In June, the first international congress on evidence-based support in parenting ended. And this is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the thing that parents need the most, in order to be good parents - parental space.
Prof. Amit Baumel
June ended First International Congress On the subject of evidence-based support in parenting. The congress served as a platform for therapists and researchers from around the world to gather and discuss the most effective intervention programs to help parents. My two doctoral students and I also participated in the event and held a symposium.
The congress was held remotely, that is, through an online platform so that while it was held we were in our homes. As I dealt with the daily chaos of managing three small children after dinner and found myself refusing to play with one of them because there were several tasks to complete at home, I pondered what was missing in Congress. What are the contents that are less discussed today in the research world of parenting in the era of the 2020s but that are very important to be discussed?
This is my answer to the question.
Imagine two pairs of parents, both with a child or a teenager with the same difficulty - a difficulty that your child is experiencing or has experienced in the past - excessive frenzy, anxiety, social difficulty, difficulty in studies. Only one pair of parents deals with things in a more correct way. So their child ends up experiencing less - less anxiety, less social difficulty. And their child also experiences more - good relationships, love, a better education, a more complete life.
Now what do you think is the main thing that will determine who is the pair of parents who coped more correctly with the difficulty? Parents' education? the money? Parenting style? Did they seek treatment? Maybe, their willingness to make an effort (because how good is it to feed a little guilt into the story)?
Well, all these factors are acceptable answers that are close to the point but are not the point.
The most important element is actually the parent's space to deal with their child's problems.
The parental space can be defined based on two elements:
- The time the parent devotes to being the child's parent: is the parent present in the afternoon? Social assistant or prepare lessons? Playing (at the relevant ages) with the child?
- The quality of the time that the parent devotes to the child: when the parent is with the child, is he completely free and not distracted by other things.
Our parental space is under attack.
The biggest attack is financial. Since living is more expensive today, in most cases, both parents work full time. Let's just mention that in the past in the western world it was very common for the mother to work part-time, if at all, and return home early. And here the parental space in the whole western world crashed on its face.
The other attack is on attention. The parent is faced with multitasking, and notifications from work and life that are sent to him every moment and these lead to difficulty paying attention to the children, which makes it easier for the parents to turn to allowing their children to spend more time with screens. Screens can provide temporary relief when they occupy children's attention, allowing parents to attend to other responsibilities. However, this reliance on screens can undermine the quality time and meaningful interactions children need for their healthy development.
So in practice, when parents face difficulties with their children, in many cases the challenge they face is not a matter of knowledge or materialistic resources. He is simply the result of not having time to be a parent.
Bluntly, there are no accessible intervention programs that deal with this parental space.
After all, psychological treatments and parent training are not designed to solve financial problems, or problems of intrusive technology. But when we think about evidence-based parenting support these are things to consider. And maybe maybe maybe, we will also get to deal with it in the next Congress.
More of the topic in Hayadan: