What Is Nurturing Parenting?

Last updated: 10-09-2018

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What Is Nurturing Parenting?

I have five children. Some days that really seems like a lot. OK, mostdays that seems like a lot!

In an effort to keep things remotely resembling sanity, our house tends to run on a lot of systems. Structure and simplicity are my best friends. I get really, really excited when I clean out a closet. "Less is more" is my constant mantra.

But what about my parenting? Can the same less-is-more philosophy be applied to my parenting style? Do I sometimes overdo it with the rules? Is it possible for me to step back a little and trust a little more in my children's abilities to learn life-lessons on their own?

Enter the nurturing parenting model, which stems from the 1992 book The Nurturing Parent: How to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children by John S. Dacey, PhD, and Alex J. Packer, PhD.

The book is based on a study conducted by the Boston College Graduate Program in Human Development where researchers followed parents of highly creative children to find out what parenting styles they tended to use. I found several of the core concepts to be very compelling.

Here are five things a nurturing parent believes:

Could these more hands-off parenting strategies be beneficial for children? Child-psychologist Dr. John Brentar said that when parents overstructure and overschedule children, then the child loses valuable opportunities for self-development.

"If a parent is overly focused on what they think their child needs to get ahead in the world, and they do not tune into their child's interests, then the child does not get the chance to foster an internal locus of control. An internal locus of control gives a person the feeling that they have control over life decisions and life events. It is important to promote a child's exploration of personal interests. There is plenty of research that indicates that self-initiated and self-directed free play promotes a child's emotional development as well as the development of life skills such as initiation, planning, and negotiation."

I definitely want my kids to grow up feeling like they have a say in how their life story unfolds. If I want to foster independence, I have to make sure that I am giving them plenty of opportunities to experience self-direction while they are young. Which means I need to make sure that my desire for order isn't stifling their need to explore and experience. I think I can learn a thing or two from the nurturing parenting model.

A mom who is just a little more laid-back might be just the thing my kids have been needing.


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