The attitude and behavior of parents have a huge impact on the happiness and development of children. Research into traits of parents points to one particular parenting quality that may be most important. Parent sensitivity has been proven to promote healthy child development for all children. Parental sensitivity helps children develop the capacity for sensitivity toward others and promotes healthy brain development of infants and toddlers.
While parental sensitivity helps raise healthy and happy children, it can also be used as part of therapeutic child rearing strategies for children at risk. For children who have suffered from attachment disorder, sensitivity is a critical part of corrective therapeutic attachment parenting. So whether children come from great homes, have suffered trauma or abuse, or sadly come from unstable or neglectful families, sensitivity may be the most important quality a parent demonstrates toward the child.
Parent experts are now incorporating the wisdom of sensitive parenting into child rearing programs. The Mayo Clinic, for example, promoted a SEEDS program to promote healthy families. The SEEDS program included Sensitive Parenting is an important quality to promote healthy families. Parents can explore their own Sensitive Parenting abilities with this Sensitivity Checklist. Remember that these are general guidelines; all parents and families will have some times when they are stressed or dealing with a crisis. Generally, however, sensitive parents are able to maintain the following ten items on the checklist on a regular and ongoing basis.
Parents who demonstrate high levels of sensitivity toward their children tend to …
1. Treat their children with integrity and respect
2. Look their children in the eye when speaking to them
3. Communicate with words, gestures, facial expressions, and hugs
4. Maintain a generally even mood and tone of voice
5. Use positive discipline and communication strategies
6. Set and maintain healthy firm boundaries and supportive limits
7. Adjust parenting to match child’s age and developmental level
8. Share rich conversation and communication
9. Cuddle and hug regularly
10. Maintain a stable, safe, and loving home environment
Did you see yourself in this list? Is this the type of parent you are to your child? Or does this list help you realize the things you want to become for your child? Working through issues in parental sensitivity may be the single most important thing a great parent can do. Incorporating strategies for sensitive parenting into a family mission statement is a wonderful way co-parents can get on the same page and establish a healthy and sensitivity family environment in which to raise emotionally stable and healthy children!
If you need support in working through your parenting style to include appropriate parental sensitivity, you are invited to register to receive Insider Update for parents below!