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Both
parents and children influence each other. These influences may not be deliberate;
the language we use and mood we are in can affect our child without us even being
aware of it. Parents influence and child dependency will defer depending on the
quality of time they spend with the child, their parental style, parental role
and responsibilities. Mothers that stay at home may feel worn-out, while
working mothers may feel guilty for not spending enough time with their
children, both parents may not have equal parental responsibility and the child
may see’s one parent on weekends or never at all; all of these different circumstances
and our reactions to them will impact the dependency and influences parents and
children have on each other. Also the relationship between the parents will
also influence the child. An example of this is if a child hears his/her
parents frequently arguing which is often referred as ‘background anger’; that even though this is not
directed at the child, the child’s emotional development is still affected (Cummings, 1987).

 

Children
imitate and model those around them, especially their parents/caregivers, therefore
our actions as parents, our behaviours infront of them and our child’s
environment is paramount in aiding our children’s social skills, emotional
development, and behaviours not only currently but for their future as adults. Children
imitate how their parents regulate their own emotions: Therefore they learn how
to deal with their emotions by how we deal with them ourselves, being dependent
on us to model how to react to various situations, how to treat others, and even
how to care for ourselves (Sheffield Morris et.al, 2007).

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Just
as we influence our children’s behaviour they influence us in many ways. Every
parent gets angry with their child at times, this is normal, especially if dealing
with other pressures such as housework, trying to get to appointments on time, financial
worries, lack of sleep, relationship problems, ill-health etc whilst having to
attend to our child/children need’s who might be argumentative, or not doing as
they are told after you have asked them for the 3rd time. However when
we are less stress we handle parenting challenges much more positively simple
because we are coming from a place of calm. But in the heat of anger and
frustration we can feel justified to be angry and see our children’s behaviour as
a personal attack on us i.e. he is doing this on purpose etc. Its not the
actual action of the child that may be the trigger for our anger but the worry
that their behaviour could mean they will end up being a bad person and we have
failed as a mother, which brings emotions of fear, guilt, worry, and we use
anger as a defence in dealing with those unpleased feelings (Samalin, Whitney,
1992). I therefore think it is paramount that we are able to control the
expression of anger when dealing with situations with our children to minimise
negative emotional impact on them as I find that if I am angry, or if the
environment is hostile then my child is more likely to have episodes of anger.

 

When parents do not self-care it can result to reactive
parenting, with lots of yelling, due to lack of patience. As parents our behaviour,
even the tone of your voice is shaping the way our children will act for the
rest of their life; This
is why self-care for parents is very important; not only does it help us to be
calmer, happier, more positive parents it is also crucial for teaching our
children how to manage their own emotions positively and how to conduct healthy
respectful relationships with themselves and also with others.

 

To
conclude, there is a lot of pressure and social expectations on parents to be
the perfect parent with the perfect child however there is no perfect formula
and perfection does not exist. To strive to be perfect promotes
blame not only on ourself but also on our children for not being perfect: Imperfections
in everyone is human and if we want perfection for our children and for
ourselves then every blemish even those beyond our control, are magnified and this
can lead us being overly harsh on ourselves and our children (Bettelheim, 1987). However we can be good enough parents and can
help our children’s emotional development by providing a safe supportive environment,
know that our children can make mistakes just like we can, encourage children
to make decisions, allow children to learn from the consequences of their actions/inactions,
accept their feelings, and let our children do things for themselves and encourage
their independence. Parents who feel confident in their parenting rather than
striving to be perfect, will be more calm and patient and less worried, blameful,
guilty and shame ridden; which will provide a better secure relaxed environment
for their children. 

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