Modern parenthood.

Modern parenthood.

"Never before has there been so much talk about parenting as in the last century. This is connected with the fact that there have been changes in our family life, our way of life, and our gender roles. How does one be a good parent and at the same time respect the child's right to develop as an individual?"

Full-time jobs, transporting young children for day care or kindergarten, and a constant lack of time. It is not terribly surprising that parents, who want to be the world's best mothers and fathers, develop bad consciences as victims of circumstances. Some believe that the effect of this bad conscience is why many of today's children are spoiled and overly selfassertive. The children get the upper hand in family dynamics. They refuse to eat properly, refuse to go to sleep, and spend excessive hours in front of the computer...

It is the responsibility of the parents to teach the child about life, but this is a two-sided process that needs to involve the child. The child must be taught to distinguish between right and wrong, that there are rules, and that in order to succeed he needs to prepare himself to exercise good judgment as he progresses through life. The child should feel good, and this will occur if he or she knows what to do and knows the limits that are imposed. These limits are of course changed as the child grows. You need to ask yourself what you want your family life to be like, and what you expect from your children.

For the parent to be able to manage his or her affairs and have time to teach the children how to handle their various needs and how to resolve conflicts is certainly easier said than done. It is easy to be a little lazy and lax as a parent. The parent is apt to become impatient and decide that it is faster to perform a task himself. But when a parent becomes impatient and intervenes to make a task go faster (and not merely as an assister), he or she does himself/herself and the child a disservice. In order for the child to develop self-esteem, he or she must be treated properly at home. When children help each other, clean up together, choose the order of tasks, and share tasks, they learn to stand up for each other and not just think of themselves. These are important skills that build pride and self-satisfaction.
A child who is not given a chance to try things and learn to handle failure may fear to attempt new things. The child grows up and thinks he is capable, but six and seven year olds who cannot tie their shoes or wipe themselves after using the toilet are apt to have problems with self-esteem.

A current major problem is children's lack of concentration -- many are unable to pursue a task for longer than a short time. Self-discipline is a trait that is important to learn -- it makes life easier in every way. Restless children who change interests and even friends have a more difficult time with learning processes. As a parent, you are the child's role model, and it is difficult for you to show patience and devote your scarce time -- your child too should not be expected to handle these stresses well.
The feeling of love is wonderful; despite the fact that parenting is one of life's hardest tasks, it is very worthwhile. Let the child know that she or he is a gift, who returns you so much for your efforts.

Advice from Lars H. Gustafsson, a pediatrician and father of eight:
From the book "Growing up -- and not obeying", published by Norstedts.

Always believe the best about your child.
You need to devote an open ended chunk of time to your child each day.
Read, talk, sing, and play.
Respect your child's integrity.
Have rules that are as fixed and firm as possible, but also show patience.
Respect the child's right to a sense of dignity and worth.
Open your home, and concern yourself about the child's friends.
Become involved in the affairs of the child's pre-school or school.

The book "Parents' big book about children" is recommended. It is published by Bonnier Fakta publishers.
Its subject is children aged 0-6. It is written for parents as of 2010. It contains pointers from 80 of Sweden's foremost experts.

Also the book "The common sense book of baby and child care" by Benjamin Spock, an American pediatrician, has been used to support many Swedish children's upbringing. It was the first "bible" of parenting. It is in the form of a reference book with chapters. First published in 1946, it has gone through 11 editions, including Dr. Spock's more radical thoughts, and it has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. He was innovative, and argued that parents should rely on their own common sense. He advocated relaxing the strict rules about time and conduct that had been popular in the past.

Do not be overly impressed by what the experts say. Trust your own instincts and your common sense, in parenting. The natural love-filled care that sincere parents give their children is much more valuable than the experts' advice on how best to put on a diaper.

Author: Elisabet Garcia.

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