The Impact of Good Parents on Children and Society: The Many Benefits of Nurturing Children’s Integrity in the Home
Brief summary of presentation of information made
1 June 2018 was the 16th annual celebration of the Global Day of Parents.
Opening remarks came from the Holy See Observer, H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza.
- Good parenting is not only necessary for raising responsible citizens. It is also at the heart of reconciliation and peacebuilding – it shows an example to children of peaceful hearts.
- The UN can learn lessons from good parents: they are grounded in commitment, take responsibility, and keep their word.
- The world is only as strong as its families, and families are only as strong as their parents.
- Individualism can sometimes undermine the importance of familial bonds.
H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay of Hungary addressed the attendees.
- If a child receives love, they will not be afraid to give love to others.
- In Hungary, the focus on the family is more than just a slogan. It is fundamental to the system of governance in Hungary. A number of family-oriented programs play a crucial role in society – the government supports generous maternity and paternity leaves, pensions, skill training such as conflict resolution and awareness.
- The results are positive: marriage rates, fertility rates and female employment are all up, whilst divorce and abortion rates are down.
Tageldin Hamad, VP of the Universal Peace Federation, shared the following:
- “As the mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you”, says Isaiah 66:13. God is our heavenly parent; he loves us tenderly and holds us close. He models perfect parenting despite his greatness as Lord and Creator of all.
Shelly Locke is the Founding CEO of The Power of Motherhood.
- Mothers shape the hearts and minds of the future: science supports this.
- An infant learns responses from watching the mother. Mothers and children grow together through a process known as synchronicity, where their brains are stimulated by eye contact. This allows brain development to flourish.
- It develops certain functions: work ethic, social/emotional skills, survival instincts, imagination, empathy and hope, among others.
- Empathy is the driving force of a safe society, so strong mother-child bonds are the starting point of an empathetic, safe and peaceful community.
- How do you teach empathy in an older child? Caring for a pet can work wonders on a child’s development, from empathy to managing responsibility.
The next speaker was Patrick Fagan, Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, who spoke on the importance of a father-son relationship.
- A father is the source of his child’s views on most things. It is critical to be genuine through legitimate experience and wise reflection.
- Family disruption can come from all kinds of places. It is increasingly caused by media and technology.
- Families can overcome it by finding others with similar struggles and values. Parenting support groups are a good option, as are marriage and parenting prep classes.
Thomas Lickona is a professor at the State University of New York at Cortland.
- Society as a whole will not raise a child as it ought to be raised. The onus falls on the parents, and intentional parenting is essential to engender virtues such as wisdom, justice, fortitude and self-control.
- Rules and boundaries are necessary for a child’s success, but not always just written rules (although a family mission statement is a good idea). Rules are established through connective rituals such as family meals, conversations, one-on-one time, chores and more.
- Parenting continues throughout elementary and teen years. The hope is that the parents instil virtues and morals that will stay with the child forever.
- This includes managing the moral environment: what is prevented and what is promoted, especially good guidance on sex (suicide is six to twelve times more likely in sexually active teen girls than in virgins). Lickona suggested a family media plan.
Melissa Moschella is a professor of Medical Ethics at Columbia University. She asked what policies ensure that parents have the necessary space to act without the interference of government.
- Do children belong to parents, families or communities?
- The rights for parents are grounded in the philosophy of parental authority, first proposed by Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts on natural authority. Parents have the closest relationship with the child, at least at the beginning of life.
- Parental authority is original. This means that it is not a power derived from the state, nor is it defined by the state. Its order and structure preceded the state itself. It is instead grounded in the unchanging structure of human nature.
- Think of a nesting doll model of authority. The parents are the innermost doll, with family and community as larger dolls.
- Children also belong to the community, therefore, but more indirectly – through their family and parents. The state’s role as public educator is to facilitate the parents’ difficult responsibility.
- Intervention is understandable in cases of neglect, abuse or human rights violations, or a threat to the public as a whole.
The final speaker was Rima Salah, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, who spoke on raising children of peace in situations of conflict.
- 250 million children under five years of age face unstable situations, keeping them from reaching their potential.
- There are still positive experiences, of course. These, along with negative experiences and genetics, influence brain development
- We should be very happy that child development has been included in the UN development agenda.
- A point of emphasis: make sure that education continues even in times of crisis or displacement.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
The Salvation Army serves people who are often coming from broken families. The corps has the opportunity to be an example of a family or a community where individuals can feel a sense of belonging. The corps can be a place where family values are exemplified and many lessons about good character can be learnt.
Motherhood has the greatest potential influence for good or evil in a child’s life, because an infant learns responses from watching mother including emotions and attitudes.
Parents need to be intentional in their parenting, making time to spend with the child, not just teaching moral values but modelling them in their own behavior. The moral environment can be managed through age appropriate monitoring with attention to what is prevented as well as that which is encouraged.
The virtues can be encouraged to be practiced within the home environment which will then instill practices that last throughout life.
Specific suggestions to assist parents are:
- A family mission statement
- A family media plan (what media access is promoted)
- Good values-based guidance on sex
Web links for more information
http://www.parentingproject.org/ The speakers mentioned this website as a helpful source of parenting materials, assistance and advice.
http://giraffeheroes.org/ This site also came up in the presentations. The site features individuals, including many kids and parents, that were willing to ‘stick their neck out’ and do some good in the world.Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being