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  • By Alexandra Kovacevic Konstantatou

The optimal parenting- Giving Roots and Giving Wings

Giving Roots: Influencing children, values and parent as a model

Most parents naturally want to bring up their children endowed with the necessary values and help them be responsible as well as independent. It should be noted that as parents, however, this can be difficult as our natural instinct is to care for, nurture and do things for our children. Two of the best things one can give one’s children are roots and wings. When one instills the right values and perhaps wisdom to one’s children, these values would certainly help to guide one’s children as well as to trigger and motivate their ambitions to strive for their personal and professional excellence, thus making them good persons and citizens.

According to American psychologist and the father of person centered therapy Carl Rogers, values should not come from the universal value system, imposed by some group, philosophers, rulers, or priests. The universal human value directions are emerging from the experiencing of the human organism. The evidence for that comes from psychotherapy field, where the personal and social values emerge when the individual is close to his own organismic valuing process. These individuals value sincerity, independence, self-direction, self-knowledge, social responsibility and loving interpersonal relationship.

We can pass values by giving advice, sharing our experiences, but more importantly, we can pass values by modeling; being a role model for our children. Actions are more powerful than words. Everything that parent does serves as a model for a kind of person that the child will become. Parents are demonstrating daily how adults express affection and handle conflicts.

Nowadays children face a great deal of stress related to their academic performance, high achievement standard, media messages and peer pressure. Without healthier and more holistic solution, the adolescents are either rebelling or giving up and indulging in unhealthy behavior. As parents, we can help our adolescents to use their strengths to prevent and manage problems. Parents who can recognize and build resilience in their children foster a productive partnership with their children that last a life time.

Giving Wings: Providing launching pad and autonomy support

During adolescence the autonomy development accelerates because of rapid physical and cognitive changes, expanding social relationships and additional rights and responsibilities of teenagers.

Parents and therapist are involved in similar pursuit: supporting and encouraging the growth and development of a unique and autonomous human being. The therapist is responsible to their client and not for him. Simply put; the main heeling component in therapy is the autonomy and agency of the client to take responsibility for his own life. Parents, on the other hand are completely responsible for the health, safety, growth and development of another human being. This responsibility often makes parents to suppress children right to become persons that they truly are. As parents we do disservice to our kids by failing to separate their experience from our own. Because they came from us we see them as part of our selves. The more we can see them as separate individuals, the more we can be available for them in the unique way, matching their needs as opposed to ours. Parents can give wings to their children by allowing them to grow their independence. When we encourage independence in children, we are letting them know we believe they are capable and this in turn builds their confidence and self-esteem.

Four Parental styles are identified by Baumrind based on control and warmth: authoritative (warm but firm), authoritarian (little warmth, high control), permissive (very warm but undemanding) and uninvolved (no warmth, no demands). Research confirms that the level and type of parental involvement, as perceived by adolescents is correlated with adolescent psychological wellbeing: The authoritative-democratic parenting style influence positively developmental adjustment of adolescents, affects self-esteem, self-evaluation and peer relationships, as well as intrinsic motivation to learn.

In his book on adolescence “Brainstorming”, a psychiatrist Daniel Siegel finds that structure with empowerment formulate an appropriate parenting style (authoritative parenting); it provides support, warmth but also limit setting and honoring autonomy, necessary for this period in life. Such a stance is also promoted by secure attachment-offering support while encouraging separation. Simply put, this parental approach can be best described by offering a safety harbor and launching pad for developing adolescent.

Αlexandra Kovacevic Konstantatou,

Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Parenting Effectiveness Training Instructor

Msc StrathclydeUniversity, Glasgow, U.K.,

Agios Stefanos, mobile : 6947 520063

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