Brian Kuehmichel
March 10, 2012



Researchers agree that parents play a unique and crucial role in nurturing and guiding children's development. The authoritative parenting in which children do best "involves spending time with children, providing emotional support, giving everyday assistance, monitoring children's behaviour, and providing consistent, fair and proportionate discipline."1 This also involves developing and maintaining ongoing relationships that connect family members to one another. James 1:17; Deuteronomy 6:7 & Psalm 25:4


"There is no undermining the role that a mother plays in our lives. She is the one person who has seen us through our best and our worst and the only person who still loves us the same. Even though the umbilical cord was cut at birth, there are mysterious ties that bind us to our mothers, making the mother-child bond the strongest in the world. Some ties are never meant to be broken and the relationship that we share with our mothers is something like that. One has a very unique relationship with one's mother. She is the only person who accepts us as we are. She will be judgmental and seemingly cruel when it is necessary, but one must remember that it is for one's own good."2

Mothers without a father in the household have much less of these beneficial effects upon the family and their children. In every way that a mother contributes to the development and well-being of her children the same children lose much of those effects in the absence of a father. It is in working together with a father that mothers truly complement things a father does best and enhance those things a mother does best. Marriage then becomes the best framework for the nurturing and development of the offspring of men and women. "Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Canadian developmental psychologist, author of "Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers," and leading international authority on child development and the role that a secure relationship with an adult plays in the maturation, learning, and socialization of children"3 addresses the need for both parents to be actively involved in the development of their children.

The Contribution of Mothers.

Mothers are great helpers.

It is noteworthy that this saying, "behind a great man, there is always a great woman (spouse or mother)" reinforces what God has said in Genesis chapter 2 verse 18, "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." This is just what we find in the family unit. Mothers are resourceful and determined to use their untapped and unused skill for the benefit of the family. Sometimes this is through working alongside their spouse in agriculture or small business, or gardening and preserving food, or making and repairing clothes, or developing a beneficial craft, or providing some service that helps others that supplements the family income. A mother's help is not just financial, it is structurally beneficial to the whole family unit. Mothers complement, enrich, enhance and amplify everything that a father does to lead and develop a successful family. The highest goal of parents is to invest in their children and develop them into mature, capable, competent, adults who love God and their fellow man and become productive, engaged citizens in society.

Mothers provide a model for family relationships.

Relationships are the canvas or fabric of our lives.4 Mothers provide a sense of connection for their children. Relationships are the connections between things (goods and services) provided by people for people and the tether of friendships between people. People feel like whole persons or that they are whole families, when all the pieces of the fabric are in their proper place. Mothers are the quintessential developers and tenders of relationships. So much so that this proverb is known around the world. "Every thing is well if the mother is well in the household." Or in American slang "If mother ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Mothers contribute a great array of interpersonal skills to bring family cohesion and facilitate their children in connecting with the world. A mother's natural skill in relationship communication will smooth over many of the bumps in life. Since mothers provide the emotional bank for the whole family, members of the family dump all their hurts and worries upon their mother. This emotional calming provides the necessary stability and platform of security for children to explore their world.

Mothers provide the love and care children need.

Mothers provide a special place in their children's lives demonstrated by their unconditional love and care of the family. It starts from the nurtured bond during pregnancy and develops through childhood, youth, and adolescence ending with a strong emotional and social bond. They provide a gentle and necessary source of love and affection in good or bad times to children. Few children have not known teasing and hurtful words used against them? This kind of isolation or stigma, that comes for whatever reason from others, affects the self-concept and identity of children. And they need comfort and help through these experiences. Children turn to their parents for security, emotional comfort, guidance, and methods to cope. Fathers influence their children's moral development and require them to take responsibility for their own actions. Mothers display the comfort and joy of relationship during interactions with their children and then expect them to do the same toward others. Simply said, mothers are the healers of maladies of the heart as children journey from infancy to adult.4

Mothers seek to nurture their children.

The involved participation of mothers in the household and in the nurturing of their children lead to less stressed and happier households. With both financial and emotional support from fathers, mothers tend to be more competent. Mothers' caring qualities, thoughtfulness, and emotional stability helps them be more sensitive to the varied needs of each child. 1 Timothy 5:8 & Luke 6:36

Mother's voice helps infants develop their speech ability.

