The role of family in child development and well-being can never be underestimated or overvalued at any given time. Much has been said and researched on this body of knowledge, but it all boils down to five major pillars. These are considered in understanding how parents can raise a socio-emotionally balanced child.
Access to the Right Parenting Resources
Before discussing the pillars, access to resources is the first key to success. Few parents are truly able to tap into the power of technology to aid them in their parenting journey.
According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, in cooperation with the National Academy Press, creating positive experiences for children is made by parents who have access to the right resources in parenthood. Society later takes advantage of these benefits when the child grows up to become adults with proper social-emotional development.
Pillar 1: The Awareness of Self
This pillar involves the child’s objective awareness of their strengths and recognition of their abilities. A good parent will encourage the child on how to further use these to their advantage in a way that benefits society as well. Note that this is not just something you see in traditional schools.
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence already establishes that children’s interests and strengths are extremely diverse and a bookish child who excels in school may have an advantage over someone with a kinesthetic strength and is better with physical activities. No school can effectively capture or cater to all kinds of kids so standardized tests are required. But these tests are not the complete picture of your child’s strengths as a whole.
Creative problem-solving later in real life involves wearing as many hats as possible. Also falling under the category of self-awareness is the ability to name feelings inside. This can be taught as early as kids who are three years old. They can not change what they cannot identify or give names to.
Pillar 2: The Awareness of Others’ Needs
What is the best way to teach community service? It is through learning by example. Exposing your children to charity work and other ways of giving back to society is a good way to raise them with an awareness of other people’s needs. The role of family in child development, especially in this aspect, is important.
Regardless of status and standing, there is always room to become more aware of other people’s needs. And kids do not just listen to what you say, they also closely monitor what you do and look up to your example.
Pillar 3: The Ability to Manage One’s Self
Self-control includes impulse control and this is one of the things shown in the popular marshmallow test for children – the value of delayed gratification. Getting kids used in group care settings and with their peers also help regulate their ability to express themselves. This pillar is important because adults who can manage themselves are likely to refrain from substance abuse or addictions later in their lives.
Pillar4: Making Responsible Decisions
The ability to make responsible decisions comes from the awareness of consequences and an exercise of good judgment. This is where most family traditions and spiritual beliefs play a critical role. Children who grow up with parents who have a firm set of value systems and beliefs tend to adopt it in their lives and grow up as responsible adults.
Pillar 5: Harmonious Relationships
The journey to a person’s harmonious relationships begins at home. Parents’ quality time and conversations with their children go a long way in fostering their ability to make and sustain relationships with other people when they grow up.
This does not just happen at school age. The relationship begins in infancy. In John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, a baby learns to safely and confidently explore the world and relationships by learning from their “parent figure.” And so many of the dysfunctional behaviors of some adults with regards to themselves and others stem from the problems in their relationship with either parent.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Not all problems of children can be faulted to the parents. Even if a parent does their best, sometimes a child needs psychiatric help for their situation. It is best to seek early intervention to prevent the concern from growing into a serious problem in adulthood.
It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger village of experts in cases where a child suffers trauma, abnormal psychological symptoms, and other special issues. Their case may require the extra attention of parents, educators, and medical experts (such as developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists).
John Dacey, an educator and counselor, advocates therapy and various methods for parents to support children who are showing some signs of psychological abnormalities like anxiety. Dacey’s body of work on childhood anxiety was also motivated by his own childhood experiences.
When it comes to the 5 pillars of socio-emotional development in children, the role of family is important. Taking care of kids can be an all-consuming responsibility. Taking care of you and your partner also ensures that you do not burn out or take out your stress on your children.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.