mother and child

Why is parental guidance important?

Every student has unlimited potential. But there are contributing factors that can affect whether they eventually live up to that potential. Experts believe that a parent’s role in a child’s life has a far-reaching impact. Parental involvement is extremely important for a child to do well in school.

Some parents may think that it is the teachers’ role to teach, not theirs. But such a belief does both the parents and the children a disservice. Children don’t start and stop learning only during the school day. They are always attuned to learning, at home, with friends, and through other influences.

Parents have a primary role in modelling effective attitudes and behaviours and in directing their children toward structured, healthy activities. One of the most important ways a parent guides a child’s path is by providing the child with attention and making the child feel important and valued.

Children do not have the experience, development or resources to make important decisions at an early age. Parents bear the responsibility of encouraging education and extracurricular activities, which contribute to mental, emotional and psychological development. Parents also guide children away from danger, too much television, sedentary living and foods that are too unhealthy.

Your teenager craves independence. She wants to seek out activities that interest her, establish relationships with peers who she connects with and choose a personal style that represents her. While you should see your teen enjoy some independence as she matures, she also needs parental guidance. Guidance is particularly important now, as your teen faces serious choices that can impact her health, well-being and future. Understand the advantages of parental guidance for teens, and continue to be a supportive parent for your maturing child.

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Importance of Parental Guidance

It is through constant parental guidance that one’s life is shaped and it also defines what one is about to become. The guidance could be of any form. Parental guidance could be through constant advice and instructions or by setting themselves as an example for the children. Either way, the child’s thoughts and understanding of the world is altered. The degree to which the parents do the same also matters, and the characteristics are seen in the children as a result of this guidance also varies from one child to another with variation in the degree. To set in the right track, one child may need constant guidance while another may get affected because of constant intervention. However, no guidance from the parents would mean a lost child in the city (not a city, but amidst the hustle and bustle of life events). With parenting, rights come responsibilities. Responsibly nurturing and caring for the child has a massive impact on the child’s growth and development as well as their performance. Instilling the values of the family and sharing the practices of religious beliefs with their children and monitoring the child’s activities and behaviours, while encouraging age-appropriate autonomy are key aspects to this guidance. Parents have got to be cautious about how they balance their authority and protect the child’s rights at the same time. Along with all of this, the role of the parents is also to impart the fundamental rights onto the children just so that they can face the world boldly.

mother and children

Answering Questions

As your teen achieves more independence, he faces a world filled with challenges, issues and situations that might confuse him. Parents of teens can serve as knowledgeable sources of information, helping to answer questions that teens have about life, school or relationships. Thus, parental guidance creates a less intimidating, less confusing world for your teen, as you are able to answer his questions.

Making Smart Choices

Parents can also help guide their teen to make smart choices. More than ever, your teen will face many important decisions. Peer pressure might tempt your teen to try alcohol, sneak out of the house or engage in risky sexual behaviour. As teens progress to their senior year of high school, they have to make decisions about their future, whether they are going to college, travelling or starting full-time work. Even more, teens face evolving relationships as they mature, including romantic relationships, which present new challenges. Your teen can make smart choices about his health, education and relationships with your help.

Feeling Supported

Your guidance helps your teen feel supported and secure in himself and his home environment. Make this support clear by showing interest in your teen’s life. Listen to what your teen says, and ask questions—Check-in daily about your teen’s feelings, concerns, schoolwork and friendships. By establishing open lines of communication, your teen will feel supported and, as a result, be more likely to approach you with questions or for advice.

Respecting Boundaries

Throughout your teen’s childhood, she has had to follow the rules that you have established. During the teen years, you have to strike the right balance between giving your teen some independence and continuing to establish boundaries that keep your teen safe. Thus, parental guidance at this age continues to teach your teen the importance of respecting boundaries. Talk to your teen about house rules — curfews and chores, for example — and ask for her input. By working with her to establish fair and clearly understood rules, you guide your teen while respecting her growing independence.

Keeping us safe

Our parents’ guidance helps us to stay safe. One example is when our parents teach us not to go out alone at night when we are young.

Educating us

Under our parents’ guidance, we learn many things, including literacy skills and counting. Even if our parents do not attend home school, as we get older, they continue to guide our education. One example of how they do this is by encouraging us to do our homework when we get home from school.

Advice

Our parents can also provide emotional guidance and support when we are dealing with some difficult issues. For example, if we have argued with a friend, our parents should be there to listen to our troubles if we want to talk them through and to provide us with advice if we need it.

Moral guidance

Part of the guidance that our parents provide is moral guidance – teaching us right from wrong. Parents should empower us to feel like we always know what the right thing is and that we have the motivation and confidence to do it. This is something that is best for us to learn from an early age – that way, it becomes an ingrained habit, and we find it easier to be morally upright as adults.

Financial help

Some of the guidance that our parents provide can be material as well as emotional. They can help us talk through our financial decisions and also provide us with the resources that we need to fulfil certain of our goals – for instance, putting down a deposit on a new house.

Guidance within society.

Our parents can teach us to be responsible citizens by teaching us about social virtues such as politeness, altruism and honesty. They can also teach us civic virtues like recycling, obeying the law, and the importance of paying taxes.

