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THE EVER-CHANGING CHALLENGES AND DYNAMICS OF PARENTHOOD

THE EVER-CHANGING CHALLENGES AND DYNAMICS OF PARENTHOOD

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.”

Carl G. Jung

When two individuals come together, creating the prospects of a new life through the act of procreation, they step into the mysterious yet wonderful world of parenthood. In some cases, an individual may step into the world of parenting alone for varied reasons. As we look around, we come across various examples of parenthood. The sole intent is to provide their child with the best possible nurturing environment to illuminate nature, talents, and skills for a better today and tomorrow.

Parents play a vital role in children’s life as they are the child’s first role model. Therefore, the child behaves, imitates, and reacts like the parents as they formulate the basics of their unconscious or conscious belief system and cognition. The bond between the parent and the child determines the child’s development in different areas of life and sets a precedent for the adult they become in the future.

Dynamics Of Attachment With Parenting Styles

Attachment with the parents or caregivers depends upon how much the parents are emotionally and physically available for the children in their different phases of development. In simpler words, their emotional and affective connection to the children structures the bridge of the later emotional growth of the children. Various parenting styles affect the child’s emotionality differently.

  • Maccoby and Martin’s (1983) and Baumrind’s (1991) classified parenting into four types which are significant as for understanding various vital aspects of parenting:-
  1. Authoritative Parenting
  2. Authoritarian Parenting
  3. Indulgent Parenting/ Permissive Parenting
  4. Neglectful Parenting/ Uninvolved Parenting
  • John Bowlby describes children’s attachment styles with their parents based on his results from different experiments. He describes the varied characteristics of the parent-child relationship and attachment styles, as explained below-
  1. Secure Attachment
  2. Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment
  3. Dismissive-Disorganized Attachment 
  4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

As soon as the child starts socializing, their interaction with primary caregivers (family members) and other members of the society begins to shape their emotions, cognitive abilities, social & environmental perspective, and temperamental traits.  From both of these parenting and attachment styles, we can notice how the parenting styles affect the children’s emotionality and lead them to pick a particular attachment style for their adult relationships.

Parenting Styles Characteristics of the parent (s) Emotional structure of the children Attachment Styles
Authoritative Parenting Nurturing, Affectionate, Discipline through guidance, Open communication. Confident, Reciprocal, Non-reactive, Resilient, Emotionally communicating. Secure Attachment
Authoritarian Parenting Strict, Inflexible, High expectation, Supervision, Discipline through obedience Struggles with Emotional communication, Lack of nurturing, Reactive. Anxious - Preoccupied Attachment
Indulgent Parenting/ Permissive Parenting Few or Inconsistent boundaries take the role of a friend rather than a parent, Affectionate. Excessive Self-reliant, Isolating, Gives very low importance to relationships. Dismissive - Avoidant Attachment
Neglectful Parenting/ Uninvolved Parenting Emotionally detached, Self-absorbed, Low interaction. Dependent, Fearful of rejection, Low self-confidence Disorganized/ Fearful -Avoidant Attachment

Research states a correlation between parental affection and behavioral oversight for a child’s emotional functioning and well-being. High affection and low behavioral oversight or low affection and increased behavioral oversight are responsible for children’s emotional dysfunction, poor emotion regulation strategies, and aggression. 

Applying this principle in the equilibrium of parental affection and behavioral oversight leads to empathy and emotional maturity. If a sapling receives the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients, it grows into a strong, nourished, and fruitful tree. Similarly, the right environment, care, and support provide the basis for growth and evolution for the child.

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