Making the right decisions for your child

The decisions you make for your child and the parenting practices you choose to follow will originate from a mix of different things.  This may include anecdotal advice, scientific research, family truisms and – let’s face it – what seems right at the time.

Subtle differences in your approach could have your child surrounded by criticism or put downs.  Or filled with the belief that they are capable of anything.  Without realising it you could be convincing them that they are not good enough or intrinsically bad.  Instead of giving them ownership of their actions – even the undesired ones.  As the parenting practices you follow are moulding all their future behaviours, expectations and relationships, they need careful consideration.

Parenting practices need to be well-considered and grounded in some basic understanding of child development

When you make parenting decisions, you need to be in tune with your child’s developmental stage.  You also need to be aware of their needs, their current frame of mind and how all of this fits into the family unit as a whole.  This means spending real, quality time with them, away from electronic devices.  As instead you play, talk, and connect on their level.

Manage your child’s behaviours with approaches that are right for them – and right for you

Ask yourself what your expectations are?  How does that fit with your child’s abilities to understand, or to manage their thoughts or bodies?  How does that method fit into the way you live your life?  Is it something you could repeat with consistency?  Would you want to? 

All these questions will help you to take any advice you hear and decide what is right for you and your child.  Regardless of who said it, who is doing it or what kind of thinking is apparently behind it.

Children need their whole childhood to grow – not being rushed to the next stage

Your child is growing and developing at a rapid rate during their early years.  And there are very good reasons why they take all of childhood to do this.   Children have been doing a marvellous job of getting this just right for many more years than we have been studying to understand the processes involved.  This means that often, the best thing we can do is get out of the way and let them do what they are naturally evolved to want to do.

Seeking to accelerate this development, to rush in one area or to see them spending huge amounts of time doing the same thing overlooks fundamental developments in other areas.

Your child is living in a vastly different world to the one you grew up in. 

Other times they will need the right guidance and support to navigate all the demands and distractions of modern life.  Now more than ever, you cannot afford to be complacent, assuming they are managing just fine. 

As you look to make parenting decisions for your child, get them involved when you can, helping them to feel more empowered and more likely to commit to any changes. 

Teach them techniques to address their problems, experiencing taking responsibility for their actions in ways that will be with them for the rest of their life. 

This session is taken from our course: What Every Parent Should Know

Dr Kathryn Peckham is an Early Childhood Consultant, author and researcher and the founder of Nurturing Childhoods.  Providing all the knowledge, understanding and support you need to nurture your growing child.


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