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Parenting that Facilitates Healthy Child Development

November 2012

Children are born with the potential to behave in healthy, creative, and productive ways. When we take a good look around at the children in our world, however, we become aware there is no guarantee that the above basic potentials will be realized. This may cause us to wonder what went wrong. Fortunately, we don’t have to think too deeply to realize that unless a child’s in-born striving towards health and maturity is nurtured by the parents and other adults in his world, his growth will be inhibited.

We become obliged, then, to ask ourselves, “What kind of parenting is the most conducive to the healthy development of our children?” According to Dr. Eugene M. DeRobertis, author of Humanizing Child Developmental Theory, the parent with the highest likelihood of facilitating healthy development in their child is the one who displays a sense of security, self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-esteem, free self-expression, a capacity for genuine intimacy, and a sense of devotion to the childrearing process. In addition, Dr. De Robertis believes there are fundamental skills a parent needs to have in order to foster this healthy development in his or her child.

As a parent, you must bring a reliable and predictable world to your child, who is dependent upon you for doing so. Only YOU can provide this world of order and structure which sets the stage for your child’s imagination and creativity to develop. One way you can do this is by providing guidelines for his or her behavior as well as positive and negative consequences for their actions. In addition, rituals that bind your family together, such as regular family meetings or holiday celebrations, are important.

The affectionate holding and handling of your child creates a favorable environment in which hope and confidence rather than anxiety can develop in them. Consistently offering encouragement affectionately holds your child, which you can do by saying things like, “You are working hard to do well!” or “Your efforts are paying off!” By doing these things, you enable your child to explore his world without fear.

When you display genuine, heartfelt love and caring to your child you allow him or her to feel secure in the knowledge that he or she is wanted and considered valuable. When you are empathically attuned to your child, you fill him or her with a feeling of being truly understood and genuinely close to you. These kinds of emotional support are needed for your child to remain open to his own world of feelings, and encourage him or her to be open to the diverse characteristics of others and the world.

Regular affirmations which reflect your child’s creative expression such as, “You really enjoy dancing,” or “You solved that problem in a thoughtful way!” give your child confidence and strength to face the unique challenges of their world. In addition, being sensitive to your child’s changing needs, as well as tempering the severity of necessary discipline to the severity of the infraction also contributes to your child’s healthy coming into being. Lastly, remember that your child grasps just as much from his or her first hand observations of your behavior as he or she does from communicating with you verbally. Therefore, it is important that you are be loving, tolerant, accepting, peaceful, committed, loyal and dedicated.

After reading this article, you may feel that mastering the above parenting skills is a tall order to fill. I encourage you not to worry, but rather to use this as an opportunity to take an honest assessment of yourself as a parent in order to find out how you can improve. As you assist in activating your child’s creative expression and passion for life, you will find your efforts will have been more than worth it.



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