Parenting is a ‘science’.

Try searching and finding the resources that work for your child rather than relying on what others say and the hype on social media

Before I had children, I didn’t realize parenting was a science. I thought that all children develop the same way once they come into the world, and I didn’t know there might be some variables. I had been in business for a long time, so like many courier women, I did not have a specific idea about parenting nor thought there might be some scientific discipline to parenting. So, I hired an experienced babysitter and left my child with her. But it didn’t take long for me to get into a deep sink with frustration because I realized that my child was going down a different path, and it certainly wasn’t the typical situation I had seen in the magazine. I panicked and didn’t have answers from the babysitter I was relying on, so I started digging around. 

There was ‘science’ – a wide range of scientific research I had never imagined, including many new studies and applying scientific principles to support parenting.  There was a wide range of studies in psychology, sociology, neuroscience, developmental science, education, and many other fields related to parenting and theories about how specific approaches affect children. I regretted my ignorance and complacency and started to investigate and research.

I came across various theories, such as Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development, Piaget’s cognitive development theory, and Bowlby’s attachment theory. However, I still had questions about how these foundational theories should be applied and practiced in the 21st century. Parenting, like any science, is constantly evolving.  These fundamental theories taught in school were not enough for me, so I started looking for new approaches and views in the United States and Europe to investigate new research findings and discoveries related to child development and psychology. 

To effectively help a child develop, strategies must be constantly adjusted and improved because everyone is different and has diverse environments and support systems. I realized that parenting requires knowledge and expertise from various fields. Research in biology and neuroscience has been beneficial. Understanding brain development helped me understand the overall schema of development. Understanding biology helped me understand the biological factors that influence growth, such as the immune system and genetic factors. There were many things about my child’s development that introductory psychology did not explain, and there were many state-of-the-art things I could do for my child. 

I get information every day for my children to support their development and now I have a new career in Early Child Intervention to help children with developmental challenge.

I would say to all parents. Parenting is strictly a scientific discipline. It requires constant observation, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting, drawing conclusions, and practicing and reflection. It is not something you can just copy, memorize, or makeup at will.

The lack of a scientific foundation forces parents to rely more on traditional and cultural norms, personal beliefs, or anecdotal experiences, which can have potentially adverse consequences for parents and children. Using parenting strategies that have no scientific basis or are outdated may not match a child’s needs, temperament, or stage of development, and the lack of a scientific approach will lead to inconsistent parenting practices. This can lead to behavioral problems and emotional difficulties in children. Their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development can be negatively affected, and they may struggle with learning, behavior, relationships, and self-esteem.

A scientific understanding of child development enables parents to tailor their approach to the child’s developmental stage. In addition, when faced with a challenge, parents will be more likely to find appropriate solutions and support. Conversely, parents without a scientific basis will have difficulty finding these solutions and may be frustrated and stressed, leading to low efficacy. 

To promote healthy and effective parenting, it is essential to incorporate evidence-based practices and knowledge from child development, psychology, and related fields. This approach will provide parents with insights and tools to better understand their child’s needs, behaviors, and growth, ultimately helping them to support their child’s development more effectively than anyone else. 

We encourage you to try searching and finding the resources that work for your child rather than relying on what others say and the hype on social media.

  • Director of Korea Floortime Center Kwon, Hyun Jeong

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