The excitement of every young couple when they are expecting their first baby is so pure, and as unconcealable as sun rise each day. Their faces glow with palpable joy as they draw up list, and shop for various baby care items. Though parenting is a complex and challenging call, however, when it is taken with the right steps, there is definitely no denying the joy that the amazing journey of parenting brings.
Regardless of the initial excitement, few weeks after their baby arrives, couples begin to realise how unprepared they are for the task of parenting. To make matters worst, most parents would hardly do anything to bridge the gaps in their inadequate parenting skills. Unknown to most parents is that some of the gaps in parenting skills, would later end up creating dysfunctions in the life of the children growing up under such influences. One question that begs for answers is: why do parents not care about developing or strengthening their parenting skills either before they start or early enough after they have started the journey of parenting? Guess they must have missed the memo at some some point! In this conversation, we explore the concept of when best the groundwork for quality parenting should start.
The early years of a child’s life are extremely crucial, and requires more intentional presence to get certain fundamental things right for their development. While most parents are doing pretty well with the physical upkeep and comfort of their children, there is more to parenting. You see, it is one thing for parents to be able to meet a child’s needs for clothing, food, shelter and other upkeep demands, and entirely another thing for parents to be able to provide a child the good head-start that sets them on the path of a meaningful life.
No doctor would wait until the day he/she has the first patient/client, before they start going to medical school or learning how to help people stay healthy. Unfortunately, it is only in a high stake profession like parenting, that you see people waiting till they have children before learning or developing good parenting skills; and many don’t actually care at all about strengthening their parenting skills. Parenting is too important for this type of joke.
Just like most couples would actually start planning and saving for their children’s upkeep way before they have them, it is also highly critical (of greater importance) for them to start developing themselves early enough for the real task of laying the foundation for their children to become good humans and responsible individuals in their adulthood. No doctor would wait until the day he/she has the first patient/client, before they start going to medical school or learning how to help people stay healthy. Unfortunately, it is only in a high stake profession like parenting that you see people waiting till they have children before learning or developing good parenting skills; and many don’t actually care at all about strengthening their parenting skills. Parenting is too important for this type of joke.
From what we can see around us, it does seem as if most couples only prepare to provide their children with perishable or physical childcare items, with little or no consideration for providing them a sound life foundation.
No doubt, as parents, we want the best for our children, but the best we want for them should go beyond material and perishable things; it should include a good measure of the intangible, enduring qualities that make for a solid foundation for success, meaningful contribution to society, and happiness.
The Quality of preparation matters for any thing that matters in life. And for a task as sensitive as parenting, young people should be doing more to prepare themselves for it.
That said, so when should this journey preparing for quality parenting begin? Or when does it begin? Should it start the moment parents have a child born? or should it start even before that?
It is within those processes of developing character and seeking to understand the power of parenting, that the seeds of quality parenting are sown.
Though parents can learn or get better on the job, the simple answer to the question of “when should the journey of quality parenting begin”, is that it begins or should begin before marriage. It begins at the stage of character development for individuals, and continues to the point when the individual begins to understand the essence of marriage and parenting. It is within those processes of developing character and understanding the power of parenting that the seeds of quality parenting are sown.
The truth is, many young people don’t get the memo early, hence they miss that window of this all important development. However, when people with no prior specific capacity development for parenting are already into marriage, and possibly expecting or had a child already, one thing they need to start doing is to consciously make efforts to understand and develop themselves to better carry out the responsibilities of laying solid foundation for life – which is the core duty of parenting. They should also be discussing about and understanding various parenting styles and their influence on children; they should discussing and understanding their personal values because it will become an integral part of their parenting influence. The values parents hold, will rub-off deeply on their children.
Consequently, there is therefore the need for young people to start developing capacity for quality parenting before getting into marriage, and of course when in marriage, for them to continuously improve on it. This is a major determinant of the direction and life outcome of children as they turn adults.
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