Parents are the most important objects of identification of the child in the family and the main source of experiences on which it builds its perspective on life. That is why parents are not only the first but also the most important educators of a child. Much depends on the structure of their personalities, their behavior, their relationship with each other, their emotional attitude towards the child, and how the young person will develop.
The child’s attitude towards the parents is greatly influenced by their mood. Cheerful, mostly good-natured parents, who know how to sincerely rejoice, who have a sense of humor, and are happy to joke and laugh, attract the child and have a positive effect on its mental life. Resentful parents, their excessive seriousness, silence or constant concern repel the child away from them, they make it distrustful or cause fear in it. Parents who are often tense, irritable, angry at any moment, explosive or depressed and gloomy also negatively affect the child.
The child is impressed by entertaining, active parents who know how to give a lot of themselves, are interested in everything, are engaged in various jobs, love various forms of leisure and sports. The psychological development of the child is stimulated by the parents’ interest in various forms of cultural activities, literature, music, fine arts, and social and political events. On the contrary, passive and lazy parents, who live a monotonous, stagnant or extremely boring life, hamper the child’s initiative and do not allow it to expand its psychological horizon to a greater extent.
The young person is significantly influenced by the social behavior of the parents. People who are friendly to others, treat them in a calm and friendly way, are tactful in social behavior, show understanding for other people and are willing to serve and help, encourage the development of children’s sociality by giving them a positive role model. A child finds it much harder to adopt constructive attitudes towards the community and becomes selfish and skeptical of human society if its parents are closed-minded, unsociable people who are afraid of other people, avoid contact with them or behave coldly, unkindly and distrustfully. Children’s sociality is difficult to develop even with authoritative parents who want to be superior to everyone, so they treat others in a contemptuous or ridiculous way. Gossiping about other people, attempts to trick or deceive them in anything, and dishonest treatment of them also do not give the child the opportunity to build positive social feelings. The same goes for the parents’ selfishness, their denial to help other people, and a weak willingness to do someone a favor.
As much as the parents’ attitude towards other people is important for the child, in the family or outside it, it is also influenced by the relationship between the parents. The mutual love of the parents, their mutual attention and tenderness, bigger or smaller favors to each other, mutual help at work and an equal relationship with mutual respect, are a strong foundation on which the child builds a positive attitude towards marriage and gender. But its trust in its parents, both as parents and as spouses, i.e. representatives of the sexes, will be seriously shaken if they are cold and uninterested in each other, if they are silent when they are together or even avoid each other, if they are irritable, impatient or rude to each other. The child’s psyche suffers even more when disagreements often break out between parents, when they blame each other for something and insult each other, and especially when they physically settle matters. A marital relationship in which one parent rules, exploits or neglects the other, and is selfish, rude and authoritative, and the other reacts with slavish humility, masochistic surrender to fate or defiance, quarrels and various outbursts, also leaves severe damage on the child.
The child needs the presence of both parents for its proper mental development. But in the case when the marriage is inconsistent, and the child is a witness to a quarrel or a completely unhealthy relationship between the parents, then it is better for the child that the parents divorce. The detrimental impact of an unhappy marriage is a more significant factor in the development of a young personality than the positive impact of the presence of both parents. That is why to a child more harm than good is done from the formal marriage of otherwise quarreling parents.
It often happens that parents, despite their disagreement and desire to separate, still stay together “for the sake of their children”, ostensibly because they do not want to harm them with their divorce. Despite the fact that such a statement is in most cases just an excuse by which people cover up their indecision and lack of courage to divorce, children should never be a reason not to divorce from a failed marriage. Because the children in it suffer the most. If, therefore, parents are sincerely interested in the mental health of their children, then in many cases they will decide to divorce because of them. It happens that children ask their parents why they live together when they disagree with eachother or even ask them to divorce because they can no longer bear their quarrels.
If the parents are cultured people, they will enable the children to maintain contact with the parent who no longer lives with them even after the divorce, without the feeling of misunderstanding and hostility between the mother and the father. In this way, both parents can remain objects of identification, and stop the negative impact of their quarrels on the child.
The child is very sensitive to the emotional attitude of the parents. Parental love contributes a lot to the healthy development of a young person, raising its self-confidence and trust in people, the appearance of its independence and resilience in life. But a child does not need a sentimental, tough love that is expressed in caressing and in lackey service. Constructive and stimulating is the love, which encourages parents to deal with the child, to develop its independence, to support its initiative, to enable it to succeed and to take pride in its successes. Healthy love enables parents to understand their child, to come to terms with its needs, to adapt their actions to its individual characteristics, but at the same time to manage its behavior in the way that is most beneficial for the child’s future. True parental love is best manifested in the fact that parents are guided by its objective life needs, and not by their personal desires, ambitions and prejudices. Such an emotional attitude towards the child enables the parents to always be calm, cheerful and well-meaning in contact with it.