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Essay on Parenting

This is a sample essay on Parenting:
Every parent has his own personal philosophy of child rearing. Many issues are controversial because there are supporting facts to both opinions. One major issue in today’s society is whether to breast or bottle feed an infant. Another difficult issue is how to discipline a child. Some parents believe that spanking in certain situations is acceptable, and some view it as child abuse. Many parents believe religion is an essential part of growing into a moral person, and many do not. Family meals are important to some families, and unnecessary to others. Another big controversy is placing a child in daycare. Some couples believe it is completely wrong for the mother to work outside the home. Other couples say that without two incomes, they would not make it financially.

When I have a child, I will choose to breast feed him. I think it is very important to the infant’s health. Colostrum, the fluid that comes in before the real milk, allows the baby to receive immunity to many infections, and also enables the infant to gain necessary weight faster than bottle-fed infants (Dr. Spock, 1998). In breast milk, eight percent of the cells are macrophages. Macrophages are cells that kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses (Complete Book of Breast Feeding, 1987).

Breast feeding is much easier and more convenient, because it can be done at any time of the day, without preparation. With bottle feeding, there are bottles to wash, formula to mix, refrigeration to worry about, and warming of the milk that must be done (Dr. Spock, 1998). This is all very time consuming for a new mother to deal with. Another advantage to breast feeding is the low cost factor. The mother must have a healthy eating plan, but it does not cost more for her diet than usual. Formula tends to be very expensive for new families to have to worry about.

Breast feeding satisfies the infant’s natural instinct to suck. Being at the breast allows the child to suck as long as he needs to, and this may reduce the chances of thumb-sucking later (Dr. Spock, 1998). I believe breast feeding builds a bond between the mother and infant. It allows them to feel closer together than a bottle would provide. One mother stated, “I never knew what I was missing by not nursing my first baby. I loved him and I enjoyed him, yes, but I never got so many of the little ‘extras’ that I get from this one”(Complete Book of Breast Feeding, 1987, p.18).

I think it is important to try to breast feed a baby until he is at least six months old. I think this is ample time for the bonding to occur. I will have to return to work a few months after the baby’s birth. This means that I will have to start combining breast and bottle feeding. At this time, I plan to breast feed before and after work. I will provide bottles only during the time that I am at work. I do not want to use unnecessary formula. While I am away from the baby, I would prefer to use pumped breast milk or provide apple juice. I think the decision to breast feed will contribute greatly to the continuing health of my baby. Discipline is another decision that must be made when raising a child.

I believe spanking, with limitations, is necessary in disciplining a child. Discipline means to teach, not to punish. I know that some parents cannot discriminate the difference between beating a child and lovingly correcting a child. For that reason, I believe some parents should not spank their children. A regular beating, by a parent that is rejecting, causes the child to become depressed, easily frustrated, or aggressive (To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994). I do not believe that a child should ever be abused, but I think it is ridiculous to consider all spanking child abuse.

In some cases, a light tap on the bottom is necessary. “In order for spankings to be effective, a child must be capable of understanding what it is the parents are trying to communicate with the spanking and the reprimand that follows” (To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994, p.74). Typically, children who are not spanked seem to be more rebellious. This could be a result of no consequences after disobedience. Children who are spanked by loving parents tend to appreciate that they were spanked (To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994). Spanking can accomplish the immediate task of stopping the misbehavior and gaining the child’s attention (To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994). A child that is loved will not resent a well deserved spanking, but a child that is unloved or ignored will hate all types of discipline (To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994).

I do not think it is necessary to spank in every circumstance. I believe other means of discipline are necessary in many instances. The more a child is spanked, the less the spanking will mean ( To Spank Or Not To Spank, 1994). Time outs or reduced privileges can be very effective in some situations. I know that when I was a child, it upset me considerably to be put on restriction or have more chores for that week. Being disciplined taught me to not repeat misbehavior. I also think religion was a contributing part of my learning to not misbehave.

I think religion is an important part of a child’s nurturing. I plan to raise my child in a Baptist church. Religion will particularly impact my child’s life because my husband plans to become a pastor. I believe raising my child in a loving, Christian environment will empower him to become a better person. We can teach him morals and values that he might not receive otherwise. The Holy Bible states “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, New International Version). One very important aspect of religion that I want my child to gain, is to help the less fortunate. This will allow my child to realize how blessed he is, and how insignificant material possessions really are. If he were to simply watch television, he would be told that material possessions are all that make a person valuable. I do not want my child to think that is what makes a person good. I think parents should be responsible for their child’s moral lessons. If a child must be put in a daycare, then the daycare’s morals should be taken into consideration.

I believe that daycare is necessary for working parents who have no other option. I know that many parents believe that daycare is harmful to children, and that another family member should watch the child instead. In most cases, a grandparent or other family member is not available because of work or health. I would like to stay at home with my child for the first few months. I believe this is crucial in the bonding of the parent and child. I will eventually have to attend work again. When I return to work, I will have to place my child in daycare. Studies show that infants placed in daycare the first four months of life, have an interruption in the process of attachment between the mother and child. This is the time that experts refer to as “falling in love” between the mother and child; they learn to read each other’s expressions and signals (Personal Time, 1999). I think it is important, when choosing a care giver, to find one that will keep the parents informed about their child’s life. After the child is picked up from daycare, family time should be spent around the table. I believe this helps the child to adjust to the time spent away from the parents.

I believe that it is very important to have regular family meals. It is a relaxing time, when everyone can share the experiences of their day. It allows the family to communicate, which is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with every family member. Growing up, my family had meals together and I enjoyed it. As I have grown older, we do not eat together as frequently, but we try to get together every Friday. I always enjoy this time to share my experiences of the week and to hear everyone else’s experiences. I believe that it draws the family closer. When I have children, I hope to continue the tradition of family meals. Robert Billingham, Ph.D., believes sitting down together for a meal is the most important activity a family can do (In Praise of Family Meals, n.d.). When eating together, family members must focus on each other because there are no other distractions (In Praise of Family Meals, n.d.). A professor of family and consumer sciences at California State University, James Koval, Ph.D., says that all families do have conflict, but it provides the child with comfort to know they can all come together at a meal (In Praise of Family Meals, n.d.). I believe education is one of the most important issues for a parent to decide.

I will place my child in public school. I think that public schools offer many things that private or home schools cannot. I think it exposes students to many different views. In a private school, everyone is dressed the same and worships the same God. I do not believe that teaches a child to be open-minded to others’ views. I believe it is important to learn spiritual teachings, but I also believe it is important to learn free interpretation. Being in college, I have noticed that many students from private schools think their view is always the “right” view. I think home schooling is harmful too, because they do not learn how to socially interact with others. In public schools, there are kids from all different types of social, political, and religious backgrounds (Public Schools, 1997). This teaches a child to compromise with others. I believe public schools create a more well-rounded individual.

My personal philosophy of child rearing includes a Christian influence within the home. I believe that it is very important to make God the center of the family. My goal is to rear my children in the will of God. I want to make all of my parenting decisions based on the best outcome for my child. I hope that is every parent’s desire. Since I do not currently have children, my views on some issues may change in the future. Many parents would disagree with some or all of my opinions, but our unique upbringing is what makes us the individuals we are.

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Apr 29, 2010