Mastering 15 roles that encourage involved parenting
By Victorine Mbong Shu
The thought of general concerns on parenting with regard to the role that parents actually play in their children’s lives became so overbearing that I decided to type in ‘Parents’ Concerns’ on my search engine. I got 426 000 000 results in 0,49 seconds.
The top 5 common worries parents have about their children are:
- the child’s future
- the child’s self-esteem
- the child being labelled
- the child’s performance in school
- the parent’s ability to help their child
The knowledge is amazing I thought, but so too is knowing the role that parents have to play for these children to attain their top five needs. I would not let this fantastic moment go in vain. Let me use it to share the following roles that involved parents will need to juggle with their personal and family values as they raise their children.
As important as all these roles are, involved parents have to apply them as circumstance and culture allow.
These roles are:
- An involved parent is a coach and primary teacher that children acquire from birth. They are their natural responsibility and need to develop their children to succeed while still young and as adults.
- An involved parent is a facilitator who navigates systems and processes. This is to make life easier for the growing child and those around them in a bid to help the child flourish.
- An involved parent is a strategist whose job is to think purposefully for their child’s today. This parent keeps a big picture in mind as the child grows. They plan what directions and approaches their child should take until the child can think for themselves.
- An involved parent is a visionary who has a picture of where their children should head to, even though they themselves never had a chance to travel that route.
- An involved parent is a change agent, a trusted and ever-present human who helps the child out in times of social, mental, physical, financial, educational, career, relationship and many other changes even at the expense of theirs.
- An involved parent is a surveyor who monitors the environment their child lives in and make it thrive. When the environment is not suitable, they either make changes, or move environment.
- An involved parent is a repairer who works to fix things with or without time, resources and/or knowledge. They make sure that their children do not miss out on key opportunities.
- An involved parent is a tour guide bent on diligently helping their child discover the world by taking them around from visiting families, going on trips, watching movies, going shopping, etc.
- An involved parent is a model person in their values which they make great efforts to impart to their children and other children around them.
- An involved parent is a broker as they focus on teaching their children to stand up for themselves. In a home with great values, children stand their ground with respect and try to overcome challenges without depending on their parents.
- An involved parent is a decision-maker who engages the child and offers them feedback no matter how hard the choices are. They do so with discipline too.
- An involved parent is an influencer. They always try their best to influence their children in positive ways, despite external pressure.
- An involved parent is a teammate in their family and they play with other adults, be it their spouse, teachers or other caregivers, and their children’s team. They are aware that they cannot always take the lead. They let their partner, and often their children, lead.
- An involved parent is a delegator who acknowledges that apart from being a team player, they can’t do it all. They delegate to their children and others both willingly and tactically. As such, they get everything done and train their children on deserving, age-appropriate and enhancing roles at home and outside the house.
- An involved parent is a listener who encourages their children as much as their partner to talk. They have learnt to talk less. They ask, listen, observe, applaud, comment and more.
Involved parents make tough decisions that are not popular in and out of their house
They should have children who are unhappy with them more often than they are happy. This especially for older children. These parents do not have to always give explanations or apologise.
A great role of an involved parent is to teach their child to function independently without help in or out of the house.
Teach them age appropriately and remember that they have to emotionally soothe themselves and cope with bullying, drugs, dating, being dumped, as well as handling getting lost.
An involved parent must hold their child accountable for their behaviours, actions or lack of. They must enjoy the journey, whether it is rough or smooth for them, their child or both them and their child.
Most parents think that it is their responsibility to always make sure their children are happy
Because of this thought, they find themselves caught in the battle to search and, in most cases, buy happiness for their children.
It is important that we refresh and in fact learn the role we play in our children’s life and describe them step by step. Unfortunately, no one teaches us how to be a parent. That aside, a good parent is one who does their best within their unique circumstance.
Involved parents do not spend their time comparing themselves with others
They do not copy others. They are aware that seeking advice or learning from others is not a bad thing. They know that what is incorrect is that while they follow other people’s styles and advice, they easily discard their own ways. As such, they either confuse their children or bring them up in values that are not theirs.
Involved parents are aware that the worst thing they could do is to control their child
They know that children have their own brains and their own lives. What involved parents do is guide them through not dictate to them. These parents believe that most children who were controlled are rebellious as adults.
In the article titled, Whose chore is it anyway? I detailed the downsides of children who have been trained to do nothing for and by themselves. Are you that parent who does for their child what they can do for themselves? Not just chores, but; homework, tests, exams, choosing friends, job interviews and even work tasks?
Are you the super parent who ‘knows it all’? Well, perfection and involved parenting do not go hand in hand. You will have to let go of certain faults in order to be there for yourself and your family.
Involved or not, parents are the closest and most trusted person that a child acquires in their life. Many parents take advantage of this role and introduce their children to good values at a very young age.
As the family’s psychologist, the involved parent is their children’s voice, and this voice goes with the children as they grow and evolve. The voice becomes their children’s inner voice or GPS for life. Parents should note that even though this GPS can recalculate or even run out of battery, an involved parent may not be able to change destinations. Be involved anyway.
Victorine Mbong Shu has been in education and training since 2002. She is the CEO of Profounder Intelligence Management Services, a Peak Performance Authority Coach, Editor, Publisher, Researcher, Transformational Speaker, Material Developer, Facilitator, Assessor and Moderator. She is the Co-owner of Profound Conference Centre in Bramley-JHB. Victorine and Dr. Fru are raising 4 bubbly children, including Child Prodigy, Africa’s youngest international multiple award-winning bestselling author of chapter books, 13-year-old Stacey Fru. A PhD fellow in Communications herself, Victorine is a respectable Involved Parenting Conversationalist. She is a BrandSA Ambassador and Awards Winning Author of the following books:
· ‘Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting, 2016’
· ‘Trapped in our shadows, 2017’
· ‘Proven habits for financial freedom, 2018’
· ‘S’EX, 2018’
· ‘Not too late: Bring Back Involved Parenting, 2020’
Follow her on all social media by searching @Mbongshu or www.mbongshu.co.za