The science and art of raising kids

Is raising kids a science or an art? I actually think it is a bit of both.

There certainly is some science. Here are three bits of parenting science…

Scientific fact #1
Parents – that’s us – have an impact on how children turn out. We do. If we provide a loving and safe environment for our kids, then our kids will most likely grow up to be happy and healthy. We can make a difference – in a good way.

Scientific fact #2
Child development. Children develop along a fairly predictable path – physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. Kids differ in how quickly they progress through these stages. But there are expectations we can have of a 4 year old that we can’t of a 2 year old. That’s why it helps to have some understanding of child development.

Scientific fact #3
There is a parenting approach that is best for kids. It’s not being too harsh and disciplinarian. And it’s not being too permissive and lax. It sits somewhere in between – being warm and loving and creating some boundaries for our kids. Kids thrive under these conditions.

If parenting was only about science, I think raising kids would be so much easier. We’d just follow the science and every day would run smoothly.

But it’s not easy. It’s challenging. Why? Because raising kids also involves a degree of art.

Here are three bits of parenting art…

Art fact #1
Kids have their own character, personality and preferences. And so do we. The way our characters, personalities and preferences mix creates a dynamic that can be straightforward or challenging or a bit of both! There is an art to adapting our parenting to our children’s needs and personality. There is an even bigger art to understanding how our own personality contributes to the dynamic and making adjustments when needed.

Art fact #2
When we are well rested, happy, and positive, we are much more likely to respond in a calm and loving way with our child than if we are exhausted, frustrated or anxious. Our own wellbeing has such a big impact on our parenting. There’s an art to keeping ourselves well while we also look after our kids.

Art fact #3
The touchstone for our own parenting is how we were raised. We may try and emulate our amazing upbringing or we may want to do things differently. Either way, we may not always be consciously aware of why we are doing what we’re doing. There’s an art to being a consciously aware parent.

And of course there are many other examples of the art of parenting. Lots. And lots. Don’t you think?

What other examples would you add to the list?

Jodie Purple

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Jodie Benveniste

5 Responses to “The science and art of raising kids

  • I’d agree it’s a bit of both. I like the idea of parenting as a complex problem – but only in terms of it being complex not a problem!

  • Jodie Benveniste
    4 years ago

    Graeme I love that link – by comparing raising kids to following a recipe or even launching a rocket, it’s clear that raising kids is complex. Absolutely! Thank you for sharing this!

  • I think this is a great way to present these helpful facts Jodie… it goes to show how complex parenting is! But it is very motivating to read some of these things, especially the Scientific Fact #3 because I work very hard at trying to reach this balance and it makes me feel good that it is worthwhile 🙂

    • Jodie Benveniste
      4 years ago

      Such a good point Amelia! If we know that something is worthwhile – even if it’s difficult – then we’re much more likely to make it happen.

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