The family institution remains as one of the oldest institution in the history of mankind. As a result of this, there are many aspects that make up the whole society without which a society can be termed as incomplete. One of these aspects is parenthood. To begin with, parenthood can be defined as the aspect of being a parent. In other words, it can be said that parenthood is the ability to sire children or acquire them by any other assisted means and then bringing them up. With this in mind, it is important to note that there are different pathways that can be employed by individuals and couples in order to attain the state of parenthood. Among the most common methods are assisted reproduction techniques, adoption pathways and fertility assessment tests (Clark, et al., 2009, p.1).
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The above named pathways to parenthood entail various aspects that have to be put into consideration if the person in question is to be in a position to achieve successful parenthood. To begin with, the fertility assessment tests involves the coming together of individuals to sire their own children whereby a woman or a couple successfully achieves pregnancy (Clark, et al., 2009, p.130). In 2005 alone, more than 52,000 babies were born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies. Similarly, an individual or couples can ascend to parenthood by using surrogacy or by adopting a child or children locally or internationally depending on the person’s ability to meet the requirements of the law. In line with this, every year, more than 120,000 babies are adopted in the United States with 90% of this being on the local scene and 10% internationally (p.xi). This is an evidence of parenthood as this number of children has to be brought up by a parent. Therefore, for many people, the most compelling reason to choose a specific pathway to parenthood is the influence they can have on their child’s genetic background and on the environment their child is exposed to from conception through early infancy (p.83).
There are a lot of issues that are involved in parenthood during the midlife stages of a person’s development. First, at this period in a person’s development, one would be at a place of developing his or her career. Nonetheless, when parenthood sets in at this stage, management of one’s work and career while at the same time parenting raises a lot of challenges especially in regard to a person’s personal time. One is required to attend to his or her child or children while at the same time working to develop his or her career. In most cases, working and parenting has proved to be a challenge forcing some people to tackle one issue at a time, i.e. pursuing their careers first and then parent later or entering into parenthood and then later on pursuing their careers. According to Ryff & Mailick (1996), during the period of parenthood, fewer women with children work, and those who do are rarely on career or professional occupations (p.206).
Following these arguments, there are many people who have had to alter their careers as a result of parenthood during their midlife stage of development. Studies indicate that most of the people that have been affected are women in the society. In line with this, women would spend more time parenting as compared to men in the society. This has been found to affect their careers during the midlife stages of development. Notably, people’s career developments are at their peak during this stage of development. In addition to seeking to balance between career life and parenthood, parents in their midlife stage of development hold multiple roles that equally need their attention. For instance, parents at this stage may be forced to take care of the elderly in their home thus increasing their responsibility.
Another issue that has been identified in parenting during the midlife stage is the concerns that parents have on the overall development of their child or rather children. Ryff & Mailick (1996) asserts that all parents must deal, for example, with the biological maturity of their children and the new challenges that puberty brings to family relations (p.644). The maturity of children has been found to create a lot of challenges for parent during their midlife stage of development since this maturity brings in new ways of relating between children and parents.
Similarly, the ability of parents to guide their children into adulthood to the point of being independent has always been a challenge to parents in their midlife stage. In reference to Ryff & Mailick (1996), 45% of parents between the ages of forty-five and fifty-four with children aged 19 years or older have a child still living at home (p.644). With this in mind, launching of children into an independent adult life is a complex process to parents. Remarkably, adolescence parenting can negatively alter the relationship between parents and their children. This is as a result of the fact that children at this stage of development perceive life differently as compared to when they were a few years younger since they need more freedom to be on their own.
There are different resources and approaches that can be used to resolve or improve the issues that results from parenthood. First, parents need to come to the point of realizing that their children are growing and that they cannot in any way remain on the same level of development. As a result of this, their relationship with their children would be more difficult if they treated them the same way as when they were very young. According to Clinebell, Jr. (1977), it is important for parents to gradually relax the discipline and the limits to give room for their children to develop self-discipline and autonomy. While focusing on maintaining high level discipline, this needs to be done in a relaxed way.
In addition to approaching parenting issues with an open mind, these parents need to find a Parent Training and Enrichment Groups since these groups are geared towards helping parents to cope with parenting issues and problems that may arise during the period of parenting (Clinebell, Jr., 1977). These groups are important in developing parenting skills especially to single parents. In this regard, these parents need to share their parenthood experiences thus imparting new skills and knowledge on parenting to their peers.
In addition to this, parents should be initiators rather than waiting for relationship with their children to change as they watch (Clinebell, Jr., 1977). For instance, parents in their midlife stage of development need to monitor the growth of their children. In line with this, they would be able to detect changes that occur in their children and thus tackle them when they have not gone to the point beyond repair. In this regard, parents have to understand when these children need to be monitored and when they need their freedom. For example, when children want to leave home and be independent, they need to be understood by their parents.
In summation, parenthood has proved to be a challenge to many people across the world, especially those that are in their midlife stages of development. To begin with, parents in their midlife stage of development have to deal with the issue of multiple tasks or rather responsibility that they have to deal with such as career life and taking care of the elderly in the society among other issues. There are various approaches and resources that can be utilized in order to deal with these challenges. For example, parents need to approach the issues of parenthood with an open mind for them to go through this stage of life successfully.
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