Parenting is a Family Affair

Healthy parenting comes from a healthy family

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we understand there is no perfect family, or even a “normal” one. And yet,
while families come in all shapes and sizes, we’ve seen over the years that well-functioning ones tend to share
several key characteristics: mutual support, love and caring for each other, a sense of security and belonging,
open communication, and a confidence within each family member that they are important, respected and valued.

Some ways to assess how well your family functions:

After years of experience with lots of different families, we’ve come up with a list of questions
which might help you assess the health of your family and how this affects your children:

  • Does your family have fun, despite the very real demands of daily life? Is there humor and laughter?
  • Does your family have clearly stated rules that are evenly applied, yet are flexible and responsive to new situations?
  • Are the family’s expectations of each other reasonable and realistic?
  • Do family members achieve most of their individual goals? Are their personal needs being met?
  • Do parents and children have genuine respect for one another, demonstrating love, caring, trust and concern, even when they disagree?
  • Is your family able to manage change without anger, arguments or resentment?

Maintaining a healthy family

In order to provide a supportive, emotionally-healthy environment, you as a parent might consider the following questions:

  • Do you treat each child as an individual? Each child has his/her own temperament, strengths and weaknesses. Parents may love their children equally, but naturally will have different relationships with each of them. It’s important to develop a unique relationship with each of your children, reinforcing their talents and “specialness.”
  • Are your expectations of your children realistic? Your child’s maturity, self-awareness, knowledge and skills are constantly changing. Find out what can reasonably be expected of him/her at each stage of development. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we can help in this area; please come in and talk with us.
  • Does the time you spend together as a family foster good relationships? Can you describe your “family togetherness” time as fun, relaxed and mutually beneficial…or tense, competitive and full of conflict?
  • Are you teaching your child solid, positive values? Remember, you and your spouse are the most important role models for your child and you need to demonstrate your value system, through actions as well as words.