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FunTimes Magazine

The 4 Stages of Parenting: The Building Block to A Magnificent Edifice

Sep 28, 2023 10:00PM ● By Okechukwu Nzeribe

Photo by nappy

Parenting is both an exciting and exhausting journey. From the moment the news of conception is revealed to every couple, there is a sudden seismic shift in emotions, expectations, and plans that ultimately are directed towards the development and progress of the new addition to the family.

It becomes an extraordinary journey filled with challenges, love, and personal development both for the parents and child as well as an appreciation for the beauty of life.

As parents, it is our responsibility to present a well-developed human being whose understanding of the values, culture, and norms of society would ensure that he or she becomes a productive member.

Parenting can be likened to the process of erecting a building. Materials needed to guarantee a solid have to be in place to ensure that the structure is both solid and long-lasting. So parents must have a vision of the kind of child they are looking to raise and start to bring to bear the manifestation of that vision.

To navigate these building processes, one must appreciate the 4 stages of parenting and how to effectively apply them to the life of your children to ensure they not only fit into society but also contribute towards its advancement.

Stage 1: Laying the Foundation (Ages 1 – 5)

This is the preparatory stage where the ground is dug and the foundation laid. Every emotional, psychological, and physical guidance the child needs should be provided during this stage. As the child’s primary caregiver, it is imperative during this stage to make full and committed parenting to establish a secure attachment with our child. Meeting their basic needs which include feeding, clothing, and ensuring their safety is critical as this strengthens the foundation and solidifies their future relationships and emotional well-being.

Photo by Kampus Production

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Stage 2: Raising the Pillars (Ages 5-12)

Right or Wrong are clearly defined during this stage. 

Due to the child’s innocent curiosity and desire to express and explore their world, missteps and mistakes are bound to occur. This is the point where parents are expected to become the first primary teachers of their children, showing them what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviors. Raising with values that act as pillars in their lives and help them interact with the world around them. 

Patience, understanding, guidance, and discipline are key during this stage, as the child’s curiosity extends to testing boundaries, and asserting their independence. 

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Stage 3: Beautifying the Structure (Ages 13 – 18)

Characterized by the Child’s personality development and self-sufficiency, this parenting stage is where mentoring plays a critical role. As a parent, it is fundamental to present yourself as being approachable by ensuring communication lines are open, availing yourself as their confidant, and giving them the freedom to express their opinions on issues. 

While it might pose a challenge for parents to relinquish some form of authority over their children at one point in their lives, it is crucial to understand that your child would not be straight-jacketed for life and one day, you would have to let them leave the nest.

So expect disagreements, conflicts, and a bit of rebellion, but in the end, through active listening and guidance, the relationship is deepened and becomes stronger and supportive.

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Stage 4: Handing Over the Keys (Ages 18 – Above)

The kids are close to finishing school, looking for jobs, navigating the world of romance and relationships, and thinking of moving out and starting life on their own. 

There is not much a parent can do at this point except be a friend, supporter, and cheerleader for every success in their lives, and a shoulder to lean on for the failures they are bound to experience. 

This stage also offers parents an opportunity for growth. This is the moment parents tend to dread. Every parent knows that one day the child will leave the nest and not return except for occasional visits.

At this point, it is time to hand over the keys to your children and wish them good fortune as they venture out into the world and bring to bear on society all the values they have learned throughout the parenting stage.

Appreciating this fact, it is important to understand that parenting is like building a house with materials of our choosing. The house could either survive the storms or collapse from it based on the materials used. Therefore, parents must take it as a duty to fashion out the right kind of vision for their children that ensures they become successful members of society.

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 Okechukwu Nzeribe works with the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, in Anambra State, Nigeria, and loves unveiling the richness of African cultures. [email protected]

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