Scaffolding Your Parenting

Think of a scaffold outside a building. Do you know what it’s there for? Scaffolding in construction serves as a temporary structure to support workers and materials during building projects. Scaffolding is a concept that is very useful in parenting as well.

Scaffolding in parenting refers to the process of providing temporary support and structure to help children learn new skills and abilities. The purpose of scaffolding is to gradually reduce the level of support as the child becomes more independent, allowing them to take on more responsibility and build confidence. This approach helps children develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and self-reliance.  

Scaffold parenting isn’t a new concept, nor is it an idea that necessarily replaces different parenting styles. Grounded in the work of psychologist Lev Vygotsky from the early 1900s, scaffolding is a learning process that provides a helpful tool when trying to understand and implement authoritative parenting. From a child development perspective, the scaffolding will help the child achieve greater heights, have a stronger foundation, and develop better virtues in their lives.

Support, structure, and encouragement are the three pillars of scaffold parenting. At every stage, parents can model and teach positive behaviours, give corrective feedback, and boost self-esteem. This allows the child to develop the strength and agency they need to become happy, successful adults.  

Here are the basics of each pillar:

Structure: When there are established routines, clear house rules, definite ways of thinking, and a good communication style, the child will have a sense of security and stability.

Support: By providing empathy and validation, parents will help kids learn how to process difficult feelings, which will help them bounce back from rejection and failures.

Encouragement: When parents encourage their children to try new things and take risks, children will learn to be courageous and independent.

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. 

Food for Thought: What animal or plant have you successfully nurtured in your life? What are some of the lessons you learned from that experience?