We recently celebrated the International Day of Families and today we commemorate the Global Day of Parents. Parents are the most important people in our lives from an early age as their love and care as well as their nurturing often determine the life we have. Sometimes we may be tempted to limit the role of parenting to the birthing process, however the bigger role is the nurturing, protecting and taking responsibility for another human being’s life.

According to the United Nations, parents of every race, religion, culture and nationality in all parts of the world are the primary caregivers and teachers of their children, preparing them for a happy, fulfilling and productive life. Parents are the anchors of the family and the foundation of our communities and societies. Today we list five important roles of our parents.

1. Giving Unconditional Love

It really ought not to be a role that comes with a manual but this comes naturally when an individual becomes a parent. Parents often have the urge to protect their children from harm and keep them happy. The ability to understand this love in the child explains why parents often become more trusted than anybody else around that child. It is this unconditional love that helps a person become a well-rounded and balanced individual.

2. Moral Support

Studies have shown that children who grow up without parent love or support are more prone to depression. A child just like any individual needs a person who can support them in difficult times, cheer them when they do well and show care when they are sick of face any other challenges. This role may be assumed by any other family member but in most instances they are not able to execute it the same way as the biological parent would have. A child’s idea of wrong and right often comes from the parents’ teachings, their understanding of spirituality is also often informed by the parents.

Done well, the role of parents help children grow up happy and emotionally healthy. Image Credit: Pixabay

3. Financial Support

When parents make decisions to have children, they often weigh their financial capabilities to care for those children. Even when a couple has a child through unplanned parenthood, they make adjustments to ensure they can financially care for the child. On the other hand a child sees their parent as their source of economic livelihood until they are mature enough to stand up on their own feet economically. Some children have strained relationships with parents who abandoned them and often that lack of financial support makes them much more aware of the absence of a parent emotionally and physically. Children who grow up with poor parents almost always appreciate the presence of their parents. Financial support matters as it often ensures good nutrition, education and health care.

4. Education/ Role Modelling

The United Nations has reported that the first three years of a child’s life are the most important.  Every touch, movement and emotion in a young child’s life translates into an explosion of electrical and chemical activity in the brain, as billions of cells are organizing themselves into networks requiring trillions of synapses between them. In most African countries, children spend these first three years within the confines of the home and this is where their character is formed. They treat people the way they see their parents treat each other and others, they talk the way they see it done at home and this is the first and most important education in a child’s life. This is why children who grow up with violent parents may have problematic behaviour, depression, become victims of violence or be violent themselves. Parents therefore have a major role of ensuring their children grow up as respectful, honest and loving individuals.