""This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies," said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde of the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. "This research confirms that the mother is the primary initiator of language and suggests that there is a neurobiological link between prenatal language acquisition and motor skills involved in speech," Lassonde said."5 A mothers voice stimulates increased brain activity and promotes engagement with speech and language by the infant. Good communication skills lead to better social interactions with acceptance and inclusion by others.

Mothers (and fathers) touch help children feel safe, comfortable and loved.

"Research in neuroscience has shown that touch is necessary for child development and that a lack of touch damages not only individuals, but our whole society. Human touch and love is essential to health and development." "Child development is a natural process; mothers and babies are hardwired for the experience of togetherness. The habits of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and babywearing practiced by the majority of mothers in non-industrialized cultures, and more and more in our own, facilitate two of the main components needed for optimal child development: proximity and touch." "Mother/child bonding isn't just for brains, but is also an affair of the heart designed to maximize child development." "(S)ensory deprivation results in behavioral abnormalities such as depression, impulse dyscontrol, violence, substance abuse, and in impaired immunological functioning in mother deprived infants." It is plain that mothers who provide intimate contact with their baby leads them to happier, healthier development.6

Mothers (and fathers) playing with their children offer special benefits.

"The results suggest that positive and proactive parenting processes such as joint play may make a unique contribution to decrease the very early development (ages 3-4) of child conduct problems."7 "Research has also shown that nurturing in the form of spending sufficient quality time with your child that is fun and enjoyable for parent and child leads to happy, healthy, successful kids. Kids also need structure. Parents are the key to helping children develop self-discipline and positive character traits."8 Daily interaction helps children feel important, included and valued and develops their emotional, social and physical skills.

Mothers (and fathers) help children develop good sleep patterns.

Mothers (and fathers) expectations for a regular sleep time were significantly associated with children's sleep quality, i.e. a more structured sleep time had improved sleep quality.9 Regular family schedules with a routine time for going to bed made for better sleep and less waking during the night. This in turn makes for less irritable and emotionally distressed children, promotes better behavior, increased learning, improved grades and social acceptance.

Mothers reinforce with their children the importance of learning and education.

A mothers interest in the world around them enhances and focuses a child's natural curiosity. This becomes a great platform to stimulate learning and searching deeper leading to a greater breadth of understanding of the world around them. Mothers can also help to raise her children to know and love the Lord, pouring herself and God's Word into them constantly, teaching them to follow His ways first and to become noble, honorable citizens secondly. Mothers provide an example of a godly woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend & teacher which helps her children journey to maturity and responsibility.

Mothers show the need for time of rest, refreshment, refocusing and encouragment.

Since mothers are emotionally and physically involved in so many aspects of family life they personally need time for rest, refreshment, refocusing and encouragment. Children appear to have endless energy but they need time for regrouping, thinking, and boredom to integrate the many things of life that come to them. When mother shows her need it provides the platform for her family to withdraw from the busyness of life and have restful, peaceful, encouraging seasons. This pattern was also used when Jesus took his disciples and went into solitary areas for teaching, refreshment and encouragement. Mark 3:6; Luke 9:10

Mothers provide a model of conscientious work in the home.

Women play the role of spouses, mothers and workers: the daily tasks and responsibilities of mothers are many and varied and most often married women with young children work more hours than married men. When mothers encourage their sons to be brave and strong, encourage their daughters to learn proficiency in the home, and encourage both to develop skills and refine talents, to have good self-discipline and to make good moral choices these children will have more and better opportunities in the marketplace. This in turn will affect the economic well-being of themselves and their families, all of which affects society. Mothers who display and promote conscientious work in the home will see the fruit of their work in their children's lifetime.

Mothers (and fathers) interaction with their children develops individual traits.

"(Y)ears of child development research ... shows that while each child is 'pre-wired' with certain traits, temperament and abilities, it's the interaction with their environment, especially their parents, which ultimately determines how these characteristics are manifested as they grow and develop into competent adults."10 The daily example of mature adults greatly helps children in their journey to maturity and responsibility.

