Is Being Parent-Centric a ‘Good’ Thing?
Posted on: November 2, 2021.

Author: Prabhukrishna M | Content Creator/Chief Editor | YOKIBU Editorial

There are two sides to a coin, and parenting too is no different, when it comes to the fulcrum on which rests the balance of the parent-child relationship. And the “either/or” view in many discussions about parenting…

…such as the pivot being ‘either’ child-centric—parents sacrifice themselves completely to the child—’or’ parent-centric—the child sacrificed to the parent—is part of the problem.

Many parameters—including culture, work, and birth experience—influences mother and father to be parent-centric, detaching emotionally from the child, contrary to “Attachment Parenting”.

A parent-child relationship wherein there is only either Win-Lose or Lose-Win—a “zero-sum” game—is considered a “competitive” one—a minimally inconvenient child, who should…

…as soon as possible, follow the schedule marked by his/her parents—this is, more often than not, the parental baseline view in a culture like ours that has turned work-obsessed.

The child is attached to goals—professional singing excellence, academic proficiency, competitive Yoga, swimming lessons, pre-school readiness training—and around which family life is planned by parents.

Intrusiveness of the parental kind results in the child being ’smothered’ by child-centric parenting which doubles as the parenting version of the psychopathic “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD).

Needs for the child is perceived and everything is changed to meet those needs, behaviourally isolating everything from themselves and their children, stopping all other relatively insignificant work and all play.

In either approach, the parent-child relationship is buffeted with conflicting forces, orienting one-up-one-down, leverage placed with parents in parent-centric parenting, and with the child in child-centric parenting.

Throughout genus history, humankind has—in 99 of 100 circumstances—practiced the alternative to parent- and child-centric parenting…

…having evolved from the natural approach of Stone-Age Parenting—similar to “Attachment Parenting”—wherein the new-born is treated as equal to adults but—for the time being—with extra needs.

The needs of the baby are met fully while the baby—always on the body of an adult—is integrated into adult life—any other approach “otherwise” is out of question.

Was it, perhaps, intuitive knowledge that touch helps the baby keep growing well? There was, also, no fussing to do about breastfeeding which was understood to be normal, natural, and necessary…

…and the mother, part of the community, going about her regular tasks, as she continues life as an adult. Subsequently, love and security provided by such parents establishes in the child a sense of independence.

Fear of the child turning dependent on the parents drives them to force independence on the baby—which cannot, and should not, be done—while many parenting practices attempt to do just that!

The development of independence results in frustration for the baby if he/she is denied love and care. Independence in babies should only develop through the natural stages of dependence.

When parental desperation to get their own needs met—for control or affection—results in two extremes—”overly detached parenting”, and “overly smothering parenting”—it is time to revisit Aristotle’s Golden Mean.

Children having to live their parents’ lives is blasphemous—parents need to find ways to get their needs met in other ways … which means going the philosophic and practical ‘middle way’!

Any community/society needs to provide much more support to parents—year(s) long maternity leave, multiple additional caregivers, flexible work situations…

…and living with the paradox, and challenges, of intertwined, equally-important lives means “Life-Centric Parenting”.


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