14 November 2023
Nurturance is as difficult to pronounce as it is to spell. Its meaning is actually pretty simple. It is affectionate care and attention, especially in relation to children.
When we think of child development, it is usually in terms of intellectual growth. Full potential is actually a combination of learning capabilities and emotional relationships. It has been found that a child that is emotionally mature makes better use of his or her brain than others. As he or she is comfortable, relaxed and focused, then learning becomes easier. The ability to concentrate and develop self-confidence are essential so that, as they mature, they are better able to function in society.
We have a tendency to measure intelligence by an IQ score. But there is more:
- Linguistic, both oral and written
- Logic and mathematical
- Physical (like sports)
- Interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships
This starts with bonding between parent and child. Even in infancy, a child will watch adults, especially their parents, and model behavior accordingly. Being present physically is important. A toddler will leave the room to explore but is comforted when the parent(s) are still where they were left. Trust is a basic building block for self-esteem and actualization.
Creating a loving and accepting atmosphere in the home can help the child overcome obstacles including poverty, physical limitations, learning disabilities, and others.
Equally important is the right mix of structure, order, consistency, and safety. A child that understands and realizes what is expected and acceptable in a variety of circumstances is in good shape to handle the curve balls we all experience throughout life.
Having a conversation with a child promotes many social facets that will last a lifetime. Active listening, creating questions, sharing information and ideas are all qualities that will help in classrooms, social situations, and work. Understanding that a conversation is two way where one person speaks and then allows the other to respond, is an asset. Answering questions is critical in school activities, not to mention job interviews. The parent-child bond is also strengthened which is important especially through adolescence and early adulthood.
Reading aloud even to an infant is a great source of bonding. As the child grows older, you can sit with them as they read to you. Then in the tweens and teens, it is helpful if you read some of the same books that they are, even if it isn’t a genre that you particularly enjoy. This has two benefits. It gives you a subject that you can share opinions about, like a mini book club. It will also allow you to see what your child is exploring. Trust but verify.
Children are amazing imitators. They model much of their behavior on what they see others, particularly parents and other caregivers, do. Interacting positively with others will aid in making friends and being a part of teams.
A primary goal of parenting is to prepare children to find their place in an adult world. This includes facing tension, peer pressure, educational and work difficulties, and healthy bonding. Providing a sense of self should result in a well adjusted human being that others want to associate with. It also provides a moral and ethical standard for good decision making.
In short, emotional growth is the foundation for intellectual growth and can be the basis of successful use of a child’s talents and knowledge. With successful bonding between parent and child, as well as some hard work, a child will be able to function well in a variety of situations throughout their lifetime.