This paper looks at four topics on parenting today. They include; Theories of Child Development, Creating a Collaborative Family Atmosphere, Parenting Adolescents and Children's Psychological Responses to Maltreatment. I present my opinions on the contents of these topics. From the topic of Theories of Child Development, I compare and contrast Piaget against Vygotsky as well as present my view on who presents a better child development theory for implementation in parenting today. My choice here is clear. It is Vygotsky’s theory. Under Creating a Collaborative Family atmosphere, I discuss the roles needed to be played by all adults in the learning of the children in the homes. Here, I challenge the behaviors of leaving children under the sole duty of the child nurse. On the topic of Parenting Adolescents, I identify approaches which work and discourage those that do not work in helping the adolescents. Under Children’s Response to Maltreatment, I trace the reality of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the central factor.
Theories of Child Development.
A question on who, between Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget presents a good theory to guide effective parenting today is a relevant one. Such a question will surely elicit a heated debate with proponents and opponents of each theorist presenting important and convincing points. Piaget holds that children should be left to grow, as a natural process. He holds that children will learn because they are destined to do so as they grow (Blake & Pope, 2008). Piaget teaches parents to only influence learning which is initiated by the child. In the view of Piaget, children should be supported and not taught new things. In Piaget’s theory, socialization is not as important. Lev Vygotsky presents an opposing dimension. He holds that children should be helped to learn. He states that no child can achieve maximum development on own (Blake & Pope, 2008).
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I choose Vygotsky’s theory as a guide to parenting over that of Piaget. My reasons for this choice are many. First is in the views I hold on Piaget’s theory. To me, children are born as tabula rasa. Their minds are blank slates. They are not born wired in any way. They contain nothing in form of predetermined learning as Piaget seeks to say. This is true because anyone, when left without company for along period of time, easily develops animal behaviors. Such people who are left alone tend to be limited even in their language and may chap like animals when they are adults if they are left this long (Harris, 1995). This means it is socialization and not what children are born with that makes them to learn.
As work today continues to keeps parents more and more away from their children, they may tend to think that their children are okay and thus will develop well because they are “destined” to learn and develop. Such a notion has proved to be wrong than right. It is clear in the fact that children today are performing even lower in schools than was the case before when parents were more directly involved. Evidently, the increasing separation from their parents has been the cause.
I hold Piaget as wrong and Vygotsky as right for today’s parenting because of the many things which now form the continuum of what is to be learnt. Children in today’s world cannot afford to be left on their own to make many errors as they try to come to their own understanding. The parent of today does not have enough time. To wait or postpone things until that time when the child will have attained some knowledge may easily be a chance for this learning by the child taking too long and hampering many other duties by the parent. This considered makes it is easy for the parent to scaffold the child, as Vygotsky holds, by introducing the skills and knowledge aimed to be achieved so that the child is at that level and thus the parent is free to engage in other activities. For the child too, time for learning today is limited. This is especially because there are many things to be learnt. Being left to spend time on a particular skill for discovery may cause other learning objectives to be hampered. The child can make errors which can in the end be discouraging. These errors need to be decreased by impacting knowledge through helping them from the level they are to the level parents want them to be. All these call on the parent to become involved as Vygotsky holds. It means an increased need to ignore Piaget’s preposition on socialization in learning.
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Education of children at home has been a topic of debate in many circles. As issues of parenting today come up, the debate on who in the family should be assisting children with their learning such as homework has been at the centre (Hill& Tyson, 2009). Some parents hold that the responsibility for helping children do their homework is part of the duty of the child caregivers such as the child nurse (Hill& Tyson, 2009). They hold that a child’s needs and concerns, including education should be addressed by the child nurse with their only input being when the child is free of all needs. Other parents today have even proposed that child nurses also qualify as early childhood educators so they can ably assist children in learning besides the work they do of meeting their others needs (Hill& Tyson, 2009).
Is this right way to go in parenting today? This question is relevant to parenting today. My answer to it is that it is not right. I hold that it is not a proper way of parenting when parents continue to create more and more chances for them to be less engaged in their children’s life and development. My views that as parents continue to leave the child with the child nurse on almost all areas they may grow not to know less on who their children are. It will be child nurse alone who understands the needs of the child. I believe parents can rescue the situation by taking time with their children at this time of homework.
