Is your child well-parented? I spent some time last weekend with a 9-1/2 month old child who clearly was well-parented. How do I know?
- He was happy most of the time but expressed a range of emotions.
- His body was relaxed most of the time but stiffened when his emotions dictated it.
- I watched his parents allow him some latitude in his explorations…and, yet, there were clear limits.
- He was comfortable with strangers after some initial caution.
- Both of his parents were involved in his life and they seemed to share the same basic approach to parenting.
- His parents were watchful and conscious of where he was at all times.
- He checked back with Mom and Dad from time-to-time.
- His parents at times gave up adult experiences to focus on his needs often sharing this responsibility by taking turns.
- His parents were happy and self-confident individuals who clearly love one another.
- He has an extended family and friends who support his family.
There are many possible reasons (e.g.; mismatched parent and child temperaments, health, special challenges, past experiences) that a child might not fit these characteristics through no fault of his or her parents. Yet, at the risk of over-simplifying, in my years working with young children and families, these characteristics are telling most of the time.