Do Less, To Do More: Parenting in 2023

A parent’s love is often described as one of the most profound and powerful emotions a human can experience. It’s a deep and unconditional affection that parents have for their children, and it often drives them to do whatever they can to ensure their child’s well-being and happiness. The idea of doing less to do more for a child might seem contradictory on the surface, but regarding Parenting in 2023, doing less often leads to a child who is more independent and therefore more success in live. “Doing less to do more” can be interpreted in a few different ways:

Quality over Quantity:

  • Less Money, More Creativity: Research has consistently shown that the quality of parent-child interactions is more important than the quantity of time spent together. Discoveries show that children who experienced more engaged and responsive interactions with their parents exhibited better cognitive and social development.
  • Less Social Media/Cell Phone Usage, More Conversation: The concept of “mindful parenting” emphasizes being fully present with your child during interactions. Mindful parenting has been associated with improved parent-child relationships, reduced behavior problems in children, and lower levels of parenting stress. This research highlights the importance of focusing on quality interactions with your child.

Empowerment and Independence:

  • Less Parent Responsibilities, More Kid Responsibilities: Responsibility is first learned at home. An easy way is through chores. Additionally, the struggle of completing something just a bit out of reach teaches responsibility. For example, learning how to do laundry and mistakenly shrinking clothes as a teen is painful. Another one is Putting on socks for the little ones! Research in child development supports the idea that allowing children to take on age-appropriate responsibilities and make choices can promote their autonomy and self-esteem when “it clicks”! Fostering independence in children can lead to improved decision-making skills, self-confidence, and a greater sense of responsibility.
  • Less “Saving”, More Supported Failure: Psychologist Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development shows how important allowing children to make choices- and sometimes the wrong ones-shapes a person’s self-esteem. Allowing children to make choices within appropriate boundaries helps them develop a sense of control over their lives and build a healthy self-identity.

Avoiding Overindulgence:

  • Less Stuff, More Books: Several studies have highlighted the potential negative effects of overindulgence. This can include excessive material possessions (toys and electronics) or sweets. Overindulgent parenting can lead to issues like entitlement, lack of gratitude, and poor impulse control in children. What’s worse is that many children develop serious behavioral problems due to the lack of coping skills. Specific coping skills are necessary for when they do not receive something they want. Replacing “things” with books may need some adjustment, and the wait time is painful. The result, though, is that children will have a more vivid imagination, a stronger vocabulary, and more self-confidence. It’s magical to see them identify with the characters in stories.

Self-Care for Parents:

  • Less Burnout, More Energy: Numerous studies emphasize the importance of parental self-care. Burnout from parenting in 2023 can have detrimental effects on both parents and children. Maintaining personal interests and a work-life balance, was associated with lower levels of parenting stress and increased parental well-being.
  • Less Visible Frustration, More Teachable Moments: By prioritizing self-care, parents can enhance their own emotional well-being, reduce stress, and model healthy self-care habits for their children. Children learn based on what they see and hear. They will adopt your habits!

The idea of “doing less” for a child is not contradictory but rather aligns with research-backed approaches to parenting that emphasize the importance of quality interactions, fostering independence, avoiding overindulgence, and prioritizing parental self-care. This balanced approach for Parenting in 2023 aims to create an environment where children can thrive, learn, and develop into independent individuals while benefiting from the deep and unconditional love of their parents.
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