There are different levels of appropriate parent involvement with children of different ages. Parent involvement is important to all stages of childhood development, but as children begin to get older, more responsible, and search for their own identity it becomes increasingly more important to know where to draw the line.
Appropriate parent involvement with early childhood aged children
The early childhood stage of life is seen from about two years of age to approximately six years of age. It is during this time that parents play a vital role in teaching and nurturing their children and preparing them to begin their formal education. It is natural that parents take an active role in the development of young children. Parents of young children can be expected to be involved in just about every aspect of their young child’s life; from fixing meals and driving them places, to teaching them letters and finding play dates. Yes, it’s safe to say that the level of involvement among parents with their young children is going to be much greater than it might be with a college student. Here are just some appropriate things that you will have to monitor and be in charge of when it comes to young children:
•Cleaning bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
•Arranging play dates with other friends
•Teaching household chores and responsibilities
•Making most if not all of the decisions for them
Appropriate parent involvement with Elementary aged children
The elementary years are between six years old and eleven years old. There is a large gap in how much parents are involved with their children and a huge difference when it comes to a six year old and an eleven year old. The amount of parent involvement will vary with each child but during these elementary years most children are looking to find independence. As a parent you will still be fairly involved with your child and their activities and involved is needed and appropriate. Elementary aged children still need a lot of direction when it comes to activities they want to do and friends they want to hang out with. Here are some appropriate things to be involved in with elementary aged children:
•Preparing meals for and with your children
•Teaching them how to clean bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
•Teaching them to sort and fold laundry and other household chores
•Helping them make good decisions in regards to friends and activities
Appropriate parent involvement with Middle and High school aged children
As children reach this stage in their life, the role and involvement as a parent changes drastically. Although you are still expected to have answers for everything and provide for physical needs, adolescents are trying to establish their own identity and you have to judge how much involvement is too much; after all you want them to become independent enough to leave home. As the paradigm shifts, you as a parent will be directly involved less, and more silently involved: still offering your expertise when seen fit or needed. It is inappropriate to think that we can treat teenagers the same way we treat our young children so here are some appropriate things parents can and should be involved in when it comes to the teenage years:
•Helping to decide which classes to take during the school year in order to maximize their chances of getting into college
•Helping with peer pressure and offering advice as to friends and choices
•Providing structure and rules to abide by to keep them safe
•Guiding and communicating wants and needs
•Teaching responsibility through service and household chores
There are different levels of appropriate parent involvement with different ages and stages in life. Finding a good balance in order to help your children develop in a healthy way is one of the hardest parts about parenting, but definitely worth the effort.