Nurturing Children by Janet Robinson
Children are a challenge. And we as parents do not (as a rule) have training in parenting. We
have to study and write tests and get licenses for all kinds of mundane things but as far as
parenting goes, anyone can be one. This article is about nurturing. If we were to take a course
before our baby was born, nurturing would be on the top of the list. In fact, there would be no
good education on the subject that did not start with nurturing.
When we begin to notice that our children’s behaviour is troubling, the connection that should
have taken place in infancy and the nurturing that was part of it, is over. It is time to backtrack
and figure out what is going on for the child.
There are only three reasons why children behave badly. The first is that a child is born with a
neurological disorder. Those circumstances are usually known from the start and steps are
usually taken when appropriate. The second one is that a child who meets all of the milestones
as a healthy and normal child suddenly begins to show signs of brain damage and physical
The jury is still out on the autism/vaccine debate but there are many toxins in our
environment today and research into this area has been stymied. This is a subject for a future
article and it would be extensive. Nurturing is particularly on the menu for these children.
The main reason for a child’s traumatic behaviour is that his needs are not being met.
Children need healthy nutrition, exercise, security, healing, routine, social belonging, participation, appropriate stimulation, affection, attention, respect, autonomy and
information or creative expression. I call all of these needs ‘nurturing’. Bad parenting has a large spectrum. It can go from ignoring the child when he speaks to full out
child abuse. Most of us as parents are somewhere in the middle. I have two grown-up boys now and they both have insecurities and behaviours that are not completely
effective (in my opinion). So I know that there are things that I didn’t do and there were behaviours that I wasn’t consciously aware of. The time for beating myself up is
long gone. I accept all of that. And we are still talking.
In order to meet our children’s needs, we parents must be aware and intentional in our
interaction action with them. This is the most basic necessity for being a nurturing parent. By
intentional, I mean when we come home from a hard day and after we have carried our bags
and our children into the house, we don’t put our toddler in front of the tv and begin to work in
Let’s pick that little tyke up and pull in his high chair, or stand him on a kinder perch
in the kitchen and let him watch us chop vegetables and snack on them or let him help us do
something that is age appropriate for him. Include children in what it takes to make a family
work. Let’s teach them how to help so that they understand what teamwork is and they
understand that living is a family business. When we get older, we will spend less time harping
at them to clean up after themselves because it has became a habit from the start and will
probably not turn into power struggle.
Give your children the opportunity to talk to you about things that are important to them, no
matter how little it seems. It is big to them. Ask their advice on things that affect them. Allow
them to help you solve family problems and include them, participate with them, and let them
have their own opinions. The important thing is to be conscious and aware that regardless of
how stressed and busy you are, they are important and intended. Every day they need to know