet decisions of the mother can have either a positive or negative impact on the child during prenatal parenting.
Many people believe that parenting begins with birth, but the mother begins raising and nurturing a child well before birth. Scientific evidence indicates that from the fifth month on, the unborn baby is able to hear sound, be aware of motion, and possibly exhibit short-term memory. Several studies (e.g. Kissilevsky et al., 2003) show evidence that the unborn baby can become familiar with his or her parents' voices. Other research indicates that by the seventh month, external schedule cues influence the unborn baby's sleep habits. Based on this evidence, parenting actually begins well before birth.
Depending on how many children the mother carries also determines the amount of care needed during prenatal and post-natal periods.
Infant Parenting is where many of the responsibilities of parents begin. They need to attend to their infant's needs by providing special food, to adapt to the infant's erratic sleep cycle and to comfort their child at all times. Additionally, they should love their child constantly and become very sensitive to anything that scares the infant or makes it sad. Mothers should breast feed their infants at this stage if they can, and sufficient exposure to language will be important for the infant when it begins speaking later on.
When the infant becomes a toddler, (generally 1 year after birth) the parents must begin to provide basic training of different types. Of the skills the child learns at this stage, many of them are motor skills and coordination. The child must learn to crawl, sit up, and eventually walk. They must develop their hand-eye coordination from pre basic levels to higher levels of sophistication. Most speaking ability also develops at this stage, and parents must encourage lingual development by attempting to talk with the child, get them to understand basic gestures and emotional displays, and in most developed countries, eventually teach them to read and write. (This skill overlaps with the next stage of development.) As the child develops and they learn to speak and move on their own, their curiosity takes sometimes "drives them like a motor." They will be able to crawl off staircases and swallow dangerous objects all on their own at this point, and parents will have to protect their child by protectng them, and in turn, showing them how some things (swallowing objects, falling off stairs) are dangerous.
Parents are expected to make important decisions about preschool education and early childhood education. Parents have to love and care for their preschoolers doing all that they can to keep them safe. It is important not to keep things laying around that is dangerous to small children and items that say keep out of reach of children. Children at this age are very likely to put things in their mouths and eat and drink things that are dangerous to their health.
Elementary and Middle School Years
Parenting issues related to parenting school age children include Education, Kindergarten, Primary education. Parents must also gear them for the school years to come, which require emotional toughness.
During adolescence children are beginning to form their identity and are testing and developing the interpersonal and occupational roles that they will assume as adults. Although adolescents look to peers and adults outside of the family for guidance and models for how to behave, parents remain influential in their development. Parents should make efforts to be aware of their adolescents activities, provide guidance, direction, and consultation. Adolescence can be a time of high risk for children, where newfound freedoms can result in decisions that drastically open up or close off life opportunities. Parental issues at this stage of parenting include dealing with "rebellious" teenagers, who didn't know freedom while they were smaller.
When grown-up children become adults their personalities show the result of successful or unsuccessful parenting. Especially it is noticeable when young adults make their independent life decisions about their education, work and choosing mates for friendship or marriage.
Adults and Older Adults
Parenting doesn't stop when children grow up and age. Parents always remain to be parents for old children. Their relationship continues developing if both parties want to keep it or improve. The parenting issues may include the relationship with grandchildren and children-in-law.
- Main Article: Parenting styles
There are four universal parenting styles, each with different methods of parenting. Each parenting style has different levels of demand and responsiveness and the resulting child is different for each style.
Parents may receive assistance from a variety of individuals and organizations. Employers may offer specific benefits or programs for parents. Many governments provide assistance to parents.
Another source of Assistance is other parents. Using the advice of other parents is sometimes the best advice due to the fact that some have lived through exactly what you are experiencing
Some organizations advocating more parental rights in the United States:
- Benjamin Spock, was an authority on parenting to a generation of North American parents.
- T. Berry Brazelton, the founder of the Child Development Unit at Children's Hospital, Boston, and Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School.
- Jesper Juul is a Danish family therapist and author and a renowned international authority on the family.
- Assessment of parenting skills
- Affectional bond
- Child development
- Child discipline
- Child rearing practices
- Delayed parenthood
- Empty nest syndrome
- Maternal bond and paternal bond
- Pedagogy (such as Montessori's 'scientific pedagogy')
- Parental attitudes
- Parental expectations
- Parental leave
- Parental permissiveness
- Shared parenting
- Single parent
- ↑ Bernstein, Robert (2008-2-20), Majority of Children Live With Two Biological Parents, http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/children/011507.html, retrieved on 2008-3-31
- ↑ http://www.parentingforeveryone.com/aboutbook Parenting For Everyone (Педагогика для всех, 2000, ISBN 5-8246-0042-2)
- ↑ Dare to Discipline. Bantam, 1982. ISBN 0-553-20346-0
- ↑ Special Report: Christian Parenting 2001
- Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner (eds) (2006). Family in society : essential primary sources., Thomson Gale. ISBN 1414403305.
- Juul, Jesper (2001). Your Competent Child - Towards New Basic Values for the Family, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, N.Y. ISBN 0374527903.
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