8 Essential Parental Responsibilities
By: Chris Theisen
Nobody ever said that children were easy to raise. They don't come with guidelines or instructions, and they certainly don't come with a pause button (I've looked!). What they do come with is a crucial set of physical and emotional needs that must be met. Failure of the parents to meet these specific needs can have wide-ranging and long-lasting negative effects.
The following outline provides eight essential responsibilities that parents must adhere to in order to foster their child's physical and/or emotional well-being:
Provide an environment that is SAFE.
- Keep your child free from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
- Keep unsafe objects locked up or out of reach of your child.
- Get to know your child's caregivers (get references or background checks).
- Correct any potential dangers around the house.
- Take Safety Precautions: Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, lock doors at night, always wear seatbelts, etc.
Provide your child with BASIC NEEDS.
- Plenty of nutritious foods
- A warm bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow
- Medical care as needed/Medicine when ill
- Clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions
- Space (a place where he or she can go to be alone)
Provide your child with SELF-ESTEEM NEEDS.
- Accept your child's uniqueness and respect his or her individuality.
- Encourage (don't push) your child to participate in a club, activity, or sport.
- Notice and acknowledge your child's achievements and pro-social behavior.
- Encourage proper hygiene (to look good is to feel good, or so they say!).
- Set expectations for your child that are realistic and age-appropriate.
- Use your child's misbehavior as a time to teach, not to criticize or ridicule.
Teach your child MORALS and VALUES.
Develop MUTUAL RESPECT with your child.
- Use respectful language
- Respect his or her feelings
- Respect his or her opinions
- Respect his or her privacy
- Respect his or her individuality
Provide DISCIPLINE which is effective and appropriate.
Involve yourself in your child's EDUCATION.
- Communicate regularly with your child's teacher(s)
- Make sure that your child is completing his or her homework each night.
- Assist your child with his or her homework, but don't DO the homework.
- Talk to your child each day about school (what is being studied, any interesting events,...etc.).
- Recognize and acknowledge your child's academic achievements.
Get to KNOW YOUR CHILD.
- Spend quality time together.
- Be approachable to your child.
- Ask questions.
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Now that we've looked at the responsibilities parents HAVE, let's look at what responsibilities parents do NOT have. The following is a list of responsibilities that no parent should be expected to meet.
- Supplying your child with the most expensive designer clothes or shoes available.
- Picking up after your child/Cleaning your child's room.
- Dropping everything you're doing to give your child a ride somewhere.
- Providing your child with a telephone, television, computer, or game system.
- Bailing your child out of trouble every time he or she does something wrong.
- Maintaining an unlimited supply of treats, chips, sodas, or junk foods for your child's unlimited consumption.
- Replacing toys or other items that your child has lost or misplaced.
- Welcoming any or all of your child's friends into your home for social or other activities.
Chris Theisen is the author of The Parent Coach Plan.