From Dr. Jane's Notebook

The Changing Nature of Parent-Child Relationships

The fine art of parenting requires that we play many roles in the lives of our children. As parents, we are called upon to be responsible, set limits, give good advice, and be sensitive to the needs of our children. However, because children are in a continuous state of growth and change, long-term success as a parent requires that parents also undergo a process of continuous learning and change so that our parental skills do not become obsolete.

I learned a great deal about the fine art of parenting when my kids were small and it was time to teach them to swim. Three years apart in age, they were taught to swim according to two very different schools of thought. My daughter was part of a brief trend that taught parents to submerge their children under water, and then convince the child that this was fun. As a result, it took four years for my daughter to overcome her fear of drowning. My son, however, was taught according to a method which encouraged him first to get comfortable in the water, and then to get comfortable under the water, at his own pace. As a result, he never felt forced and was never encumbered by fear when swimming.

As parents, it is our responsibility to see that our children have a variety of learning experiences. Some will be easy; others will be quite difficult. Parents can best help their children by simply standing behind them. We can’t live their lives for them, but we can watch our children from the side lines. Most importantly, our children need to know that we are cheering for, and not against them.

ęCopyright, 2000, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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