The job description of a parent

Joanne Te Paiho, April 2012

Tena Koutou. Following on from my last column around what a parent's job description may look like, I want to spend some time today, looking more closely at this.

We know that having a baby and becoming a parent doesn't come with a handbook and that most of our journey in this role is very much around learning as we go. But is this okay?? Does everyone learn as they go and are our children getting the best care that our parents out there can provide? Are our parents armed with the knowledge and tools they need to raise healthy well-adjusted adults and keep them safe as they do this.

Let's have a look at some of what might appear on this job description for Parents, to reflect upon how well prepared you may be for one of the most important roles you will play in your life.

  1. Do you have the ability to express unconditional love, nurturing and acceptance to your young person?
  2. Do you understand the importance of your child having a secure attachment to you?
  3. Do you know what a secure attachment is and why it is so important to the healthy growth and development of your little person?
  4. Are you able to maintain a safe environment at all times for your young person?
  5. Be reliable and committed to your young person, and their every need?
  6. Understand all the developmental stages that your child may be going through, to enable you to parent appropriately to the age/stage of your child?
  7. Do you have a wide understanding of how your own childhood impacts on your role as a parent?
  8. Are you able to remain in your wise adult most of the time?
  9. Are you able to meet your own needs to enable you to meet the needs of your young people and not vice versa?
  10. Do you have a broad understanding of what is expected of you as a parent?

There are so many more requirements, if you like, that we could add to this list but in short, I guess what this is telling us is, do you have your own stuff sorted, to enable you to put another human being before yourself. This is fundamentally what it's all about. Being solely committed to the little people that you brought into this world, is essential. The word parent is a doing word, not a noun, there is participation involved as well as a heart for this role. Being a parent isn't just about being in the same space as your child, and murmuring a few words here and there, it's about being present, actively involved, and connected.

If you felt challenged and unable to answer positively to the questions above, then perhaps there is room to begin doing some work around this area. If you feel that we could help support you to grow and strengthen in this role in yourself, contact us here at Parentline Manawatu on 06 355 1655.

Nga Mihi Kia Koutou.