The science of parenting:
Parenting is one of the hardest things that people have to do. Raising children is quite the task. Everyone wants their children to be good humans and successful people. When parents have a baby they imagine all sorts of wonderful futures for their child and plan to lead them to them.
However, people often face the fact that their children are not what they think they are and some parents heavily blame themselves for their child’s failures to meet their expectations. They think that they failed as parents and their parenting is not good enough.
But the truth is far away from that. In this article, we will explore the science of parenting, all it has to say about predicting the future of your children, and why you should stop worrying about the future of your children.
The butterfly and the hurricane: The science of parenting
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about the butterfly effect, but it essentially says, that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in China might change the condition of the atmosphere just enough to cause a hurricane in the Caribbean six weeks later.
The message is quite simple, initial, small variables cause big changes in the future. Another message that we can get from this mathematical theory is unpredictability. No one would guess that a small flap of a butterfly in China would cause a hurricane in the Caribbean six weeks later, but it was the initial force that drove it
As a parent, you should see your parenting as the insignificant flap of a butterfly and your child as the force of nature which is the hurricane. The flap of a butterfly is so insignificant, but that doesn’t stop it from making big changes in the future, unpredictable and yet significant.
Child development is a complex process of various variables
Many variables play a role in child development, not only parenting. It seems that children are influenced in their development by forces that are beyond the power of parents. Forces like genetics, culture, society, and peer pressure might override the influence of parents in shaping the children’s futures.
Scientific findings show that no single variable has absolute power (all the time). Genetics for example might give your child the potential to be a great athlete (athletic body), but peer pressure and society might influence her/him to be a musician, thus not being interested in sports at all.
Children react to parenting styles differently
For example, in the same house with the same parents with the same parenting approach, children might react to it differently. Two twin sisters have almost everything in common, but when it comes to parental authority, one thinks it’s good and necessary, while the other thinks that her parents have no right to control her. The first sister usually hangs out with nerds and likes science, while the other loves to befriend open-minded people and enjoys arts more.
Therefore, using the same parenting style will not guarantee the same outcome for all of your children. Predicting how children will turn out to be in the future is virtually impossible if you see it from that perspective. Again, it’s hard to predict where a hurricane will happen just because you know where the butterfly flapped its wings.
Does your parenting style matter?
According to the science of child development, parenting styles matter and don’t matter (at the same time). The important thing to keep in mind is that you cannot predict the future of your child only based on your parenting style. Therefore, you should never blame yourself for your child’s failure. Instead, think of it more as something that your child has to deal with as a human being capable of free choice.
Parenting is a crucial part of the equation, but not sufficient to control everything.
Stressing about the future of your children is normal. Parents always want their offspring to be the best. However, over-stressing robs you from enjoying your time with your children, which is the most important thing. Try to focus more on living the moment and not worrying about the future because it’s beyond control.