Celebrating International Parents Day: Parenting and Optimal Child Development
Brief summary of presentation of information made
The Panel consisted of:-
Archbishop Bernardito Auza- Ambassador to the UN for the Holy see,
Lynn Walsh – Director of the Family department at the Universal Peace Federation
Robert Karen- Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Adelphi University, New York
Patrick Fagan – Catholic University of America. Director of Marriage and Religion Research Initiative
Western Culture has and is continuing to change, putting different stresses on parenthood and families. Early relationship development with the primary caregivers (parents) is essential for social and emotional development. For optimal childhood development a secure, loving environment is necessary. Past research has shown that the optimal environment is found within a loving marriage. Therefore we need to support parents and family life for the best outcomes for children, which in turn will mean the best outcomes for our communities.
Opening Remarks by Bernardito Auza
- Multiple Stresses on parenthood today, including single parenthood and downgrading of the status of motherhood
- Joint commitment to parenthood and raising a child together cannot be overstated
- Good parenting by fathers needed as much as by mothers, should be a constant relationship, not just a biological act
- Loving parents in marriage relationship gives superior results in child development than single parenting,
- Complimentary nature of father-mother relationship = >sum of both parts
- Little support for marriage partners or family development available
- Loving care in childhood contributes to the formation of adults who are confident in who they are and view the world as a good and welcoming place
- Family is a place where children learn values of reciprocity,unity in diversity,give and take
- Any person interested in children must be interested in the place of parenthood
- Human beings are relational in their nature
- They are shaped by nature (DNA) but also their nurturing environment
- Family is the school of love and spirituality
Gave an overview of the history of the Attachment Theory (see link below)
- Romance is the start of relationship. Arrival of children and the responsibility it brings leads to maturation
- All cultures are living organisms of changing relationships
- Culture is formed by wise distillation of the (wise) ways of the community
- Universal in all cultures is support of one another in relationships
- Presented data from US surveys re effects of parents behavior on childhood achievement – see below for link. Unfortunately all data presented from 1990s
- Not guardians of old culture but called to find new ways of supporting one another in a changed culture, including families
Place of extended family?
Extended family is similar to village living with community support. Supports sense of belonging. Any care by a loving person is nurturing. Wherever there is love, strong relationships and a sense of belonging people thrive.
Anger within parenting relationships?
Occasional anger is not destructive and can be positive if rational resolution is demonstrated. Is destructive if over-riding emotion of relationship and if results in demeaning, malicious or humiliating expression.
Importance of work inside and outside of family?
Chores teach being part of a team, working together for one aim, good of family
Family exhibits the 5 elements of a society - economy, government, religion, education, family. All elements can be learnt within the family
Challenges to child development?
Biggest risk for dysfunctional relationships is for millennials – 54% have experienced loss of a parent (divorce, departure) by the age of 17 years in USA.
The more committed, giving people there are, the better the world will be, the less giving people, the more children will be deprived, leading to an intergenerational cycle of deprivation.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- Development of relationships in early childhood has been shown to be critical for emotional and social development. These are the relationships usually formed with parents in the early weeks and months of life.
- A change of culture has placed new stresses on parenthood. There is a need to develop new ways of supporting parents and families in this new culture.
- Commitment and love for others, creating a secure place of belonging for children is necessary for nurturing children, and allowing them to thrive