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Nurturant parent model

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The nurturant parent model also known as the "Nurturing Parent" is a metaphor used for a belief system, (built upon an underlying value system)[citation needed] that goes in contrast with the Stern Father (Strict Father) parenting belief system. Each system reflects a contrasting value system in parenthood, i.e. conservative parenting and liberal parenting.

The "Nurturant Parent" is one of the various parenting styles in practice in the world. A Nurturing Parent gives his/her children both "roots in the ground" and "wings to fly". The parent accomplishes this by conveying, role-modeling and enforcing boundaries which encourage the child to explore their personal freedom (trying their new wings) while practicing self-discipline as well. The Nurturant Parent model has a healthy respect for children's inherent intelligence. Thus children are allowed to explore their environment under a careful watch by their parents, who are responsible for protecting the child from serious mistakes, by offering guidance. A child will be picked up if the child cries because the parent wants the child to feel safe and supported. If a child grows up believing their needs are likely to be met, (s)he will grow out confident, ready to face challenges.[citation needed] Meanwhile the Nurturant Parent also encourages their children to have their roots deeply implanted in stable grounds. This is done by making the child practice appropriate amount of self-discipline and self-connection. They may be asked to do age-appropriate house chores, limit money they spend, take part in discussions of "feelings" and "thoughts" and practice setting healthy boundaries with strangers, friends and adults in general.

The above elaboration was originally expressed more simply as 'a family model where children are expected to explore their surroundings; at the same time, being protected by their parents.'[citation needed]

Other ideas:


This model is based on a study conducted by the Boston College Graduate Program in Human Development[citation needed] where researchers were investigating the parenting style preferred by parents of extraordinarily creative children. Most parenting books recommend the authoritative style.[citation needed] The researchers discovered another parenting style which they called "the nurturing parent" that focuses on responsibility, empathy, and creativity. The basic approach these parents used was to:

  • Trust in their children's fairness and good judgment
  • Respect their children's autonomy, thoughts and feelings
  • Support their children's interests and goals
  • Enjoy their children's company
  • Protect their children from doing injury to self or others, not by establishing rules but by communicating values and discussing their children's behavior back with them
  • Modeling the self-control, sensitivity and values they believe their children will need[1]

Further mentions

In his unfinished book, Caring Parents: a Guide to Successful Parenting, clinical social worker Herbert Jay Rosenfield encourages use of the acronym "RECEPEE", for "Reasonable Expectations, Clearly Expressed, Performed Everyday and by Example".[citation needed] "The factors that children need to develop good self-esteem … are primarily 'gifts' from us parents!" writes Rosenfield, who offers another acronym "UCARE":[citation needed]

  • Uniqueness that is positive, achieved through praise, encouragement, and positive feedback
  • Connectiveness to family, to extended family, and to a neighborhood that is safe, healthy and moderate
  • Age-appropriate autonomy: responsibilities and privileges that parallel their age and capabilities
  • Role Examples: parent models with good self-esteem and behavior, whom they can emulate

Reverend George Englehardt stated succinctly, in 1991, that "parental responsibility is to provide their children with a safe, loving, nurturing environment".[citation needed]

The nurturant parent model is also discussed by George Lakoff in his books, including Moral Politics and Whose Freedom?[citation needed] In these books, the nurturant parent model is contrasted with the strict father model. Lakoff argues that if the metaphor of nation as family and government as parent is used, then progressive politics correspond to the nurturant parent model. For example, progressives want the government to make sure that the citizens are protected and assisted to achieve their potential.[clarification needed] This might take the form of tough environmental regulations or healthcare assistance.

The model is also consistent with slow parenting in that children are encouraged to explore the world for themselves. They have to learn to face the risks that nature presents. Although slow parenting might go further and reduce the level of protection offered by parents, it would not advocate withholding it entirely.

See also


  1. ^ Dacey, J. S.; Packer, A. J. (1992). The Nurturing Parent: How to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children. New York: Fireside, Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-77145-0.

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Nurturant parent model
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