COMMENT: Do parenting choices affect child development?

May 5, 2016 Published by

A recent study in the US has shown how parenting style can influence the way our children learn self-control at age three.

The study enlisted 300 sets of twins and their parents and found that environmental factors such as parenting, were more influential for children aged three, than genetics. A parent’s actions, behaviour and parenting style have a huge effect on children, their development and their behaviour.

Dr Gummer's Parent Centred Parenting ApproachAs the Parent-Centred Parenting model of family life demonstrates, children learn best by copying.  What this study is showing specifically is that if parents execute self-control, even children as young as 3 are able to learn to start managing their emotions and behaviour - although like all things this requires practice and consistency and it would be foolish to expect three year olds to be able to exercise restraint in the face of temptation or provocation.

Parents and carers are hugely important for children's development in the formative years, and whilst this role, can be stressful and tiring,  it’s important to ensure that parents, feel empowered and supported to look after themselves so that they are able to provide a happy, relaxed and confident role model for children to model and learn from.

And it's not just self-control, there are many skills and character traits that can be difficult to actively teach and the best way children can learn them is by observing others. The more closely attached a child is to an adult, the more easily he or she will learn from that adult - this explains why parents and primary carers are so important to young children's development.

The parent centred model encourages parents to ask for help and to provide support for each other. This in itself promotes positive messages of respect, tolerance and self-determination to our children and increases the chances they have of growing up into happy, healthy, responsible adults.

Once we are happy and healthy, it will not only be self-control that our children learn from us, but also happiness, relaxation, morals, social skills, problem solving and much much more.

You can read more about the parent centred parenting model here

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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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