Fifty Key Messages – a positive parenting style works

Are you a positive parent?

Positive parenting makes a real difference to child development and children’s behaviour is strongly influenced by parenting styles and practices. Research suggests growing up in nurturing, secure family environments, for example, is important as it is associated with positive child wellbeing and the development of pro-social behaviours as well as minimising exposure to harmful problem activity. (Prosocial behaviour is behaviour that is good for us and good for the people or society around us, so examples would be sharing, helping, cooperating, being concerned for the feelings and wellbeing of others)

We all vary in how we parent. It is worth thinking about our own way of parenting.

If we provide a lot of love and nurturing to our children but also put strong boundaries and supervision in place then we are likely to have an Authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parenting has been described as the most positive parenting style. It is described as a democratic approach to parenting, integrating warmth with firm behavioural control. For example, authoritative parents teach children to conform to standards they set through negotiation rather than by punishment. They expect children to achieve these standards in a supportive context that respects both the children’s and parents’ rights. The children of authoritative parents are more likely to be self-controlled, independent, resilient and socially responsible.

This type of Authoritative parent:

  • Enables a child to make his/her own choices
  • Makes clear rules and enforces them
  • Rewards children’s positive behaviour
  • Is involved in their child’s daily life where possible

Much research over recent decades concludes that an authoritative parenting style is related to positive outcomes for children and teenagers. Among the benefits are a more secure sense of identity, higher self-esteem, greater independence, more pro-social behaviour, better outcomes in education and better resistance to peer pressure.

What’s your parenting style?

Positive

(authoritative)

gives lots of love and nurturing and is also strong on boundaries and supervision

This type of parent:

  • Enables a child to make his/her own choices
  • Makes clear rules and enforces them
  • Rewards children’s positive behaviour
  • Is involved in their child’s daily life where possible

Bossy

(Authoritarian)

puts a lot of emphasis on boundaries, rules and supervision but doesn’t show a lot of love or nurturing

This type of parent:

  • Has expectations for a child that are too high
  • Does not enable a child to make his/her own choices
  • Often insults and belittles a child
  • Often ignores good behaviour and excessively punishes a child

Easy Going

(Laissez-Faire)

Shows a lot of love and nurturing but places little emphasis on boundaries or supervision

This type of parent:

  • Lets a child do what he/she wants
  • Does not establish any rules for a child
  • Will give in to a child having tantrums
  • Provides no structure for a child

Distant

(Neglectful/ Rejecting/ Disengaged)

Shows little love or nurturing and does not provide boundaries or supervision

This type of parent:

  • Does not have a close relationship with a child
  • Allows a child to do what they want
  • Shows little interest in a child’s behaviour or aspirations
  • Does not supervise a child/or arrange adequate supervision when needed

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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