In honor of “National Child Abuse Prevention” month I wanted to discuss some important
principles of being a nurturing parent. First off, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that parenting
is one of the most important and stressful roles a person will have in his life. That is why it is
necessary for a parent to have some firm principles in place when raising children. There are
seven principles in particular that I want to focus on: (1) Feelings of Attachment, (2) Empathy,
(3) Nurturing Oneself, (4) Discipline, (5) Expressing Feelings, (6) Expectations and Self-Worth,
(7) Gentle Touch.
1) Feelings of attachment: It is essential to create healthy bonds with your children usually
through communication and quality time. Express your love and appreciation for them on a
2) Empathy: Practicing empathy with children teaches them that their pain is important, as well
as, teaches them to have compassion for other people.
3) Nurturing Oneself: There is a false belief that a parent cannot take any time for himself or else
he is not a “good” parent. That is not true. Even though being a parent is a full-time job, it is
important for the parent to practice self-care. Just as a parent schedules football practices and
ballet lessons for his child, he benefits from scheduling time for himself.
4) Discipline: Creating boundaries, rules, and a family moral code of conduct instills a sense
of direction and belonging in a family. When discussing these rules, share with the children
the consequence that will occur if the rule is not followed. Be sure to follow through on the
consequence or else the process is futile. A key note to remember is that it is not the severity of
the consequence that makes an impact it is the certainty of the consequence.
5) Expressing Feelings: Support children in their need to express their feelings; even if the
feeling is different than your own. A good rule-of-thumb to follow is while expressing
themselves the children are not permitted to cause harm to themselves, others (such as siblings)
nor can they cause damage to property. In training your children in properly expressing
themselves, educate them on emotional competence (i.e., give them words to express
6) Expectations and Self-Worth: Setting expectations for your children sends the message that
you believe in them and have faith that they are capable of accomplishing goals. It increases
their self-worth and builds their self-esteem.
7) Gentle Touch: The physical connection between a parent and child is essential to emotional
growth and bonding experience. Giving frequent hugs and gentle squeezes is an outwardly
expression or love that provides safety and comfort to the children.
It takes time and patience when raising children. Cut yourself some slack, but remember to do
the same for your children.