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Holistic parenting and its essential areas

Dr. Muhammad Younus

Holistic parenting is a mindful and comprehensive approach to raising children that recognizes the interconnectedness of various aspects of a child’s well-being – including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions.

It goes beyond focusing solely on immediate childcare needs and addresses the child’s development in a more holistic and integrated manner.

At its core, holistic parenting seeks to create a nurturing environment that supports a child’s development on multiple levels. This approach takes into consideration not only the child’s physical health but also their emotional intelligence, cognitive development, social interactions, and even their connection to nature and the broader universe.

The goal is to raise well-rounded individuals who are not only physically healthy but also emotionally resilient, mentally agile, and spiritually aware.

Holistic parenting encourages parents to view their child as a unique individual with distinct needs and preferences. It promotes a deep understanding of a child’s temperament, interests, and innate abilities, allowing parents to tailor their parenting strategies accordingly.

This approach also encourages open communication and active listening between parents and children, fostering a strong parent-child bond built on trust and empathy.

Incorporating various practices from alternative and complementary therapies, holistic parenting encompasses nutrition, mindfulness, holistic education, natural remedies, and emotional well-being. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle, incorporating practices like organic nutrition, age-appropriate mindfulness exercises, creative expression, and exposure to nature.

As we delve deeper into the concept of holistic parenting, we will explore its key principles and the ways in which it differs from traditional parenting approaches.

By considering the child’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs as interconnected facets of their growth, holistic parenting offers a comprehensive framework that guides parents in fostering a nurturing and harmonious environment for their children’s overall well-being.

Holistic parenting means being aware of all the aspects of your child’s development and nurturing. Parenting like all other facets of life cannot exist on its own.

It requires a complete look into you. Your relationship with your spouse, family lifestyle, and child contribute to his / her holistic well-being. Being a parent we should focus on five areas of child development. These are as under:

  1. physical development,
  2. mental development,
  3. emotional development,
  4. social development and
  5. spiritual development.

Holistic parenting sense is very necessary for good parenting. Parents should be passionate about the nurturing and strengthening of their children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Here we will discuss all the five domains of child development.

1. Physical development domain.

This developmental process starts from the very after a child’s birth and continues up to adolescence till adulthood. It consists of gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills.

Physical development impacts on child’s physical fitness. it impacts sports, control over the body, muscles, and all physical coordination. The fastest physical development occurs in childhood up to adolescence.

therefore it is a very important time to look after and encourage supporting activities. Like physical exercise, physical activities, walking, crawling running, etc.

Gross motor skills:

Gross motor skills are physical skills, which require whole-body movement. These skills involve the whole body’s muscles to perform everyday functions. such as sitting, standing, walking, running, playing and jumping, etc.

Gross motor skills also include the body parts coordination like throwing ball on the correct point, correct writing with concentration swimming, etc. Gross motor skills are very crucial because these involve children’s daily life functions and performance.

Such as their self-care skills, dressing, they are going to school, riding up and getting out of a vehicle, sitting in the classroom for the whole day, listening to lectures, and doing homework, etc If they don’t have these skills, they will not be able to furnish all these functions.

Fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills refer to the use of smaller muscles and coordination among these muscles. like holding a pencil for writing properly, using scissors for cutting paper correctly opening lunch boxes, etc.

Fine motor skills efficiency ensures quality work and outcomes. Fine motor skills are very important for most school activities and in life activities generally. Being weak in fine motor skills can affect on child’s performance and ability to write, eat, turn pages, take out books from the bag use a computer, etc.

2. Intellectual development domain.

It is all about the learning capacity of individuals. The intellectual domain deals with how individuals organize their minds, thought processes, and ideas to understand the world around them.

There are many ways to learn and understand things and to improve the intellectual domain. Like looking, doing, trial and error, experimenting, listening, talking, playing, questioning, exploring, repeating, memorizing copying etc.

The intellectual domain can be improved through the five senses. By touching, tasting, smelling, listening, and seeing. The most important tools for intellectual development are language and communication skills. Cognitive development is a significant part of intellectual development. Because it is about how one can use his mind and organize his thinking process and how to make sense of the world around him. Read More

3. Emotional development domain.

Emotional development represents a specific domain of child development. It is all about the feelings and expressions of human beings about other people, situations, experiences, and understandings. Such as feelings of anger, sadness, joy, and excitement and their expression.

Adults can express their feelings and emotions using appropriate words and explanations but children cannot do this easily. Because they do not have a sense of how to know their feelings, whether they are positive or negative.

They do have not such vocabulary or phrases to explain their feelings in their own words. Despite this, they express their feelings of sadness by crying, screaming, yelling, hitting other children, breaking their toys, and throwing things.

They express their feelings of happiness by smiling, laughing, shrieking hooping, etc. Positive emotions should be encouraged like happiness, it could be encouraged by praising.

While negative emotions of children like anger and anxiety, being calm and sad need to be examined and heeled carefully. Parents should teach and realize their children to understand their positive and negative feelings and to have control over their negative feelings.

4. Social development domain.

Social development is all about a child’s relationship with people around him in different situations. Social development refers to how a child can interact with peers, play with them, and he develop friendships with them.

It also involves maintaining relationships and at the time of conflict how he can manage himself and his emotions. Social development ensures children have the skills to communicate with others properly with good posture and to process all their actions well-mannered.

There are many activities that encourage social development. Like Meeting people in different environments and in different situations. Mixing with peers in the playground and playing with them different games.

Participating in different school’s or educational institution’s programs and co-curricular activities. Opportunities to communicate with friends, relatives schoolmates etc.

There are many social skills to learn at an early age. like feeding, dressing up, washing hands and face, and also toileting etc.

Limitations for social development:

There are many factors that might affect social development in children like the language barrier. if a child has no competency in a language that is spoken around him, it will be a barrier for him to communicate with other peers.

Likewise physical problems, mental problems, lack of opportunities to interact with others, weak bonding with parents and peers, stressfulness, temperament issues, poor role model,s etc.

5. Spiritual development domain.

Spiritual development refers to the development of the personality according to the religious thoughts, beliefs, and teachings, and growing up in a peaceful manner. Children’s thoughts and curiosity to know about God the creator of the universe and to question its spiritual themes are quite natural.

Even children rising with no religious background are likely to ask spiritual questions. Although spiritual development is a common ground for most of the religions in the world they vary in their interpretation.

According to the Islamic perspective, the spiritual development domain in children and even in adults refers to nurturing and nourishing Islamic beliefs, Islamic thoughts, and Islamic teachings in children.

It means for human beings there are two things, i.e. the purpose of creation and the aim of life.

It is essential for any Muslim to know about his purpose of creation which is complete submission to Allah Almighty And to know his aim of life. After knowing these two he has to align them and interlink both of the two. It is parents’ responsibility to make their children understand these spiritual thoughts and actions and realize them according to their philosophy of life. Read More

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