November is celebrated as parent month and as a newbie at parenting, I decided to share my experience as a parent and as a mother. So far, I have learned about life in its different stages by watching my daughter move from stage to stage. It is fascinating to watch her develop through the different stages. It is fabulous!
Parenting is an awesome responsibility, anyone with children would know this very well. On the birth of my little one, we realized immediately after she was placed in our arms that she is learning from us and as parents. We, the parents, play an integral role in her life. We are given this ‘brand new’ person, which we will be influencing and impressing with our every word and action – we are literally dictating life’s fallacies to her and she will unintentionally learn about our errors and disappointments with life. She will also learn how beautiful life can be.
There is much to learn and understand about parenting. Who is a parent anyway? What is parenting? What are the significant roles parents play in their children’s lives? How important is our influence on the child? It is important that as a parent I understand my role, and ensure that I am being the best parent for my child. In a nutshell, I will probe and share my findings with you.
Who is a Parent
Defined by the Dictionary, ‘a mother, a father, a caregiver of an offspring, or a baby…Anyone who is caring for, influencing, catering to the needs of the child is considered a parent‘. So, that describes all of us with parental roles. We have taken on the role of parenthood with the birth of our little girl affectionally called, ‘Pumpkin’.
‘Pumpkin’ is loved by both of us and from the moment she looked at me, reality struck, we had made an enormous decision to become parents. It also dawned on me, that as parents, we have acquired a gigantic responsibility of raising this little girl. The thoughts and wondering started… “Am I, are we ready for this huge job?”
My new job as a parent is indeed huge. The baby stage, it was as if all these activities increased times one hundred added to all other activities in my life. Yes! These little ones depend on us, for every single thing as they move from stage to stage. The demands of feeding, changing, washing to ensuring good health, became my daily chores. At times, it became overwhelming, that by nightfall I was at the point of exhaustion but still, there was a joy that comes from watching my baby grow.
Fast forward to age four, I am now getting some reprieve from her being solely dependent on me for everything. Her independence has started to develop and she is at the stage where is learning how to care for herself, for example, to dress, feed and play. Herself dependence is weaning.
What is Parenting
Now that I understand who is a parent, now to discuss parenting, a whole other world. “Parenting is rearing, nurturing, ensuring that children are given a safe, healthy environment to grow…”, according to the source of information.
In addition, parenting is largely about role-playing and endeavouring to illustrate these roles to our kids. Roles such as a teacher or a nurse, which are the two of the major roles. We play these roles, though untrained, from day one. For example, playing the role of a nurse means when the child is experiencing discomfort, you are the first person to encounter their discomfort. In the case of a fever, you test temperature and beginning fever management immediately. Cool baths, or sponging down of the body to keep it cool, and then move to administering fever medication. You stay up all night watching her, to ensure that she is not deteriorating. If there are no improvements, moving quickly to find her pediatrician to help you with this fever. This is just some of the duties of the nurse role.
Then there is the most paramount role, that of the teacher. A parent is the first to train the child, teaching he/she to crawl, to take her first step, then walk, teaching her how to talk, and from there social skills, how to behave, how to respond to changes..and the list goes on. It is vital that the child learns from the parent before encountering the world around them. We have to show them that the world is full of surprises, and what are the best and most appropriate response. Bearing in mind, we cannot teach our children everything, some things they will learn on their own, but as long as there is a foundation, then they will know how to manoeuvre.
Children need to have a balanced life. The balanced life must include having fun. Take them to the beach, entertainment parks for the ride, to the park for the green grass and the fresh air, even just outside, to play in nature and for general socialization. Second is the spirituality. In my own experience, I have found that having a sound spiritual background has aided me with ethical conduct, walking in love towards my fellow human being and my overall attitude towards life.
Influence of the Parent
Parents influence their children both negatively and positively. Our children learn very fast. They are like sponges, absorbing our every action, our body language, attitude, our mood, even our emotions.
I further discovered that the parent is truly the first influence in the children’s lives. So much so that Scientists tells us that from ‘in the womb, babies are responding to the sounds around them. This, therefore, means that they are already reacting to their environment, identifying and distinguishing the different sounds of the father and mother’. Simply incredible at this stage. That also means that when they arrive they can identify who is their mommy and who is their daddy. I recalled how ‘Pumpkin’ reacted to her Dad, while we were in the hospital. I was unable to go to her at first, as I was recovering from major surgery, and so she saw daddy more. It was clear that she knew who her Dad was because of the way she held on to his fingers whenever he touched her and her reaction whenever she heard his voice, as reported to me, by daddy himself. When I finally saw her, she again reacted in a way that revealed she knew my voice. This blew my mind. Simply incredible!
Armed with this information, the realization that we are shaping this human being to live in this world was overwhelming. Our influence will shape our children’s personality, determining how they lead the life they will live, the career they choose, the choice of religion or no religion, whether they get married or stay single how they socialize with others, among other choices that they will make. It all comes down to how we train our kids. Therefore, parents must seek to master the roles they are playing – endeavouring always to instil good morals and values.
The children are not only influenced by us, but also by the world, the environment in which they live. It is crucial that we train our children, as much as possible, how to handle obstacles, differences, behaviours etc that will come at them. That is not easy, but try we must.
Our children depend on us to lead. Helping them to understand this huge world that they are brought into. I remember hearing on one occasion, that in order to understand the world as children see it, we need to go down to their level. So I stooped down to my one-year eye level, and the light bulb went off, ‘it is like she is walking in a giant’s world’ with everything towering over her even her parents could seem like giants to her because she is so small. Wow! I thought, she really needs her parents, to understand the world.
In conclusion, parenting is a hard task, and there are no rule books, once said. Not too sure about that anymore though. There are a lot of material available now to help us raise our children. We, however, have to learn very fast how to raise our children so that they become individuals furnished with survival skills to manage this fast pacing world. There are other sources of influence – the Internet, cable tv, social media even influential people who demand the attention of our children.
It is up to us, the parents, to equip our children to get through what seems like a maze. Parents must undertake the best method of guiding their children to manage all these sources of influence and the world on a whole.