Mothers influence their children's economic development.

Mothers do this best by being an example of a conscientious worker in the home. By demonstrating to their children basic living skills of good communication, patience, kindness, helpfulness, healthy diet choices, cleanliness, modesty in clothes and good personal care mothers prepare them to enter society. Mothers also demonstrate and teach enhanced living skills of telephone etiquette, scheduling/time management by integration of numerous varied tasks into the daily routine, excellence in work standards and job completion, resourcefulness in fixing, mending and repairing varied items around the home, etiquette in human relationships for varied venues, self-denial for the higher good of the family unit, and so much more. This daily display provides a comprehensive platform for the multi-faceted development of skills that make children capable and competent in the economic marketplace.

Mothers help their daughters develop unique identities.

Mothers, through selfless and positive reinforcement, specially contribute to their daughters by valuing and appreciating them for being the unique persons that they are. Daughters develop their identity within close relationships more than sons and seek to connect and enhance that sense of closeness with their mother. This in turn helps daughters have empathy and understanding toward other mothers and prepares them for their own journey of motherhood.

Mothers help children develop respect and appreciation for others.

Mothers receive no pay, promotions or sick days but it is something that almost all willingly engage in all day-every day. Sometimes it means that mothers must face fears rising against their family. This may be facing financial distress or other turmoil or sitting at the bedside of a very ill child who needs care more than themselves. Moms have more strengths and skills than they ever give themselves credit for since raising another human being to become a virtuous, generous, skilled person is the most difficult and worthwhile job on the planet. Adding to the roles of marriage and duties of maintaining a home, are those of being a sympathetic sister, a caregiver, a friend, a neighbor and a citizen. The daily demonstration of faithfulness to these duties and relationships involved inside and outside the home shows an important facet of maturity to the children observing her. Children learn much by example and they in turn naturally want to imitate what they see modeled before them. This helps children develop respect for the contribution of others in their lives and to admire good qualities in others.

Mothers model love for and fidelity to their husbands.

They demonstrate to and help their teenage girls and boys develop the dignity and respect necessary in approaching a relationship with the opposite sex. Mothers model and encourage respect for their husband and sons. This helps their sons to reach higher for themselves and in turn expect and seek women who are courteous and gracious. This pattern helps their daughters to seek and find a dignified, noble, virtuous spouse.

Grandmothers and aunts provide support for the health of their children, grandchildren and extended family.

According to Research Highlights Key Role Grandmothers Play in Mother And Child Nutrition And Health11 maternal and paternal grandmothers, aunts and other senior female family members at both household and community levels provide a key role: in nutrition and health care for both women and children, and support and care for children and their mothers. "The three key findings of her review of non-Western societies of Africa, Asia and Latin America are that:

  1. Grandmothers play a central role in providing care for women and children and in advising younger women and male family members on nutrition and health matters, especially during pregnancy, childbirth and when children are infants or still young.
  2. Social networks of senior women provide a collective influence on maternal and child nutrition-related practices, especially when women are pregnant or have recently given birth.
  3. Fathers and grandfathers usually play secondary, supportive roles in non-emergency situations when it comes to maternal and infant nutrition, but their involvement generally increases in crisis situations, when special logistical and/or financial support are required."


The Contribution of Biblical Motherhood.

Mothers help teach submission by yielding to authority.

The desire of women to join good leadership, the longing to participate in a worthy journey, to come alongside and help another as shown in compassion and tenderness to the sick and injured, these are manifestations of submission to authority. It is not cowering for fear but it is honestly and honorably yielding to the decision of the one holding the position of authority (who then bears responsibility for the decision). Biblical submission comes with knowledge and discernment. This kind of submission contains the knowledge of who the Creater is, what He has done and what He expects from us. It reflects the distinction of male and female in life and marriage, the difference between parent and child, the placement of government over men, the discernment of appointment to position in the church, the courtesy and dignity of manners, the development and grooming of relationships, the benefit of friendships, and the participation with others called to do the same. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17 and That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10

Bible verses describing women and mothers

Mothers recognize wrong and deal with it: Leviticus 24:11 And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)

Mothers seek good for others: Ruth 1:8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

Mothers seek good for their family: Ruth 3:1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

Mothers provide for their children: 1 Samuel 2:19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Mothers preserve life, even at great personal cost: 1 Kings 3:26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

Mothers promote a child's life and well-being: 2 Kings 4:8-37 the woman of Shunem showed great love and zeal for her son in seeking his restoration to life through Elisha the prophet.

