Irresponsible/Unmindful Parenting: An Empire for the Media

Irresponsible/Unmindful Parenting: An Empire for the Media

Maja Ljubetić (University of Split, Croatia), Ina Reić Ercegovac (University of Split, Croatia) and Anita Mandarić Vukušić (University of Split, Croatia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5799-9.ch014
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The aim of this chapter is to examine the relationship between contemporary parenting practices, understanding of the child, implicit parenting pedagogy, and the influence of the media on the child which seems an indispensable determinant of child development and upbringing. Given the development of technology, especially the information and communications one, this should not surprise us but make us reflect more on parental roles and responsibilities in this process. Special attention should be directed to understanding implicit parenting pedagogy, where the processes of raising awareness and reflection play the most important role. Parents who are aware of their implicit pedagogy, who cultivate mindful parenting have the advantage over those who do not. When shaping their own parenting practices on these grounds, they can create optimal conditions for child development. The potential adverse effects of modern technologies will be that much smaller if by raising the awareness of their own parenting practices parents develop and progress towards responsible and competent parenting.
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Contemporary parenting and childhood are challenging for both parents and their children. On the one hand, parents strive to meet their professional obligations, ensure existence, build a career and, on the other, raise a child mindfully, thoughtfully, responsibly, and competently following his rhythm and needs. It is not easy for the child either because he must reconcile his rhythm, wishes and needs with parents’/family ones. It seems that parents and children need to balance every day between their own needs and the needs of the other.

Wishing to successfully meet their own needs (sometimes only to ensure some brief period of time for themselves) and create conditions for a child to successfully meet his, parents often resort to some solutions that in the long run may do harm and they are not even aware of it. It seems that parenting pedagogy is being put to the test on a daily basis and, moreover, it seems that parents are not aware of its existence and impact enough. For most parents, the best interest of their child is unquestionable and they are convinced that all or at least most of what they do is done for the child's well-being. However, very often in their parenting practices, they choose the behaviours that might have an opposite effect and parents could be unaware of it. They face many challenges every day that can be met only by parents who reflect on their parenting activities and evaluate their parenting every day in order to raise awareness of their implicit pedagogy.

Family upbringing is a continuous process that takes place in a suitable environment created by parents. In this context, parents undertake various activities to encourage positive child development. By raising a child responsibly and mindfully, the parent strives to provide conditions for optimal child development and enable him to behave responsibly towards himself, others, and the world around him. However, the dynamics of family life and parental roles and tasks cannot be reduced only to intentional parental behaviours. There are many different influences in the family context (family structure, communication, interactions, habits, child-rearing style, etc.) that are a part of the child's “functional learning” (Giesecke, 1993, p. 59) and affect parenting. The question is what the basis of intentional upbringing is, and which parenting methods and behaviours parents perceive as effective and appropriate for optimal child development. In other words, what parenting practice do they choose and what is it based on? By modelling parenting practice, contemporary parents must successfully meet two basic requirements, namely that their parental practice is based on high emotionality and warmth on the one side and behavioural control of the child's behaviour on the other. Parental behaviour based on high positive emotionality, high behavioural control and low psychological control has the most favourable effects on child development (Amato & Fowler, 2002; Klarin, 2003; Raboteg-Šarić & Pećnik, 2006; Raboteg-Šarić, Rijavec & Brajša-Žganec, 2001). On the other hand, lack of high positive emotionality, warmth, and high behavioural control are usually associated with unfavourable developmental outcomes in children (Deković, 1992; Čudina Obradović & Obradović, 2006; Klarin, 2006). These basic dimensions of parenting, optimal for child development, are based on parents’ beliefs, thinking, knowledge and traits, and contextual factors. In other words, an important role in shaping parenting practices is played by implicit parenting within which the experience of parenting, the parental cognitive awareness, meta-parenthood and lately the so-called mindful parenting are studied.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ICT: Devices or technologies that enable access or store, retrieve, and reuse information and communication with each other in electronic and digital form.

Media: The means of mass communication, as television, the internet, smartphone.

Image of the Child: A general understanding of the meaning of the child and its abilities and needs. It is socially constructed and effects the behaviors of adults toward children.

Mindfulness: Deliberately giving attention to the present moment and present interactions.

Implicit Pedagogy: A system of beliefs, attitudes and experiences that affects the child-rearing practice, but can be in discrepancy with explicit or official pedagogy.

Parental Responsibility: An individual responsibility of parent for the child's upbringing and the development of one's own parenting competence. It assumes responsible behaviors toward them self, children, and others.

Reflection: The ability to look back on action and connect it with our own behaviors.

Parental Competence: Knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and beliefs about child rearing.

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