This essay discusses the relationship between a parent and his/her child and parenting methods as a part of child counseling. It dwells upon how to best influence a child as it growing up, and how to best act towards it in order to instill discipline and character, when a child matures to grow into a responsible member of the society. It touches upon how parents on both ends of the spectrum fail in their parenting roles and end up with wayward children. On the one hand, the lack of attention to a growing child negatively affects its behavior and character, while, on the other hand, showing too much affection may lead to a spoilt child, also a negative result. A balance has to be found in between in order to come up with the most suitable parenting method. It should also be known that there is no universal method that works for everybody, since parents have to adjust methods to suit the environment that their child has been growing up in. As a child grows, parenting methods should also be flexible enough to change accordingly, to deal with the issues affecting a child at that age and the level of maturity as within time the child’s brain changes and its understanding of issues affecting it increases. To cope with this change, methods should encourage more dialogue with increasing the level of maturity of a child. It goes into how to bring up a child to grow into someone responsible and how to effectively deal with situations, when a child grows out of control, and to instill discipline and a sense of responsibility. While attempting to stay close to their children, many parents tend to overindulge, overprotect or even over-control them, which often leads to out of control behavior, such as rebelliousness among others. Thus, in general, it touches upon child counseling and various parenting methods appropriate for growing children.
Child counseling can be described as a process, when a child is helped to better understand problems that it encounters, to develop skills, to better cope with situations in the future and parents are helped to better cope with and understand their children’s emotions. In parenting, the process of child counseling is seen to be a constant event that starts from the moment a child is born and does not end until the day the child leaves the parent as a mature adult to start living on its own. Parenting could be described as a process, when child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs are taken care of and promoted. This process starts in infancy all through until adulthood. Though usually done by the child’s biological parents, the government and the society also play a role in child’s upbringing, for example, in the case of orphans or children, who are abandoned by their biological parents in orphanages and foster homes (Bernstein, 2008). As stated earlier, parenting methods differ with different families and environments. Some determinants of a suitable parenting method include an income and wealth of parents, which is a very strong determinant because of the availability of resources to be used for child’s upbringing. Another determinant is a social class of parents, since different social classes bring up their children to view the world in different ways. Parenting styles range from authoritative, which is strict and rigid, usually patriarchal, and parents completely rule the child’s life through authoritarian, which, tends to be a bit more lenient towards a child and encourages dialogue, and finally to permissive on the opposite end of the spectrum, when there is minimal parental influence on child’s decisions (Baumrind. D, 1971). In general a suitable parenting method should be encouraged to show communication with children, consistency in normal routines, utilize the available resources and show interest in the issues that affect a child, such as its education and development. Nobody is perfect and no parenting method is perfect. Parents sometimes make mistakes in upbringing their children, and in view of this, they should be open to following advices of knowledgeable persons, such as older and experienced families, reading material on parenting and even the internet.
In an attempt to show their children just how much they mean to them and how much they love them, some parents fall into one of the commonest pitfalls of parenting, when they over-control, overindulge and overprotect their children. This leads to an unhealthy relationship between a parent and a child and affects the child’s character and ability to cope with the outside world in adulthood. Such issues as relationships, decision-making and problem-solving skills are affected. In order to avoid this, Clinton and Sibcy give advice how much love to show children and when to stop showing it or risk a spoilt child or a completely dependent one that cannot stand for him/herself.
It is important for parents to realize that everybody can make mistakes. Thus, one should not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for advice from friends and family, or even religious leaders and the Bible. It is important for parents to reflect and think about what motivates them to show too much or too little love for their children. In some cases, it may be issues from the parent’s own childhood experience or current stresses in their daily lives. If there are major issues, then it is best to seek professional help in the form of therapists to help them confront such issues and find a release. This would prevent these issues from affecting parenting and children, as they grow up. A religious help from church leaders could also help, as they’re also trained in dealing with such matters (Clinton & Sibcy, 2006).
Some parents end up overprotecting their children as a way of demonstrating their love for them. In order to avoid this, parents should avoid lying to their children or hiding the truth from them about real life situations or tough situations that they come across. However, it is upon a parent to judge the amount to disclose depending on the level of maturity of the growing child. Parents should also refrain from rescuing their children from situations that arise from child’s actions that could teach the child a lesson of responsibility and accountability. Such lessons also teach children that there are consequences for their actions, which are an important life lesson for bringing up an individual with a sense of responsibility. Such parents should refrain from fighting their children’s battles and instead coach them though problem solving and tackling difficult situations, so that they are competent enough to handle themselves in case another similar situation crops up in the absence of a parent. They should learn that though life can be dangerous and sometimes painful, with the proper knowledge and skills they can tackle most hurdles that life throws at them, that they are not alone in the world and that it is alright to trust others and ask for help when necessary. The Bible encourages parents to teach their youth so that they know how to deal with similar situations in their lives (Proverbs 22:6).