You will often hear people talk about a parenting style and saying that there is a right way and a wrong way to bring up children. They may even make reference to what some people believe is the science of parenting.
While it is certainly true that there are a number of general principles that can be applied to child parenting, every child is an individual with his or her own unique characteristics and there is no one scientific parenting formula that can applied in all situations.
Good Parenting Then And Now
For many years the accepted wisdom was that children should be ‘seen and not heard’ an that discipline was the backbone of good parenting if children were to grow up into strong and independent adults.
Then along came Dr Spock (that’s Dr Benjamin Spock, an American pediatrician, and not Mr Spock of Star Trek fame) who published The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care in 1946 and completely changed the face of parenting. For many years his book was seen as the ‘manual’ of child rearing and by the late 1980s it had been translated into nearly forty different languages and sold over fifty million copies world-wide.
Today many parents still swear by the principles set out by Dr Spock and while much of the specific advice he gave may now be questionable, nobody would disagree with his underlying philosophy that each child is an individual and that ‘one size fits all’ parenting simply doesn’t work.
Today when we talk about the science of parenting and a parenting style we are referring to the accumulated wisdom that many generations of parents have passed down to their own children and from which we as parents can now benefit. The science of parenting is not however a manual that you can simply take down off the shelf when you run into a problem and are looking for a quick answer.