Can parenting skills be taught or are they innate?

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1 December
11:01
December
2016

There’s research that shows the only real instincts that we have as parents are protection and nurturing. All the other skills are actually learnt or passed down through generations. 

As parents we then decide whether we want to do things the same way our parents did or whether we want to approach things differently. Some people think ‘well I turned out okay’, and repeat it. While others reject what their parents did either consciously or subconsciously and end up doing the opposite. A common problem with this approach is that parents often can become polarised in their methods going too far to one extreme or another – being too lenient or too authoritarian for example. 

"As parents we then decide whether we want to do things the same way our parents did or whether we want to approach things differently. Some people think ‘well I turned out okay’, and repeat it."

The same thing happens in relationships where because one parent is more risk-taking, the other one ends up adopting a more nurturing or protective role by default. This is known as compensation strategy. As soon as one parent behaves more protectively, the other of parent unconsciously starts doing the opposite. This sometimes means parents end up taking on roles they did not really want such as being known as the ‘strict one’ or the ‘soft touch’. 

"There are definitely certain types of characters who are who are better pre-disposed to being a parent than others."

In some ways, without undermining single parents who do an incredibly difficult job, it’s often easier to parent when there’s only one of you because there’s only one clear voice and therefore nobody to undermine your parenting methods. What is innate is each individual’s character traits. 

There are definitely certain types of characters who are who are better pre-disposed to being a parent than others. For example someone who is naturally more empathetic, more compassionate, doesn’t get angry easily and is more patient and calm is likely to be a better parent. But that doesn’t mean those of us born without these traits (myself included) cannot learn them and become better parents too. There are methods and strategies you can adopt to make your job as parent more effective.

You can access further information and advice from Navid Saad at www.bestofparenting.com. To buy The Working Parents' Guide at Amazon click here


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