My point to this is also that the child nurse cannot satisfy all the social needs of the child. I hold that a child, as anyone else, has many needs which are only satisfied when his or her socialization is expanded. The meaning of this is that the child needs the collaboration of the adults around so each one among the adults can contribute to the special social need that the child has in the satisfying most of them. In the context of homework, children with the support of the child nurse alone may not achieve much. This is because the child nurse cannot be a resource on all information that may assist the child in homework and the learning intended from the homework. The child nurse can only teach what they know, holding that others will teach the rest. The meaning of this is that if parents have left the duty of assisting in homework to the child nurse alone, then the child will miss out on other relevant content that they may have learnt. The view I hold here is that there should be a collaborative family atmosphere to help the child learn more. The child nurse, older siblings and the parents should all get involved in helping the child understand concepts they know relating to the homework that the child is doing.
As Arnett (1999) exposes, the challenge in parenting adolescents is how to handle their rebellious behaviors. Many parents have become confused when they find that their adolescents are increasingly engaging in behaviors which they have clearly stated to them not to take to. As parents continue to see their adolescents do this, they question themselves on what they can do. Many parents have taken to punishment as the way to reverse the rebellious behaviors of their adolescent children and thus raise them in proper way (Arnett, 1999). Is punishing a working way or are there other measures which can be taken by the parent?
My view on this is that punishment does not work and that there are other working ways. I disagree with punishment in parenting adolescents because I believe it achieves the negative of what it is intended to. My view is that punishment is not paying in helping the adolescent. I basically hold this because I know an adolescent is unconsciously destined to seek to be in the opposition. It is about the stage and les about the adolescent. To me, the rebellion is fine because it is one way they develop to have an identity. My view is that as the adolescent questions his or her independence, freedom and obligations against the control of the parent; he gets to know what he can do on his or her own. Basing on this, I hold that to punish the rebellion may easily kill the chance for identity formation. The adolescent may not test what he or she can do on own if he or she does not do things contrary to what has been supported by the father or mother. My view is that punishment should be avoided in parenting an adolescent, for the identity to be the case.
I choose other means because I know there are many harmless ways to handle the adolescent. These ways include the parent being a strong figure for identity. An adolescent basically looks at the parent as a potential model. They try to copy what parents do as they seek to be the men or women they want to be. Here, I believe when one who is a parent presents likeable behavior, then it becomes and important chance to influence the adolescent into the correct personality. This is more achieving and less harmful to the adolescent compared to punishment. Besides being a model, I hold that the parent can use relatives, friends, co-workers and such who present good models for the adolescent. He or she should increase the chances when these meet with the adolescent and share their lives with him or her. This approach to parenting the adolescent, I believe, will work much. I believe it will help the adolescent identify behaviors which are good that had helped these people become who they are. I hold that such a connection is important to challenge the adolescent to change than the punitive measures of punishment.
Children's Psychological Responses to Maltreatment.
Recent studies such as one by Carrion et al. (2001) have shown post-Traumatic stress disorder or PTSD as also coming from parenting. These studies have revealed that just as people go through traumatizing situations to develop the PTSTD, children also continue to develop it when they are under maltreatment in homes (Carrion et al., 2001). Is this view now constantly expressed as a concern for today’s parenting true? My view is that it is true and thus children continue to expose PTSD as a result of maltreatment. Throughout the interactions I have had with people, I have come to make this same conclusion of PTSD as an important response by children. My own observations have revealed two consistent qualities of the psychological states of children who have been maltreated. First is that they tend to have an increased fear of the related events. Through the observations I have had, I have come to the conclusion that the fear evoking event which caused the trauma does not die from the child’s memory and tends to affect the child in dealing with any other situation. I have observed that the child tends to reject any smooth interaction with the person, event or place related to the one which caused the trauma. I found that if for example, it was washing hands which made the child to be treated badly, the child is very fearful around the bathroom or washroom area. I found that some children will even fear entering the kitchen when there is water if the water was the concept around which they were treated badly. My observations revealed that children who have been abused by their fathers tended to be scared by any man. My view thus is that PTSD as a result of maltreatment in homes is a reality and the sum of the response by the child to the maltreatment.
This paper has discussed topics of Theories of Child Development, Creating a Collaborative Family Atmosphere, Parenting Adolescents and Children's Psychological Responses to Maltreatment. In the paper, I have presented my opinions on the contents of these topics. From the topic of Theories of Child Development, I have compared and contrasted Piaget against Vygotsky as well as present my view on who presents a better child development theory for implementation in parenting today. My choice here has been made clear to be on Vygotsky’s theory. Under Creating a Collaborative Family atmosphere, I have discussed the roles needed to be played by all adults in the learning of the children in the homes. Here, I have challenged the behaviors of leaving children under the sole duty of the child nurse. On the topic of Parenting Adolescents, I have identified approaches which work and discourage those that do not work in helping the adolescents. Under Children’s Response to Maltreatment, I traced the reality of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the central factor.
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