Families are complex, unique ecosystems and the first critical pillar in shaping an individual’s life. Thousands of research papers have been written on what is effective parenting. Robert Epstein, a distinguished research psychologist and Shannon Fox identified what is important for raising happy, healthy, productive children. They analysed the data from “My Parenting Skills questionnaire which is based on scientific studies and empirically validated with a group of more than 2,000 parents.
In their data analysis, Epstein and Fox compared 3 things: “what experts advised parents to do, what really seems to work and what parents actually do”
The most important finding confirmed what most parents already believe, namely, that the best thing we can do for our children is to give them lots of love and affection, maintaining a good relationship with the other parent and parents managing their own stress levels. In other words, children benefit not just from how you treat them but also from how you treat your partner and yourself.
The 10 competencies to raising healthy and productive children are:
- Love and Affection – You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate, and spend quality one-on-one time together.
- Stress Management – You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation
- Relationship Skills – You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with other people.
- Autonomy and Independence – You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant
- Education and Learning – You promote and model learning and provide educational opportunities for your child.
- Life Skills – You provide for your child, have a steady income and plan for the future.
- Behaviour Management – You make extensive use of positive reinforcement and punish only when other methods of managing behaviour have failed.
- Health – You model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, for your child.
- Religion – You support spiritual or religious development and participate in spiritual or religious activities.
Safety- You take precautions to protect your child and maintain awareness of the child’s activities and friends
Article – Epstein R, What makes a good parent? A scientific analysis ranks the 10
most effective child rearing practices, Scientific American Mind Nov /Dec 2015