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IDEAL UPBRINGING — A Myth or A Possibility?
By STACEY MAZUR
The problem of bringing up a child is a vital one for the parents-to-be. Millions of books on ideal upbringing are available in the bookstores these days. Another billion of easily accessible publications and advanced papers are devoted to child psychology. How to find a safe, sensible book, a book that would fit specifically for your child in an ocean of information is a big question in and of itself.
In fact, some parents end up buying so MANY books and manuals that their bookcases can’t hold them all (forget about reading them!). Thus, entire home libraries on child-upbringing-and-education begin to be formed in modern homes.
However, even a great collection that has been read, practiced and analyzed all through and through cannot secure parents from making mistakes. It is more likely, this shall cause even more of them.
For no book on this planet can wholly help you or teach you completely and entirely how to build supportive, trustful, affectionate, caring and respectful relationships with your children. That you can only learn for yourself. You have to build and support this bridge yourself, based on your own relationships with your parents (or, perhaps, not as the case).
No book or method can ever truly teach one how to be a GOOD parent. For no book can teach you how to take good care of your child, how to support and teach him/her about life, or how to prepare them for their future life, in the best way possible. In fact, literature on child upbringing is, for the most, part a literary expression of the writer’s own parenting experience, sharing his/her points of view, which can be undoubtedly valuable but could never quite serve as a substitute for your own experience.
This is why only your own childhood and parenting experiences can teach you everything you need to know about communicating with your children, as well as parenting, thus helping you perform this extremely responsible task (your life's work). This is exactly why those are so extremely important, invaluable and irreplaceable simply by reading books.
In fact, you will have to learn from your own mistakes. And though sometimes, it may seem too late to fix some relationships, and you may feel as though you did it all wrong right from the get-go, there is no such thing as ‘too late’ in terms of family relations. Hopefully there’s always a chance to improve your familial relationships.
Then, it comes to other forms of parental education. Here is another question which is, how to choose from a wide range of trainings and parenting courses available for parents.
Finding a good one which you will benefit from attending can prove very difficult. And even if you do find a good one and decide to take it, it could only provide you with examples on how to behave with a child in certain (specific) situations, or will likely teach you some basic principles of upbringing.
Unfortunately, these workshops/seminars could never possibly cover all the eventualities of life, and therefore could surely never be a substitute for your own experiences — they can only complement them. More so, there is never any real guarantee that the advices and techniques presented will fit your child.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS,
YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR OWN PARENTING STYLE.
Just like a writer needs to discover his/her own unique voice, you have to find your own truly unique approach to fit your child.
Group Parent Education: Promoting Parent Learning and Support
However, there’s another form of parental education (apart from books and various courses) that involves exchanging experience with other parents (and that’s a big PLUS, distinguishing it from all other existing methods), which can provide you with more real practical examples on dealing with various child behavior. Thus, you can learn from fellow parents’ mistakes, gaining their perspective.
However, even the mere experience of having a conversation with your family’s friends who have their own children, will give you an idea that all children are, in fact, different, and no one child is identical (well, except for identical twins, of course, — that's technically speaking, for these, too, as a matter of fact possess different personal characteristics, at times ENTIRELY opposite).
And whereas in the 20th century, such exchange had been mostly limited to conversations with family’s friends and to local parent societies, today there are numerous online forums offering a much wider range of choices, opinions presented and discussions to participate in, including advice sections from psychologists that can prove to be very helpful. You can find parents who faced and dealt (both successfully and unsuccessfully) with similar situations and problems as you did, benefiting from their experience (both positive AND negative), or receive a helpful advice from a family therapist — all for free.
In the end, although all of the above can definitely be helpful to parents, I’m afraid there is no such thing as an ideal upbringing at all. At the end of the day, it all comes down to respective individualities of a child and parent (in question), the latter trying to work out a way to connect with his/her kid on that very individual level; and is too much of a personal matter to be given a simple formula/method to follow.
After all, life is too complex for it to be possible to write down a formula that would be able to cope with and solve all the problems a person may come to face in their life. In the end, nobody knows their kids better than their own parents do. So it’s up to the latter to choose how to best bring up their children. Sometimes it’s their gut instinct alone that can lead them to pick out the best option.