Principal author Dr. Stephen Bavolek of the Nurturing Parenting programs—the curriculum that Any Baby Can uses in parenting classes—describes “personal power” as how capable we are in getting our needs met in desirable ways and influencing conditions in our lives. Building positive personal power is referred to as “empowerment.” For many of our clients, this can be a daunting task. They may feel overwhelmed by their child’s developmental or healthcare needs, their family’s circumstances and stability, or other life factors.
Supporting parents in developing their own personal power, and helping develop their children’s personal power, has a compelling, direct effect on their parenting skills and the family’s quality of life.
Children who have a strong sense of personal power follow family rules and are respectful, but have the strength to speak up and say no. They feel ownership over their body and their decisions.
Adults who prioritize individual personal power exhibit greater self-efficacy (the extent to which a person believes they can master a specific skill), and feel empowered to plan for the future. These are key principles that direct Any Baby Can’s theory of change.
- Several studies have demonstrated that a strong sense of personal control is positively predictive of well-being and health in the United States. (Lachman & Weave, 1998)
- Parents’ self-efficacy and satisfaction with their parental role has a crucial role in parent-child interactions. (Calvo & Bianco, 2015)
- Self-esteem is a protective factor in the mother-child relationship.(Teti & Gelfand, 1991)
- Parents with a strong sense of self-efficacy can be more at ease and effective in dealing with the everyday difficulties of being a parent, and this positively influences their satisfaction with the role. Coleman & Karraker, 1997
- Positive feelings based on personal success…are highly associated with general happiness among Americans. (Kitayama et al., 2000)
A parent’s own beliefs about their skill level and influence has a huge impact on families. No matter your life goals, owning your personal power can help you succeed. Here are some tips from Nurturing Parenting on developing personal power1:
Developing Personal Power in Children…
- Treat children with respect and dignity.
- Praise your child for being and doing.
- Give children opportunities for success.
- Encourage children to take responsibility for their feelings.
- Provide children with choices and consequences.
- Listen and talk to your children.
- Respect your child’s body.
- Be nurturing and consistent in helping children learn appropriate behaviors.
Developing Personal Power in Yourself…
- Take ownership of your feelings.
- Take responsibility for your own behavior.
- Make decisions to problems that will increase your self-worth.
- Have a sense of belonging or spirituality.
- Accept praise from others.
- Follow through with commitments.
- Be aware of your own needs and feelings.
1 Nurturing Parenting ® Family Development Resources, Inc., Meeting Our Needs and the Needs of Our Children