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Family as the Safe Place for Children

Written by Juhandi Dwi Putra Lyana, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

“I wish I grew up in a house where I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, or where I could approach my parents without fear of being judged or disgraced.”

How many times have you heard those words? Or how many times have you said those words? Growing up in a good family is such a blessing for us. It can also be said as a privilege. Some of us have it, and others don’t. 

Family is the most fundamental element of our society. It can be said that life begins in the family, for example, we learn how to write, to speak, or to behave. It has been proven that children acquire a variety of experiences in varied family situations by participating in various activities and are constantly exposed to a range of influence and expectations from the people with whom they live. Therefore, it is really important to realize that we, as someone who will build a family or have children, need to create a good environment for the sake of their development. 

A good environment in this context is a “safe” place for children to grow. They learn and explore their potential. They feel safe to ask and to experience something without any pressure. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget about this and blame the outside environment for the bad influences which happen to children. So, at this moment, I want to share about what we can do as an adult in the family. 

What can we do?

Let’s start by choosing our words wisely. The voice we use to talk to our children will be the voice they take with them for the rest of their lives. What we say and feel about them forms the foundation of their self-esteem. We need to reflect with our family, “Is this family a positive place for them to thrive in or a family that is full of hurtful words and actions?”. A voice of encouragement, love, and patience, support, and acceptance. This is the voice we should instill in our children. No other person will have as much of an impact on our child as we who live with them in one home.

Next, don’t forget to give our child praise and proper encouragement. For example, when we help children to learn about mathematics. They usually feel pressured because we insist them to count it right. If they make a mistake, we get annoyed and snap at them. Children will feel defeated and afraid to try. However, if we try to support their way in learning by giving them feedback when they make mistakes and praise their efforts, children want to keep trying because they get our encouragement. When we encourage children through compliments, constructive praise, and feedback, they connect with you. When we critique their abilities without commending them for their hard work, effort, and a job well done, they shut down.

The other thing, Show your affection for the children. When children are hurt and have done something wrong or broken rules, it is critical to show them affection. This demonstrates to them that even when things go wrong, we love them unconditionally regardless of the situation. 

Last but not least, spending quality time with children is the best and most efficient strategy to develop them and teach them that their home is a safe and loving environment. We can do basic things like share family dinners or go for a walk around the neighborhood and talk. It’s about spending time with them without electronics or distractions and letting them know how special they are. Simple things like taking a walk together or grabbing a cup of ice cream to just sit down and talk is all you need.

We can build a child-friendly environment that will prepare them for the future by providing them with access to relevant information, community treatment, and the realization of their goals. What we need to remember is that no house is perfect, and no day is perfect. There will be hard times in the family, but we have to make it as the stepping-stone for a child-friendly environment.

Reference

The Pragmatic Parent. Set the Tone for a Happy Home: Create a Positive Home for your Kids. (2015, August 3). The Pragmatic Parent. https://www.thepragmaticparent.com/positivehome/

Raising Happier and Healthier Child: What is the Best Parenting Style?

Written by: Louis Budiman, Grants Researcher Intern Project Child Indonesia

Family is a fundamental and primary agent of socialization for every human being to grow. Creating a happy, healthy, and safe family environment for children requires a proactive role by parents. To achieve this, good parenting is essential and the very basic aspect that shapes not only child behaviour, but also their likelihood to be a responsible and successful adult in the future. Every parent surely loves and cares for their own kids, but we might want to wonder and ask: what is the best parenting style?

Most researchers and experts agree that there are four major parenting styles (Morin, 2019): authoritarian (focus on obedience and punishment over discipline); authoritative (create positive relationship and enforce rules); permissive (do not enforce rules; ‘kids will be kids’); uninvolved (provide little guidance, nurturing, or attention). In fact, most parents do not necessarily fit solely into one of the categories as they often adopt combined approaches (Lloyd, 2016). This is because every parent and the child have different characteristics and family background, which makes generalization a little bit tricky. Nevertheless, most studies as well as parents agree that authoritative parenting style is the most common way to raise happier and healthier children (Morin, 2020). Such a parenting approach can also mitigate negative consequences that other parenting styles often create. Moreover, the truth is that everyone can be a more authoritative parent. 

There are some starting points for parents to be more authoritative in parenting. First, parents should be aware of their child’s emotions and feelings. This is crucial particularly when children cry or get angry. Telling them to stop crying might be the reaction by most parents, but it is also important for parents to acknowledge what their child is really going through as it might be a big deal to them. To do so, parents can start by considering their child’s feelings, validating their child’s emotions, and being a good listener. This can help parents to provide positive attention and prevent behavioural problems. 

Enforcing rules is also essential in raising children to be responsible. Permissive or uninvolved parents tend to put a little effort on this aspect, while authoritarian parents can be too intense in establishing rules and too excessive in giving warnings. Authoritative parents often set clear rules and explain the reasons behind them to their child – and this could be an ideal way to not only enforce the rules but also to help children understand and expect consequences by following or not following the rules. When children make mistakes, parents must avoid shaming, guilt-tripping, and imposing corporal/physical punishments to their child. Instead, give children consequences that teach life lessons and learning opportunities. This is necessary to maintain child’s anger management, conflict resolution skills, and sense of responsibility. In addition, incentives or rewards could also help and motivate children in getting used to good behaviours. 

Last but not least, parents shall build a positive and healthy relationship with their child. Instead of aiming to control children, it is better for parents to encourage their child’s self-discipline. Parents need to be a good role model and give enough quality time to preserve their child’s mental health. Being a more authoritative parent needs compassion, affection, and patience – and these are the keys to raise a happier and healthier child.

References

Lloyd, C. (2016). What’s your parenting style?. Retrieved from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/types-of-parenting-styles/#:~:text=Studies%20have%20identified%20four%20major,academically%20strong%20and%20emotionally%20stable

Morin, A. (2019). 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects on Kids. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/types-of-parenting-styles-1095045.

Morin, A. (2020). 12 Ways to Become a More Authoritative Parent. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/ways-to-become-a-more-authoritative-parent-4136329.

Thompson, H. (2018). What’s the ‘best’ parenting style to raise a successful child?.  Retrieved from https://www.mother.ly/child/whats-the-best-parenting-style-to-raise-a-successful-child.