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Our day to day life is a live example so much that, parents need not teach children anything. The children are smart and sensitive enough to learn from what they see. Parents have to explicitly preach in action, what they want to teach their children. Today parenting is the most impeccable task of life, because one wrong move and it disturbs the “foundation” of the child’s entire life.
Parents play an irreplaceable role in the lives of their children. Hence it is important that the relationship between the parents is smooth. This vital relationship impact’s a child’s well-being at multiple levels: physical, mental and emotional.

Personal relationships and social bonds with parents and peers can have significant effects on a child’s development. Depending on the quality of these relationships, the development can be either positive — setting the child up for healthy interactions — or negative, inhibiting the child’s cognitive and social potential.

A woman (or man) may put up with abuse in a relationship to “for the sake of the children,” not thinking what this communicates to the children. Do parents really want kids to learn to take abuse – or even worse, be abusive?

A parent’s personal relationships with each other or friends can also affect a child’s development. If a child grows up witnessing his / her parents handle interpersonal conflicts through yelling, passive-aggressive comments or aggressive behaviors, the child may model these interactions in their own life. It is seen that even early exposure to domestic violence can create permanent changes to the brain that affect children’s learning.
Children, who see their parents fight constantly, either do the same in their relationships or fear an intimate relationship. On the other hand, children whose parents have never fought in front of them at all are often idealistic, thinking things are supposed to go smoothly without any work.

Given the patriarchal orientations of our society, one of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirectly—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother.

Indeed, the quality of this relationship affects the parenting behaviour of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support.

Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., “the silent treatment”) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial.

When children sense something is wrong between their parents, it often increases their anxiety and perpetual worry. They may start doing things to cut off their emotions. If they are afraid, sad or insecure, they may try to numb these emotions with behaviors such as overeating or excessively playing video games. If they don’t feel that they can talk to their parents, or their anger or hurt involves their parents, children may start showing their feelings indirectly: throwing tantrums over toys, getting unusually clingy toward a parent, losing interest in school, getting in fights with other kids.

Sometimes parents even call on a child to take sides in a parental dispute, thus dragging the child into the middle of the conflict and forcing him or her to participate. Parents who don’t meet each other’s emotional needs frequently turn to their kids for support. Unconsciously, this places an unnatural and destructive burden on a child.

When parents feel happy and fulfilled in themselves and in their adult relationships, they are less likely to scare their kids. When parents’ own emotional needs are met, they offer their children a sense of stability and security from which to experience the world. A parent’s happiness allows children to feel happy and to trust that parent to meet their emotional needs.

Nobody is perfect, so are parents. Parents need to set examples for their children in every way possible. They need not hide disagreements; rather use it as an opportunity to teach their children to resolve problems.

When parents are focused on their child and not on their conflicts, that child is more likely to receive sensitive and responsive care. This is exactly the type of care children need in order to be able to develop a sense of trust in their world. This sense of trust and security is vital to children’s continued emotional growth and well-being. Observing how the adults in his world get on and relate to each other is often a child’s first introduction to how his society works. While we don’t often consciously teach our children our cultural values, they are continually learning them based on our own behaviour.

Parents obviously have a huge influence to bear on their children but they sometimes forget that their relationship with each other also has an enormous effect on their children. Whether we like it or not, our children are watching us all of the time. As always said, “Children are like clay, they get moulded to the exact shape what parents put them in. Thus it is a tricky yet rewarding challenge for the parents”.

For Further Reading:


Child Development and the Parental Relationship — 1


One Comment

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