Thursday, December 20, 2012

What's Your Parenting Style?


When I was first conceived with my elder boy, hub and I had no idea on parenting principles, I just knew what I didn't want but not what I wanted nor what I should do. For example, I knew I don't want to be a nagging mom, don't want to use force over my kiddo and I don't want him to be a spoilt brat and the list goes on. I kept showering him with lots of love and care until one day I realized he knew how to manipulate the situation to his advantage and starting to use crying as a weapon. He was hardly even 1 year old then.

Hub and I both acknowledged the need to assert disciplinary rules while its not too late. So after some research, he got a video on Focus On the Family by Dr James Dobson and both of us watched it together.

A few key guidance learnt from the video that benefited us in coaching our little boy later on and most importantly, it set both of us on same footing on educating our kids (we are now applying same principles on our baby girl). Besides, I've also been reading other parenting books to ensure I am well-informed to bring up my boy with confident. Childhood is shorter than it seems so I certainly do not want to do it on trial-and-error basis with my little ones.

The Expert's Views....

Here are some of the books that I find helpful in parenting. While the content may not be all well accepted and in fact I disagree to some of the authors' points, I value the researched facts and useful information, among the books are:

  • Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph (教出好孩子). This book helped me realized why my little boy appeared rather shy when he was 2 years old compared to other girls of his age. Besides, it made me realized that I shall step aside sometimes and let daddy to play his part in teaching our boy, instead of trying to take control of everything by myself (yes, I can be control freak at times but I am consciously working on that...). Both parents play important roles in different stages of a boy's life and we shall acknowledge the differences and learn to handle more adaptively.

Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph
The book's review is available here while the content preview is available here

  • Focus On the Family by Dr James Dobson, you may refer to the website here for more parenting tips from newborn, toddlerhood to preschoolers and teens.

  • Family First, by Dr Phil McGraw. Well, I didn't exactly read his book but having watched the video and his website I did learnt some useful insights. Do take a read on his post about Biggest Parenting Mistakes, which is some of the common complaints that most parents faced.

  • There was another early children education book that was loaned to me by a friend who's a prominent educator in Malaysia (I cannot find it anywhere in our house and can't recall the title neither..). It opened up my mind to broader understanding on early development for children and it had a huge impact on the education approach I choose to adopt on my boy. I bought the German educational sets, Phinken Primar, Phinken and several other educational materials instead of sending him to those popular right brain development classes in town. I did attended a right brain development trial class with him when he was around 8 months old and I concluded that parents will always be the best couch in earlier stage of a child's life. They were quite a costly investment but a good and worthy one.

  • Baby Center community website, I subscribed as a member since I was pregnant with my elder child. It offers useful tips for pregnant moms and continue to send useful weekly newsletter after the child is born. I find the website informative as it provides child development advices / suggested activities according to the child's age. While I do not take all the information as-is, it is useful for me to gauge how my kids perform according to the general pool.

My Views...

Allow me to share my digested thought from some of these reading materials, these are my humble point of view and I do expect some of you may disagree with me. So, please read this only as a point of sharing and I do welcome constructive feedback or sharing.

  • We make our ground rules clear to our boy and make sure we mean it. Eg, whenever I allow Ethan to play the iPad or any games, I'll tell him he has X minutes or has to stop by what time. Although he has yet to master the concept of time, he understands when I say times up, he has to stop and return the unit to me (sometimes I set alarm on my iPhone to alert him). If he fails to comply, he will get his punishment, either no more game for a week or at times a light spanking on the palm. Setting rules let Ethan understand what are the boundaries and he learns to be responsible over his act. This has been working well for us so far and we do not faced major misbehavior issue with him since then.

  • Always praise him for good effort to assure him that he had done the right things. We praised for the action and not him, example, I'll say "thank you for tidying up your own toys just now, mommy is proud of you.", instead of just saying "clever boy!". The same we'll do when he does something wrong.

  • Be a role model and walk the talk. If I expect my little boy to read more and spend less time on TV, I, in the first place, have to be seen enjoy reading. I know people who complaint their kids spent a lot of time on games and hardly flipping any books, and honestly I am not surprise why that happened. No offense to anyone but this is the similar saying of "you are what you eat".

  • Most importantly, whatever mistakes that our kids may have made, and that we may or may not had punished him/her, we always assure our little boy that while we are disappointed with his action, we always love him being who he is. This is to ensure he knows that he has our unconditional love as parents, it's important as part of his confident building. I saw parents who would threaten the kids for misbehaving by saying things like "mommy don't love you if ...." or "mommy don't want you if ....", honestly such acts will only damper the child's self confident and have the uncertainty / anxiety of losing the love from the person he / she care most in the world. Remember, at such young age, we parents or guardians are the only support that our kids can count on, we are the shoulders that they can lean on no matter what happen. Knowing that we are always on their back, our little ones will eventually gain the confident to explore into new boundaries and attempt greater challenges.

  • Know clearly what you want to achieve as a parent, not what you don't know. If I tell you don't think of a pink elephant, what's the thing that appear in your mind? A pink elephant, isn't it?:) So, start thinking what sort of parent you want to be. Hub and I have a clear understanding, we want our kiddos to be happy, confident, caring, enjoy learning and hopefully with good leadership. We may not have achieve all that but we will definitely do our best by planting the right seeds in him.

I am not writing this post thinking that I'm a good parent. No, no, please don't get me wrong. I am just sharing what had been working for us and our little boy, and hoping that these sharing maybe useful to some new parents or caretaker out there.

Lastly, as there are various schools of thought on parenting methods, I understand everyone may share a different view and preference when it comes to bring up their precious little ones, and there is no one method that suits everyone as not all kids / parents are the same. Personally, I would think that so long the method works for both parents and child, where it creates a harmonious relationship within the family and the child is happy and have self-confident, it is a good method to keep. So, do your research and adopt a path that suits you and your partner.

Seeing my little boy grows up happily and with confident is the most that I can ever ask for. Happy parenting! :)

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