Good parenting is not easy

Editorial, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 A VISITING Seventh-day Ad­ventist has appealed to parents in Papua New Guinea to spend more quality time with their children. 

Pastor Ted Wilson said that when addressing more than 1,000 church members during a service at Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby on Saturday. 

This advice may seem to many as preaching to the converted but how many parents actually commit to this simple yet valuable tenet of child rearing. 

Wilson told parents not to use money as a means to satisfying their children or keeping them occupied but encouraged parents to make the time and resources available for their offspring so that parenting would be an effective and positive experience for both parent and child. How a child is brought up in the home has a direct bearing on his or her beliefs and attitudes to other individuals and society.

 Good parenting more often than not means a well-rounded child who exhibits the traits and characteristics that will see him or her become a useful member of the community. 

Traits such as respect for authority (law); a sense of re­sponsibility not only for their own family but an appreciation of their place in society; the desire to contribute meaningfully and to pursue a career; and to be independent, are all desirable characteristics citizens should have in order for their nation to prosper. 

Parenting is not an easy task. It requires daily perseverance and for parents not just to be disciplinarians or to allow their children too much freedom but the right balance to nurture children into young adults capable of making the right decisions and fulfilling their potential. 

Being a man of faith Wilson referenced the Bible as being the best book on parenting one could find anywhere and that being a Christian country people only needed to follow what they already knew. 

Many of society’s ills, most anti-social behaviour and many dysfunctional members of the community can trace their cause directly or indirectly to poor and non-existent parenting. 

A child left to his or her own devices is essentially making decisions on his or her own and has no base or foundation from which to build their idea and concept of proper or acceptable conduct and conversely someone whose upbringing is characterised by limited opportunities for self expression will not develop fully. 

Children, it is said, draw many of their life lessons from the home; from their mothers and fathers. The example set in the confines of the household has an influence on children whether they realise it or not. 

It does not matter whether parents are well off and able to provide their children with material possessions; good parenting is more to do with instilling values. 

The family unit, and to a larger extent the clan and extended family, was important in traditional society and the same is true today although the problem now in 21st century PNG is that parents face new challenges that a generation or two ago would not have been as obvious.  Parenting is about being aware of your child’s progress and needs. 

Too often many parents lose touch with their children and are often at a loss to address negative behaviours or by the same token recognise that the child has a talent or gift in a certain area that needs to be developed. 

For a parent to be “clued in” to the needs of a child he or she must spend quality time with their sons or daughters. 

Having a regular relationship with a child is one thing but having a meaningful and enriching relationship is perhaps what Wilson was implying. 

Parents must make the time and not just in quantity but quality for their children because outside of school, a career and friends, the family is where a child’s blueprint for success is made.