Mothers provide comfort: Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Mothers are a model for their children: Ezekiel 16:44 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.

Mothers are to be protected and provided for: John 19:25-26 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Godly mothers affect generationsA.: 2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Cheerful mothers are desirable: Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Forgiving mothers are desirable: Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Mothers are industrious for their family: Proverbs chapter 31 read


BEST TEN THINGS A MOTHER (and Father) CAN DO12
1. Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little. 2. Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately. 3. Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around. 4. Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy. 5. At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend. 6. At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc. 7. Let me play outside a lot. 8. Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show or movie together. 9. Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care. 10. Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag


Ten Worst Discipline Mistakes Parents Make — and Alternatives13
1. Demanding Immediate Compliance 2. Yelling, shouting, ranting and raving 3. Nagging 4. Lecturing their children 5. Taking Anger Out On Kids 6. Shaming And Belittling 7. Setting Traps 8. Imposing Excessive Guilt 9. Applying Abusive Physical Punishment 10. Coercing


Five Worst Parenting Mistakes With Toddlers14
1. Spoiling the toddler 2. Over protecting 3. Authoritarian parenting (bossy-demanding-forceful, i.e. overly controlling) 4. Dismissing him/her as "just a little child" 5. Comparing children to each other


References:

1. How Do Fathers Fit In?, accessed 3/03/2012, www.civitas.org.uk/hwu/FatherFactsheet.pdf

2. Gifts for Mother, accessed 3/03/2012, www.xgamersandgames.com/ (Posted on Oct 10, 2011 04:00:35 PM in Reviews)

3. Addressing Anxiety in Children, Cindy Leavitt, accessed 3/06/2012, www.oneskycindyleavitt.com/articles.html

4. The Critical Role Of Mothers In The Lives Of Children, Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, accessed 3/03/2012, www.ertra.com/2005/Tesfa_oct29_Note28.htm

5. Mom's Voice Plays Special Role in Activating Newborn's Brain ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2010), accessed 03/03/2012, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101215195234.htm

6. Child Development, Cori Young, accessed 3/06/2012, www.natural-humor-medicine.com/child-development.html

7. The Role of Mother-Child Joint Play in the Early Development of Children's Conduct Problems: A Longitudinal Observational Study, accessed 3/03/2012, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9507.00238/abstract

8. Child Development Institute, accessed 03/03/2012, childdevelopmentinfo.com/

9. Do Parental Expectations Play a Role in Children's Sleep and Mothers' Distress? An Exploration of the Goodness of Fit Concept in 54 Mother-Child Dyads, Helene Werner and Oskar G. Jenni, (Sleep Disorders, Volume 2011, Article ID 104832,) accessed 03/03/2012, www.hindawi.com/journals/sd/2011/104832/

10. Child Development Institute, accessed 03/03/2012, childdevelopmentinfo.com/

11. Research Highlights Key Role Grandmothers Play in Mother And Child Nutrition And Health, Wiley-Blackwell, Published: January 19, 2012. accessed 3/03/2012, www.sciencenewsline.com/medicine/2012011916190021.html

12. The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents To Do With Them, Erin Kurt, accessed 03/06/2012, www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-top-10-things-children-really-want-their-parents-to-do-with-them.html

13. Ten Worst Discipline Mistakes Parents Make—and Alternatives, accessed 3/06/2012, www.theologic.com/oflweb/raise-em/tenmist.htm

14. Parenting mistakes with toddlers, accessed 3/03/2012, www.2knowmyself.com/parenting_mistakes_toddlers


Addendum:

A. She Prayed, Jayme Durant, Acts & Facts, Volume 42, Number 5, May 2013, www.icr.org/i/pdf/af/af1305.pdf