Still trying to be a great parent?

Most parents love their children no doubt. But it is also refreshing when a day goes by without having to shout “stop that!”, “put that down!”, “don’t fight!” or having to wrestle a knife out of a 4 year old’s hand.

Most parents love their children no doubt. But it is also refreshing when a day goes by without having to shout “stop that!”, “put that down!”, “don’t fight!” or having to wrestle a knife out of a 4 year old’s hand.

I will guiltlessly admit it is a welcome change from the sound of a screaming child or the dreaded sound of crashing stuff in the kitchen.

Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and exhausting! Most parents experience moments of feeling overwhelmed. There’s a lot of information out there about what we should and shouldn’t do to raise “good” kids or “healthy” kids. In fact there is now literature on raising “intelligent” kids and I wonder if one can really skew the odds that way. But that is another story.

In reality, there are no guaranteed methods for ensuring we and our children will be happy, healthy, intelligent and successful in life. There is, however, considerable evidence in research that shows that the parents can make a significant, positive difference through a number of simple approaches. For this I am grateful because I would hate to believe I will always spend the early years shouting and chasing after the children screaming “Do’s” and “Do not’s”.

I discovered what the Search     Institute in Minnesota, USA, terms as Developmental Assets in child development. There are 40 different assets named. They are categorized in 3 groups as internal assets, external assets and Family Assets. While all three categories demonstrate how they impact child development, I was especially impressed by the Family Assets category.

Family Assets

The Family Assets build on 20 years of research done by Search Institute on the Developmental Assets that children need to succeed. Based on their extensive research, the framework identifies and documents positive dimensions of day-to-day family life that allows families to flourish. Parenting adults, youth, other family members, and people who support families all play roles in nurturing and sustaining these strengths. The Family Assets are organized around five themes:

Nurturing Relationships:

Healthy relationships begin and grow as we show each other we care about what each of us has to say, how we feel, and our unique and shared interests.

Establishing Routines:

Shared routines, traditions, and activities give a dependable rhythm and sense of security to family life.

Maintaining Expectations:

Expectations make it clear how each person participates in and contributes to family life. Shared expectations require talking about tough topics.

Adapting to Challenge:

Every family faces challenges, large and small. Families need to tackle changes and challenges together. This enhances positive attitudes towards taking responsibility for one’s actions.

Connecting to Community:

Community connections, relationships, and participation sustain, shape, and enrich how families live their lives together.

I have been thinking about the family assets and I always seem to come back to social skills. If nothing else, the whole concept of these family assets seems to rest on nurturing the child’s social skills (something that is very much needed with adults too). They all seem to say expression; communication; connection and ultimately sharing.

Food for thought: People are social beings, no man is an island. Teach the children how to coexist in harmony. Perhaps then world peace will be a more achievable goal.

 

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