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The Influence of Different Styles of Parenting on the Formation of a Person’s Personality at Different Ages

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Childhood social and personality development emerges through the interaction of social influences, biological maturation, and the child’s representations of the social world and the self. This interaction is illustrated in a discussion of the influence of significant relationships, the development of social understanding, the growth of personality, and the development of social and emotional competence in childhood.

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To determine the salient features of core parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices, the committee first identified desired outcomes for children. Identifying these outcomes grounds the discussion of core parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices and helps researchers, practitioners, and policy makers establish priorities for investment, develop policies that provide optimal conditions for success, advocate for the adoption and implementation of appropriate evidence-based interventions, and utilize data to assess and improve the effectiveness of specific policies and programs. Parents are among the most important people in the lives of young children. From birth, children are learning and rely on mothers and fathers, as well as other caregivers acting in the parenting role, to protect and care for them and to chart a trajectory that promotes their overall well-being. While parents generally are filled with anticipation about their children’s unfolding personalities, many also lack knowledge about how best to provide for them. Becoming a parent is usually a welcomed event, but in some cases, parents’ lives are fraught with problems and uncertainty regarding their ability to ensure their child’s physical, emotional, or economic well-being. At the same time, this study was fundamentally informed by recognition that the task of ensuring children’s healthy development does not rest solely with parents or families. It lies as well with governments and organizations at the local/community, state, and national levels that provide programs and services to support parents and families. Society benefits socially and economically from providing current and future generations of parents with the support they need to raise healthy and thriving children. In short, when parents and other caregivers are able to support young children, children’s lives are enriched, and society is advantaged by their contributions. To ensure positive experiences for their children, parents draw on the resources of which they are aware or that are at their immediate disposal. They may be too expensive to access, or they may be substantively inadequate. Whether located in early childhood programs, school-based classrooms, well-child clinics, or family networks, support for parents of young children is critical to enhancing healthy early childhood experiences, promoting positive outcomes for children, and helping parents build strong relationships with their children.

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Child outcomes are interconnected within and across diverse domains of development. They result from and are enhanced by early positive and supportive interactions with parents and other caregivers. These early interactions can have a long-lasting ripple effect on development across the life course, whereby the function of one domain of development influences another domain over time. In the words of Masten and Cicchetti (2010, p. 492), “effectiveness in one domain of competence in one period of life becomes the scaffold on which later competence in newly emerging domains develops . . . competence begets competence.” From the literature, the committee identified the following four outcomes as fundamental to children's well-being. While the committee focused on young children (ages 0-8), these outcomes are important for children of all ages.Cognitive competence encompasses the skills and capacities needed at each age and stage of development to succeed in school and in the world at large. Children's cognitive competence is defined by skills in language and communication, as well as reading, writing, mathematics, and problem solving. Children benefit from stimulating, challenging, and supportive environments in which to develop these skills, which serve as a foundation for healthy self-regulatory practices and modes of persistence required for academic success (Gottfried, 2013).

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Generally speaking, Bugental and her colleagues have administered a cognitive retraining intervention program for parents which aims to alter such biases. They found that mothers who participated in the program showed improvement in parenting cognitions, diminished levels of harsh parenting, and greater emotional availability. In turn, children, two years after their mothers participated in the program, displayed lower levels of aggressive behaviour as well as better cognitive skills than those whose mothers had not undergone such cognitive retraining. These findings, then, clearly underline the important role played by parental beliefs in the child-rearing process.

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Gottfried AW. Home Environment and Early Cognitive Development: Longitudinal Research. London, UK: Academic Press; 2013.

Masten AS, Cicchetti D. Developmental cascades. Development and Psychopathology. 2010;22(3):491–495.

Horta BL, Victora CG. Long-Term Effects of Breastfeeding: A Systematic Review. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2013.

Hirsh-Pasek K, Adamson LB, Bakeman R, Owen MT, Golinkoff RM, Pace A, Yust PK, Suma K. The contribution of early communication quality to low-income children's language success. Psychological Science. 2015;26(7):1071–1083.

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The Influence of Different Styles of Parenting on the Formation of a Person’s Personality at Different Ages
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