Practical guidance.

Our parents can also guide us with practical things. For example, they can teach us skills like cooking, making a cup of tea, paying a bill online or tying our shoelaces. Children should never be afraid to ask their parents for help with anything – no issue should be too big or too small.

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Scientific Findings on the Importance of Parental Guidance

Scientific findings say that children and adolescents have immature brain development, indicating a need for strong parental guidance in decision making. It also says that children are less involved in high-risk behaviours when they are well connected with the parents, and the parents play a significant role in constantly guiding their children. With this responsibility, it is not just the children benefiting from nurturing, attention and care, and there are also changes seen in the caregivers. They grow and develop hand in hand.

Role of Society in Parental Guidance

The society that the child belongs to must be aware of the role of parents in the child’s upbringing and avoid intervention into this matter unless the case is severe. Parental rights are fundamental and must be protected. Lack of which will lead to the inability of parents to determine what is best for their children.

Providing Necessary Guidance

It is important for parents to be the steering wheel on the vehicle of learning, providing guidance and information along the entire journey, so that their children stay on course and are not distracted or dissuaded from reaching their academic potential.

The importance of parental involvement has been well documented for some time. Studies continue to indicate that a parent’s role in children’s learning is critical to their academic achievement.

Many of the studies further show that the most important time to get involved is when children are at the elementary level of schooling. These early years provide parents with the most opportune time to explore the world with their children through a variety of fun and helpful learning activities. Exploring nature, reading books together, teaching children basic tasks such as gardening, cooking, building, and so on, are all meaningful activities that reinforce children’s desire to continue to learn new things.

As children get older, parents should continue to be involved in their kids’ schoolwork and ensure that they are engaged in their education.

Benefits of Parental Involvement

There are many benefits that come from early parental involvement in a child’s learning behaviour. These include the following:

  • Parents and children enjoy a deeper interaction
  • Children who received schooling at home tend to do better on standardized tests
  • Children show improved self-esteem and self-worth, improved confidence and better behaviour
  • Children complete homework more easily and consistently
  • Children receive better grades on tests and attendance
  • Parents are more aware of what their children are learning and can pinpoint key areas or subjects that the children may need additional help in

A Parent’s Role in Education

Part of being involved in your children’s lives includes ensuring they are engaged and challenged in their educational environment, as well as supporting their learning along the way. Look for more ways you can be involved in your child’s education, including reading to the younger children, helping them with their homework, and looking for ways to learn outside of the school day.

Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help you feel more fulfilled as a parent.

Boosting Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents’ eyes. Your kids absorb your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.

Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavourably with another will make kids feel worthless.

Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!” cause damage just as physical blows do.

Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don’t love their behaviour.

Catch Kids Being Good

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well-intentioned?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: “You made your bed without being asked — that’s terrific!” or “I was watching you play with your sister, and you were very patient.” These statements will do more to encourage good behaviour over the long run than repeated scoldings.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are “growing” more of the behaviour you would like to see.

Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline

Discipline is necessary for every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviours and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed.

You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is a failure to follow through with the consequences. You can’t discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

Make Time for Your Kids

It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they’re sure to be noticed that way.

Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a “special night” each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a note or something special in your kid’s lunchbox.

Adolescents seem to need less undivided attention from their parents than younger kids. Because there are fewer windows of opportunity for parents and teens to get together, parents should do their best to be available when their teen does express a desire to talk or participate in family activities. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicate caring and let you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways.

Don’t feel guilty if you’re a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember.

Be a Good Role Model

Young kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: Is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be aware that you’re your kids are constantly watching you. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.

Model the traits you wish to see in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behaviour. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.

Make Communication a Priority

You can’t expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, “say so.” They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. If we don’t take time to explain, kids will begin to wonder about our values and motives and whether they have any basis. Parents who reason with their kids allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way.

Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child’s suggestions as well. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.

Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style

If you often feel “let down” by your child’s behaviour, perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Parents who think in “shoulds” (for example, “My kid should be potty-trained by now”) might find it helpful to read up on the matter or to talk to other parents or child development specialists.

Kids’ environments have an effect on their behaviour, so you might be able to change that behaviour by changing the environment. If you find yourself constantly saying “no” to your 2-year-old, look for ways to alter your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits. This will cause less frustration for both of you.

As your child changes, you’ll gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won’t work as well in a year or two.

Teens tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. But continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to earn more independence. And seize every available moment to make a connection!

Show That Your Love Is Unconditional

As a parent, you’re responsible for correcting and guiding your kids. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child receives it.

When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.

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Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent

Face it — you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — “I am loving and dedicated.” Vow to work on your weaknesses — “I need to be more consistent with discipline.” Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. You don’t have to have all the answers — be forgiving of yourself.

And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you’re burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy as a person (or as a couple).

Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.

From all the points stated above, one can draw that different parenting forms exist, and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages. Different parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved parenting. The degree of direct parental involvement decreases as one moves from authoritarian to uninvolved parenting, in the same order. Therefore, parental guidance is a strong pillar that must be set in every child’s upbringing.

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