Parenting as a topic is as vast as an ocean. There are too many aspects, angles, points of view, research, & theories, which need to considered and taken into account if we are to attempt doing justice to this topic. In essence, parenting is also a very subjective concept, because every individual has their own unique style of parenting, which they probably acquired as a result of their own childhood experiences, or because of the experiences of others that they were exposed to as part of growing up, learning & re-learning. This last point is very crucial to understand.
Parenting is a style, and thus it’s not static; with time, experiences, and one’s own exposure to what is happening around the world, this style is changed and can be adapted, and thus, the phrase, “learning & re-learning”, is at the core of healthy parenting practices.
Often, parents keep striving for more and try to be the best versions of themselves over a consistent period. In my therapy sessions, I come across parents who are different stages of the parenting cycle. Indeed, just like there are stages to one’s professional life or personal life; there are also stages to one’s parenting graph.
A new parent has a lot to learn from sheer trial & error; a parent who has children in the teenage, has to deal with a completely different set of challenges than someone who has children in playgroup; and then there are parents who also find themselves parenting (in some way), an offspring living thousands of kilometers away in another city or country.
It would suffice to say that parenting is an ongoing phase; I leave it up to you to decide which label you would like to use here. Whether you view parenting as a responsibility, duty, job, passion, task, something you signed up for, etc., there is no escaping the fact that whatever you do (and don’t do), as a parent from day one, is going to shape your child in some way or the other.
We also need to understand that parenting is not an individual couple’s responsibility; a parent exists within the socio-political spectrum of the ecosystem. And thus, everything that is happening in the world around a parent, whether immediate or distant, is going to exert an influence on a parent’s parenting practices.
An individual doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and thus, how can we expect parenting to exist in a vacuum. The geo-socio-eco-political environment that we stay in, allows everyone to pass judgments and gives everyone a right to comment on someone’s parenting practices; and to hold on to one’s ideologies in this kind of environment, is rather difficult.
Given all the many challenges and myriad range of topics that form part of the larger construct of “parenting”, we at Incredible Goa, have decided to do our bit in demystifying the concept of parenting by dedicating the upcoming article series, to this topic. The writer has 8 years of experience as a mental health professional and apart from her own private practice, also teaches the Masters in Child Psychology program at a leading college in South Goa.
When it comes to parenting, the most difficult question to answer often, is ‘To Do or Not To Do?’, and we hope that the upcoming article series on ‘Parenting’, will assist you in answering this question, to a certain extent.