Many people recognize that the world in which children are being raised today doesn’t have the same moral standards or ethical codes that once existed. These standards affect the everyday life of both children and adults. In past years, children appeared to be more satisfied with the ‘stuff’ available to them and adults had more time to spend with the little ones.
As time passes more and more families have dual incomes, children have multiple game systems, cars, televisions and computers. Parents have moved from providing emotional and mental support and stability to placing a high value on the acquisition of more ‘stuff’. This has translated to a difference in the way that children have been raised or interact with their friends.
Natural parenting is a method of removing some of those temptations and replacing them with emotional support and presence of the parent. Instead of looking for the newest fix in discipline parents who practice this method also rely on more natural consequences for the child’s behavior.
Sometimes the definition of the process is confused with parents who use natural products when they care for their children. For instance, using a doula during childbirth, co-sleeping, or organic foods at the table are lumped in with the concept of natural parenting. While all of these instances have solid evidence to back up the use they don’t necessarily define the concept of natural parenting.
What is considered normal or acceptable behavior today would have been disciplined just a decade ago. Developments in technology and health care have changed the way that we all live. And while most people would agree that these developments are for the better the question remains – are we better off with them?
As a consequence parents are turning toward behavioral and emotional parenting that was once recommended in the early 1960’s by psychologists who advocated attachment theory. And research today is backing up the notion that children who receive lots of love and attention with natural consequences for their behaviors are able to grow into adults who can relate with others and develop loving and giving relationships.
For instance, in the past decade or two modern parenting practices have come into question as the incidence of colic, reflux, rashes, diarrhea, constipation, ADHD and sleeplessness increase dramatically in number. Adults continue with problems with high blood pressure, depression, eating disorders and the inability to form strong bonds with their mate.
Parents have been told that if they respond to their infants plea for attention or affection that they would ‘spoil’ the child. Unfortunately recent research has pointed to just the opposite effect. Children whose parents respond to their cries quickly cry less as they grow older. They appear to be more self-confident and have less behavioral problems. All of these benefits from being picked up frequently before the age of 1.
Proponents of natural parenting believe that children have a place in the family but not the pinnacle of the family. They are loved, cherished but must obey their parents. The children know and understand their boundaries but parents spend hours playing with them and helping them to develop their creativity and responsibility.
The concepts of natural parenting propose that parenting is a two way street. It isn’t parents bringing down the law on the child nor the child dictating the outcome to the parents. Rather it is the parents guiding the child through the maze of becoming adult while giving them love, attention and gentle discipline.
Natural Parents Networks: What is NP?