Nature or Nurture – the jury is still out and probably always will be. This is because raising children is a mixture of nature and nurture which means that while there are definitely wrong ways to parent a child, there are so many right ways, depending on the child in question. As a mum of two daughters (both of who have matured into fine adults of whom I am so proud), I came to realise that I would have to do things differently with my youngest daughter as she had a completely different personality to that of her older sister.
My oldest daughter was extremely clever as a very young child, always curious and forever learning – in fact she started to read at the age of 3 without me having really taught her. She loved having stories read to her and I often found myself reading to her for several hours every day. One day, she just picked up one of her Noddy books and began to read. From that point onwards, she read avidly and was reading quite complicated novels aimed at much older children by the age of 6. This ability to read led to her educating herself about all manner of subjects she was interested in.
My youngest daughter was also very bright, but in a different way. She enjoyed imaginative play more than her sister had and was often lost in her own little world of play. Although she didn’t learn to read as early as her sister, she did demonstrate a great ability to draw so I concentrated on teaching her to draw simple shapes early on and then making sure that she had plenty of art and craft materials so that she could create the things she wanted to. This led to her being very resourceful and having a great eye for design.
If, as a parent, you always have the best for your children at heart, they will feel this and respond in a positive way. If your intent is to always love your children and support and nurture them, any mistakes you do make are unlikely to result in long term negative consequences.
If you want your children to become well-rounded adults who will make a positive contribution to the world around them, you need to set an example by being that sort of person yourself. There is no room in parenting for shouting or hitting – this is violence (verbal or physical) and all it will teach your children is how to be violent.
As parents, we need to ensure that our children’s needs are met – that they are housed, fed and clothed adequately. We need to make sure that they can make the best of their educational opportunities, supporting them as they go through their schooldays by making sure they can participate in all the activities on offer with confidence so that they learn easily. You don’t need to spend a fortune – you just need to have the right attitude.
The two most important things about parenting are: