A Mother’s Role In A Child’s Development

It is no co-incidence that a child gravitates towards the mother, the strongest and the most special bond with her child for she not only brings a child into this world, she is also a complete institution per se. From raising a child to inculcating morals and values into them, to playing a crucial role in their future development; a mother makes a tremendous contribution in her child’s life.

A child’s life revolves around his or her mother. Or perhaps a mother’s life revolves around her children. The love of a mother for her child is so beautiful, so powerful, so sacred, it is almost impossible to capture it in words. Suffice it to say that the mother-child bond is the strongest yet the most fragile connection in the world. Nothing can destroy it, yet it is most vulnerable and is continually tested.

From the moment a woman becomes a mother, her life takes a big turn. She no longer remains the woman whose world revolves around her. Her child, the apple of her eye, becomes her very own little universe, around which her whole life revolves. However, as much as she dotes on her child, her role in the child’s development is critical, one that is driven logically, not emotionally. A mother does not raise a child; a mother raises the future.

And that’s true.

Raising a child is no, for want of a better word, child’s play. It is the toughest, the most responsible task any human is assigned. It is a task that has no financial reward, yet it is esteemed highest in the society. Apart from raising and educating the child, and inculcating values and ethics into them, a mother makes important contributions in deciding the course of her child’s life. According a research published in The Telegraph, maternal influence is the leading factor to determine whether the child will stay at the school, and pursue higher study in the university. In comparison, a father’s academic achievements have but a little effect on the child’s academic accomplishments.

Mother – The Strongest Role Model For The Child

A mother’s role in child’s development is crucial. From the day a child is born, his first interaction is with his mother. His mother is his teacher, he learns from her – learns to walk, learns to talk. A child is his mother’s reflection. His mother is his friend; he plays and spends quality time with her. His mother is his role model; he looks up to and wants to be like her when he grows up.

A child learns how the world works through his mother. His mother is his wealth of information; he learns love, compassion, forgiveness, humanity, equality, kindheartedness, respect, generosity and ethics from her. A mother is an amalgam of emotions. She is a complete package and indeed the best teacher a child could have.

Having said that, it is very important that mothers pay a close attention to what their child is learning from them.

A mother must create a proper environment for the child to play, learn and grow. She should know when her child is able to eat meal on his own, use toilet and play alone. When ready, the child should be given an ample space.

As a parent, the mother should set reasonable expectations from her children. A child should not be unduly pressured to do things that are against their nature. Bullying and intimidation has a tendency to backfire.

Disciplining The Child – Drawing The Fine Line

The unconditional love of a mother has the propensity to spoil their children, particularly the boys. All children need to know their boundaries, and the implications of pushing that boundary.

Disciplining a child is central to his good upbringing. As a mother disciplines her child, she makes him understand what behavior and choices are acceptable and what are not. Disciplining can be demanding, the parents need to be consisting about it.

A lack of discipline can result an ugly behavior in the children. Such children grow up to be a pain in the neck. A mother, who is putting an effort to ensure a better future for her child, must not neglect this major aspect in the child’s development.

Mother-Child Bond And Child’s Development

Because a child’s future depends on the guidance and training of a mother, it is crucial that mother spends as much time with her child(ren) as possible. Studies have proven that an attachment between a mother and her baby helps build an emotional bond. Such an attachment is imperative to building confidence in the child. On the other hand, a lack of this attachment leads to anxiety, depression, hostility and aggression in the child.

A mother-child bond is key to emotional development. Research says that children who have an insecure attachment with their mothers are prone to developing behavioral problems later in their life.

In an analysis of 69 studies, involving more than 6,000 children, Dr Pasco Fearon of School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, studied the bond between children and mothers and their effect on the child’s development later in life. Dr Fearon proposed what is called an “Attachment Theory”. As per the theory, children with a secure attachment with their parents expect and get response, support and love from their parents, whereas the children with an insecure attachment with their parents face dejection, refusal, and discouragement that leads to behavioral problems later in childhood.

In another similar study called “Strange Situation”, children aged 12-18 months, were left in stressful laboratory. All children were followed closely and videotaped. It was noted that children with relationship conflicts with their mother remained distressed throughout the experiment and reported to have more negative emotions.

A mother’s attachment with a child has a deep impact physiologically and psychosocially. Dr Leslie Atkinson, professor of psychology from Biopsychosocial Development Lab, says, “Attachment is the child’s first strategy to deal with stress. As such, it plays a major role in our mental health as adults.”

In his research, Dr Atkinson studied biological, psychological and social influence of a mother-child attachment and found the strength of a relationship, or the lack of it, had a direct effect on the production of stress hormone in the child’s body.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, when produced in the right amount, is essential for regulating blood pressure and heart function, controlling immune response and maintaining glucose level in the body. An overproduction of the same hormone increases the risk of a number of diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

In his study, Atkinson and team followed up with a group of children over a period of time. At six months, the babies, emotionally attached with their mothers, were challenged in a way that showed the mother’s detachment. At 15 months, the challenge involved snatching away the child’s favorite toy. At 16 months, the mothers left the babies alone in the room for a specific period of time. During each phase, saliva from both mother and child was collected to measure the cortisol level.

All children in distress showed the same level of stress hormone in their saliva as their mother.

Spending Enough Time With Your Children

They say a child is aware of the emotions before he is able to articulate them. His greatest emotion is his need of quality time with his mother. Given the fast times we are living in and because more and more mothers these days are working and maintaining a professional profile, it becomes sometimes difficult to find time for your family. However, nothing justifies not finding time for your family.

Try to arrange a time each day where whole of your family can sit together and discuss their routines. Fix the routine with your child. Meal times are a wonderful opportunity for a family reunion. Make it a rule in your house that everyone eats together. Ask your child how his day at school has been and whether he would like to share anything special for the day. Giving a child an opportunity to express himself freely helps to build confidence and articulation. This way, a child would know that someone at home, particularly mother, is not only interested in what is happening in his life but is also there to provide support, if and when needed.

What Great People Say About Their Mothers

Women rule the world – sometimes by themselves, other times through the children they brilliantly brought up. The examples are infinite, but we will quote a few from some of the most remarkable men who owe their success to none others than their mothers.

George Washington, the first president of the United States, owes all his life, his achievements and success to his mother. “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw,” he said, “I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Thomas Edison, the great inventor of electric bulb, said his mother was the making of him. Talking about his mother, Edison said that she was so sure he would become something in life that he felt he had something to do to excel in life and not disappoint her.

Abraham Lincoln, the eminent lawyer and America’s president ,said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”

Pablo Picasso, the legend, the painter, sculptor, ceramicist, stage designer, and the famous poet, said he was Picasso because of his mother, “My mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier you’ll be a general; if you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

And here is what Charlie Chaplin, everyone’s favorite comedian, has to say about his mother:

“It seems to me that my mother was the most splendid woman I ever knew… I have met a lot of people knocking around the world since, but I have never met a more thoroughly refined woman than my mother. If I have amounted to anything, it will be due to her.”

Express Your Love for Your Mum This Mother’s Day

All mothers are same – they dole out heaps of love to their children and expect very little in return. All they ask for is respect, love and gratitude. Years may have gone by, you are all grown up, and things have changed around you but one thing that remains consistent throughout these years is your mother’s unconditional love for you.

May 8th is your chance to express your love for you mother. Everything you are today and have achieved is because of your mother’s love and support. Return the love today.

You can:

  • Serve Breakfast In The Bed – Don’t let your mum work on this Mother’s Day. Give your mum the much deserved day off. Cook luscious breakfast and serve right in the bed. She should know how special she is from the first moment of the day she opens her eyes.
  • Plan A Day Together – brush aside all your activities and spend the day lavishly with your mum. Tell her, scratch that, show her that she is the queen for the day. Plan something special; gather your family and go to your mum’s favorite restaurant, and order her favorite food.
  • Invite Other Mums – gather all the ‘oldies’ in the family i.e., your grandmother, aunts, friends and other mums and throw a party. Give these ladies a chance to chatter, laugh out loud and let loose.
  • Make A Card For Your Mum – and write a meaningful message on it. The message should be straight from heart. Words, especially genuine words, coming straight from the heart, have wings that can lift a person. Your mother definitely needs these wings today.
  • Hug Her – now this is tricky. You may already be doing plenty of it every day but this day is different. Today, all expressions of love will work. Schedule hugs; run to your mum every two hours, give big bear hugs and plant a few dozen kisses on her cheek. This is guaranteed to cheer her up.

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