Parenting mental development of children, news and tips on raising happy, healthy, successful kids and teens. The goal of every parent is to raise a happy and well-adjusted child. There are thousands of books which provide information and advice on raising children successfully. The child feels important and loved.
He or she has an opportunity to model parent’s behavior. The parent can observe and learn about the child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to better guide them. The child has a chance to voice their thoughts and feelings. The parent and child develop a stronger bond. It is apparent that the goal of spending quality family time is to love, understand, and develop your child as a happy, well-adjusted, and contributing member of society. But what if the relationship between parent and child is unhealthy? Innumerable studies reveal several negative outcomes when the child or adolescent does not receive the right love, attention, and guidance from his or her parents.
For example, a new study has been published in the Journal of Family Issues, led by Brown University sociologist Gregory Elliott. This study shows that adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members. Do they invest time and resources in you? Do they look to you as a resource? Elliott asserts that mattering is the fundamental motivation in human beings. The data for this analysis comes from telephone interviews with a national sample of 2,004 adolescents, age 11-18, as part of the 2000 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Controlling for age, gender, race, religiosity, and family socioeconomic structure and size, the findings reveal that failing to matter to one’s family increases the probability of violence, whereas a strong feeling of mattering is likely to protect the adolescent from engaging in violent behavior toward a family member. Multiple studies reveal that children are much more likely to develop emotional and behavioral disorders when they receive inadequate or poor parenting and each study uses the foundation of spending quality time with children as the first vital step to successful parenting. Activities that will promote happy and healthy children are innumerable and don’t have to be expensive or difficult to access. The key is to give the child your full attention and vice versa. Here are some suggestions to get started. This could become a family event from the selection of the menu, preparing the food and table, serving, eating together, and cleaning up.
During the meal, children and adolescents can be encouraged to talk about what is interesting to them, and not necessarily the usual topics like school and work. If parents can spend positive time with their children without conflict, this can be a good bonding experience where the school work itself is just a means to the end. Whether it is playing catch in the yard, going to the gym, or watching the child play or perform, active and positive involvement is rewarding. Hobbies such as drawing, crafts, collecting are great fodder for conversation. Board games and cards allow for the family to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Boy Scouts, 4H, or the debate team, can be a great opportunity for bonding. Shopping with the family can make a simple chore an event. Attend a concert or show together. Go to the theater, watch television, or rent movies.
Outdoor activities such as hiking, walks, bicycling, picnics, or camping. For younger children, get in the habit of reading to them. For the adolescent, ask what book they are reading and then read it yourself. In both cases, engage the child in a discussion about the book.