Are you wondering about what your parenting responsibilities are? Do you feel guilty every time your child cries or throws a tantrum? Raising a child is not an easy task; parents also grow and evolve along with the parenting journey. Every child is unique and hence each parenting style is unique and thus, we really cannot define standard algorithms of parenting responsibilities. In this article, we shall try and explore some of the important aspects of parenting responsibilities.
“Role modelling is the most basic responsibility of parents. Parents are handling life’s scripts to their children, scripts that likely will be acted out for the rest of the children’s lives”. – Stephen Covey
All parents have legal rights and responsibilities known as “parental responsibility”.
Parenting Responsibilities-Duties as a parent
Duties of parents include:
1. Protect and maintain the child:
It is the prime responsibility of a parent to keep your child away from any kind of abuse like physical, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. Parents need to ensure that they themselves as well as the daycare or school that the child is sent to are following certain standards of behavior and that the child is treated with love and warmth.
2. Provide a SAFE home:
Parents should take care of the necessities of the child. The home should be enabled with good ambiance, nutritious food, water, medicines, and proper sanitation, etc. For younger children, it is the duty of the parent to ensure child/baby safety. For instance, any sharp tools/delicate glass objects/lamps or furniture which could potentially harm the child should be kept away from children’s reach. For older children, the parent needs to ensure a safe and healthy social environment. For instance, refraining from abusive behavior towards the child, spouse, etc.
3. Respect your child and earn mutual respect:
Every child is different; every child is an individual with a unique set of talents and emotions. It is necessary to respect their feelings and take their feedback /opinions constructively and positively. They have all the right to disagree or say “No” in case they do not agree to your point. Parents can always explain the pros and cons of situations and let the child decide. Understanding the reason for their denial and perhaps then trying to convince them with logic and reasoning and not power helps parents to get better acceptance from their children.
4. Ethics, Morals & Value Education:
Knowing good values, morals such as kindness, honesty, generosity, patience, forgiveness, etc. is a life skill. It is the duty of parents to lead by example and children learn and experience those values while growing and eventually start implementing it in their lives.
5. Aiding academic development:
For younger children, parents should also be actively involved in academic education and should ensure that they finish their home assignments and projects on time. Attend the parent-teachers meeting to understand the teacher’s perspective about your child and work on the feedback provided accordingly. Talk to your child about any subject they are facing any challenges or difficulty and you may then make arrangements for the child to regain the lost confidence in the subject.
6. Motivation and support:
Regular rewards and recognition, words of encouragement can boost the self-esteem of children. Words have a long-lasting impact on children. Words of kindness and motivation can help you to boost your child’s confidence and can help in raising them as resilient and strong individuals.
What are you responsible for?
To sum up, parents are responsible for giving the child a safe home, sound education, and ensure they are supported emotionally, financially, and morally. Also, in case they need any clinical or medical help, parents must seek them on time. There is no standard rule book or guidelines. But some of the duties and rights mentioned above are the fundamental ones.
What are parents not responsible for?
Being a parent doesn’t mean we need to give in to all the demands that a child makes. Setting limits, having family rules, child discipline, etc. is an integral part of the parenting journey. Giving in to everything your child demands would turn them into arrogant, over-pampered, and ungrateful individuals. Here are a few things that may not be considered as parenting responsibilities and shall be dealt with on a situational basis.
1. Providing a child with branded and expensive clothes & footwear even though you find it hard to meet the family expenses.
2. Cleaning up every time your children have made a mess. Having strict family rules and getting the children to do age-appropriate household chores would help.
3. Giving your child access to electronic gadgets, mobiles, computers, video games, etc. and high-speed internet without any parental guidance or supervision or without setting limits on screen time.
4. Surrendering yourself to all tantrums and asks of your child. They need to be taught the difference between a need and a desire and made to realize that they cannot have all toys or gadgets in the world as their friends have.
5. Buying new toys in place of the lost ones. Pampering them unnecessarily with junk food like chips and soft drinks. Allowing them to take undue advantage of situations.
6. Leaving everything behind as soon as your child cries or demands anything. They need to be taught patience and discipline. This will increase their ability to wait for their turn and deal with things patiently.
Sharing parenting responsibilities with your partner
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then some see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” ~ Fred Rogers
Some of the points below can help in understanding how to share the responsibilities and why it is important to do load sharing in any relationship especially after the child is born: –
1. The world around is changing, family life is changing and so the role of parents or to be precise mother and fathers at work and home. Gone are the days of joint family and elderly people, our grandparents taking care of children.Though some are still lucky to have them. Also, most of the mothers were stay at home ones, so typically mothers used to take care of children and household chores.
However, now the scenes have changed. We are into more and more nuclear families, and both mothers and fathers working. This makes the utmost importance to have load sharing to avoid ego clashes/conflicts and have a peaceful life for all.
2. For working mothers who have a husband or soul mate who is more focused on his job than they are, being a working parent may have more implications on career progressions. A mother may not grow at the same rate professionally as her husband due to added and undivided responsibilities. That is why it is very important to do understand the pressures and career aspirations of both and support.
3. Full-time working moms also sometimes face the guilt of not being able to spend time with the child or their partner and often are seen rushing, this is probably because of the number of responsibilities she must complete. This can become overwhelming for the mother alone or the partner who is taking up the majority of the responsibilities. This continuous stress and rush have adverse health effects too.
4. The essence of any successful relationship is open communication and trust. You along with your partner should chalk out a plan of equal load sharing. A plan which helps both of you to share the load as well as allow you to have some free time to feel rejuvenated and refreshed from the monotonous routine.
5. You need to make your spouse understand your feelings and pressure at work. Once the child grows a little, you may leverage the help of domestic help, child caretaker, etc., to give you off sometimes away for yourself. However, in the beginning, both of you should be mentally prepared for hard and tough routines striking balance between your self, work, and child needs.
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Even tiny insects survive by cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. It is because our human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore, we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.” ~ Dalai Lama
The impact of one’s childhood on parenting responsibilities
Parenting is strongly influenced and dependent on one’s childhood and their experiences while growing up, the challenges and hurdles they faced, and their thoughts, expectations, and goals concerning parenting. The ideas, culture, beliefs of others, e.g. those of close acquaintance, cousins, as well as society’s we live in, have an impact on one’s parenting style.
However, it’s a very good idea to sit and recall our childhood whenever you are confused about how to deal with your children may be while handling conflicts, etc.
You might ask yourself –
1) Were you also stubborn about something similar in your childhood?
2)What mechanism your parents used, the power of abuse, authority, or compassion and power of convincing?
3) Is there any alternative you can offer to them or you could delay or postpone etc?
Put yourself in your child’s shoes, remember your childhood and the picture will be clear.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this, as I always say, each one to their own, I would like to conclude this topic with these lines…
“Parenting was difficult in a world of easy access”― Mala Naidoo, What Change May Come
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