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Parent's Job Description
Responsible adults step forward daily and make a lifetime commitment to children. Parenting demonstrates the faith, courage, love, and joy we give for their future. Raising children is very satisfying - most of the time. But the job of parenting involves a great deal.

Parent responsibilities include:

  • To be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through all the various stages of your child's life.
  • To provide daily physical care and nurturing.
  • To provide spiritual upbringing.
  • To act as a telephone answering service, nurse, counselor, teacher, chauffeur, travel agent, detective, judge, jury, jailer, fashion consultant, mechanic, censor, and coach.
  • To provide financial support until children can make it on their own.

Healthy Families
A central goal for parenting is to develop capable people. To do this, parents and other adults nurture and tutor a child from infancy onward. Each family has its own style, standards, and culture for doing this.

Profile of a Healthy Family Member

There is no perfect, ideal, healthy family. Healthy families come in many forms, and a family can be healthy whatever its size, number of parents, or income.

Members of a healthy family tend to:
  • Deal positively with other family members - without making them feel put down.
  • Know that saying "yes" or "no" to a request will not lead to rejection.
  • Feel that the family will remain intact.
  • Have a strong awareness of personal capabilities.
  • Know that they can express feelings of all kinds.
  • Trust and feel trusted by other family members.
  • Feel important and needed.
  • Have a relationship with each person in the family.
  • Have strong interpersonal skills.
  • Feel in reasonable control of their lives.

Children are born with the potential to be capable. Parents help them develop this potential.

Development Stages

One of the most important jobs of a family is to help its children grow and develop into health, happy, capable people. Children grow and change through several stages of development. Understanding the stages your child goes through can help you respond constructively.

The following briefly describes general aspects of child development. Do not be disturbed if your child doesn't fit neatly into the stages. Each person is different and experiences their development uniquely. Each family is different as it plays a role in the development of its children. No one knows your child as well as you, the parent. However, if you are concerned about your child's development, talk with your family doctor, school counselor, or another professional about your concerns.

Each stage builds on the previous stages.

Children in all stages need:
  • Food, clothing, shelter.
  • Security and stability in the family and community.
  • Nurturing, affection (hugs and love), and encouragement.
  • A range of learning activities.
  • Consistent limits, rules, and consequences.
  • A sense that they are valuable, contributing members of the family and community.

Infancy and preschool
Children in this stage:
  • Are growing quickly.
  • Enjoy learning.
  • Develop language.
  • Are curious and enjoy new activities.
  • Are affectionate.
  • Enjoy being with other children.
  • Don't usually play cooperatively.
  • Are physically active.
  • Have short attention spans.
  • Prefer simple explanations.

Kindergarten and early elementary
Children in this stage:
  • Identify most with their parents and family.
  • Add the school setting to their lives.
  • Learn social skills - cooperation, caring for others.
  • Sometimes worry about being alone, the dark, fantasies, etc.
  • Enjoy physical activity.
  • Can understand, appreciate, and follow rules.
  • Require support and encouragement as they undertake new tasks.

Upper Elementary
Children in this stage:
  • Relate more and more to school and community, although family influence is still strong.
  • Enjoy social aspects of school.
  • Can work and play cooperatively.
  • Appreciate praise from parents and other adults.
  • May be embarrassed by public praise or criticism.
  • Are influenced by outside role models.
  • Often do not understand how their behavior affects other people.
  • Are sensitive to failure.
  • May be critical of established routines, adults, institutions.
  • Appreciate responsibility and autonomy that is given to them.

Middle School
Children in this stage:
  • May test limits with misbehavior at home or school.
  • Are experiencing physical and hormonal changes that may make them moody, difficult, or self-conscious.
  • Can think and reason abstractly and consider many factors in a decision.
  • Are oriented more toward the present than the future.
  • Value appearance, peer group acceptance, and "grown up" behavior.
  • Can be uncomfortable about their social skills.
  • Actively seek autonomy and independence from parents.
  • Feel indestructible and may take part in dangerous challenges.

High School
Children in this stage:
  • Can consider the future as well as the present.
  • Are in a transition to the adult world.
  • Value acceptance of close friends, other peers.
  • Seek:
    • Responsibility
    • Recognition
    • Autonomy
    • Financial independence
    • Significant personal relationships
    • Individuality - A distinct identity apart from the family
  • Begin to establish a personal system of values.
  • May be very idealistic, with a strong sense of justice.
  • Challenge established systems and ways of doing things.

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