Child rearing happens after you have had a baby and brought it home from the hospital. For the next eighteen years, you and your partner or spouse are responsible for making the decisions on how you will raise and discipline this new, tiny and helpless baby. Think back to how your parents raised you. You’re likely to fall back on those practices.
Child Rearing Definition
According to Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, child rearing is defined as, “The process of taking care of and raising children.” When you read this term, you’ll see it in connection to the practices and styles of raising your children. Each parent raises their children differently from other parents – as long as the methods used are appropriate, loving and safe, this is good. Different cultures and countries approach raising children from different philosophies and beliefs. Some may focus on teaching children to be more independent while others tend to focus more on expressing their love for their children. As you learn to define child rearing, you’ll realize your own beliefs are affected by how you were raised.
Child Rearing Practices
Parenting practices in different regions of the world vary widely. For instance, fathers in the Congo – pygmy dads – spend a significant part of their days in child rearing activities. They hold and even nurse their babies, according to the Education website.
In Kenya, parents will strap their children on their backs. As soon as the babies show they can move on the ground, they are expected to get around on their own.
Chinese parents stop putting their babies in diapers when the babies reach 6 months of age. Instead, the babies are clothed in crotchless pants – and, in cooperation with their parents’ expectations, they learn how to control their bladders and bowels. When a baby has an accident, they are not punished.
In Japan, parents don’t intervene when their children are fighting. Instead, the parents practice what is called “mimomoru,” or watchful waiting. In this way, children learn to resolve disputes on their own.
In Australia, crawling babies are free to play on the floor unrestrained. Australian parents believe that, as babies play, they learn, according to Raising Children. As a two-year-old begins to show more independence, Australians consider this time to be, not terrible, but terrific. Parents are encouraged to give their young children quiet time if the children have given up day-time naps.
Child Rearing Styles
What is child rearing? Parenting experts break child rearing styles down into four basic categories:
º Authoritative, which means parents have high expectations for their children, yet express love and are responsive to their children.
º Authoritarian, in which children are expected to obey unquestioningly. These parents direct their children throughout the day and bring fast consequences for failure to comply, according to Global Post’s Everyday Life.
Uninvolved parents don’t express love or warmth to their child. Nor do they place any expectations on the child, who, in the most extreme cases, becomes responsible for meeting their own basic needs.
º Permissive, in which children don’t place many expectations on their children. Parents do express love and warmth toward their children, but discipline inconsistently. Children are indulged regardless of their behavior.
About Education outlines four necessary parenting dimensions:
º Warmth and nurturing.
º Disciplinary practices.
º Expectations of self-control and maturity.
Psychologist Diana Baumrind identified these parenting dimensions in 1967, developing three of the parenting styles described earlier. In 1983, Macooby and Martin recommended adding the fourth parenting style.
Child Rearing Books
Some parents may feel more comfortable learning about parenting and disciplining their child by reading books – this depends on the parents’ learning styles. These books can run the gamut, explaining how parents should communicate with their children so the children listen. Other books recommend ways of helping baby to sleep through the night. Here is a listing of child rearing books:
º Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua.
º Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
º Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman.
º The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, by Ron Lieber
º Toddlers are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault, by Bunmi Laditan.
Child Rearing Practices in Different Cultures
Different cultures raise their children according to a set of expectations. In the behavioral realm, children of white and Asian parents are expected to learn self control. Latino, American Indian and black fathers want their children to become independent, assertive and show a willingness to claim responsibility when they make mistakes.
In the realm of affection, the parents of Asian-Pacific, West African and Arabic children stop showing physical affection to their children as they become toddlers. Other cultures use bathing, hair and skin care rituals as a way of showing affection, according to Global Post’s Everyday Life.
How to Rear a Child – What is Your Parenting Style?
Now that you have a better idea of the different ways of raising a child, you need to figure out your parenting style. As you do, be aware that different parenting styles have different effects and consequences on children. If you are too strict, your children will not learn how to make decisions based on past actions. If you are too uninvolved, your children may not have a good sense of their abilities and they may not be able to control their actions, according to About Education.
Think about how your parents raised you. This is a subjective topic, so you may believe they raised you well – but if they restricted your autonomy or didn’t give you clear expectations, you’ll need to learn to raise your children differently.