Being a parent can be the most rewarding experience in our lives. It can also be the most challenging, lonely and misunderstood role we may undertake. Unlike other “jobs,” becoming a parent does not come with a “how to manual.” Parents are expected to know what it takes to raise their children. The unfortunate outcomes of this unreasonable expectation are two fold; children’s emotional, psychological and spiritual needs are not successfully met, thereby, limiting the expression of their full potential in adulthood; producing adults who are unable to enjoy full and true intimacy with themselves and their loved ones.
While the significant role parenting plays in the ultimate development of an individual is widely known, there is still a void in educating parents in how to best guide and steward their children’s development.
Until the middle of the twentieth century, parents’ primary expression of love focused on physically nourishing their children, keeping them safe and healthy, and making sure they receive proper education. There was little or no understanding and appreciation for their children’s emotional, psychological and spiritual needs and development, and their significant role in shaping the overall health of the human being. The extraordinary achievements made in medical, industrial, technological, and educational fields resulted in Western industrialized societies’ increased ability to meet its members’ essential survival needs. As these needs became easier to fulfill, greater attention was given to understanding the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the individual. Research in neurology, physics, biochemistry, and psychology have generated ongoing dialogue, theory, data, practice, and further research in the relentless pursuit of how we operate. Consequently, we now have a better understanding of what motivates our feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Although most researchers, scientists and students of the human behavior agree that our knowledge is still in its infantile stage, nonetheless, we currently possess critical information that can increase our appreciation, and therefore, our ability to better meet our children’s need as well as our personal and collective needs.
While some of the information is gradually seeping into the masses through schools, books, media, workshops, and conversations among individuals, our society has still not taken the vital step of developing a strategic and comprehensive approach to teaching it to its members.
Given the void in this area, if parents wish to understand and fulfill their children’s needs so that they can develop and grow into emotionally healthy, creative, productive, interdependent and happy human beings, they need to take the initiative and avail themselves of the information and the tools required to achieve their goals.
I have written a lot about this subject in prior blogs. Check them out.