Learning via Parenting and Family Bonding

Recognising the type of parenting style we adopt can definitely help us to bond with our children. When all the ecstasy of having a newborn in the house wears off, parents begin to subscribe to one of four styles of parenting: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved. These four styles—which are also, unfortunately, labels—show what kind of upbringing kids are given. 

However, no matter which parenting style you adopt, there are always opportunities for parents to enrich their relationship with their children. 

You are an authoritarian parent if your favorite phrase is, “Because I said so.” You fire off household rules without consulting your children. And if they break these rules, you make sure that there will be hell to pay. It’s not that you’re evil; it’s just that you believe that enforcing your rules without exception and negotiation instills discipline in your kids. Your children know that you expect absolute obedience from them. 

How you can bond with your child: Open some of your rules to a little bit of negotiation. It will make your children feel that their opinion matters. 

Do it one rule at a time if rule-haggling seems too much for you at first. For example: your rule about curfews. On a Saturday night, let your 17-year-old negotiate the terms of his 9:30 PM curfew. Listen to him, he might actually be making sense. Trust that all those years of obedience have put a good head on his shoulders.

An authoritative or democratic parent, on the other hand, likes to talk issues over with the children before acting on them. You listen to them and answer their questions. Instead of making too many rules, you give clear standards of behaviour for your kids to strive to. And because your ultimate goal is to raise children who are independent thinkers, assertive, and socially responsible, your method of discipline is to support principles, not to punish bad behaviour.

Always bear in mind that an ideal parent-child relationship, as in any relationship, is one that has two-way communication lines. However, remember that no one takes things for granted. Set aside one-on-one time with each of your kids every day. More exclusive time with your kids means more opportunities to get to know them, and to let them get to know you.

For a permissive parent, the household rules usually come more as an afterthought. Instead of imposing your rules on your children, you allow them to regulate themselves. You don’t believe in by-the-book parenting, opting instead to go with the flow. Because of your relaxed style, your kids see you more as one of their friends than as a parent. Fun is the name of the game in your house. Forget the rules. 

How you can bond with your child: It’s cool that you are your child’s best friend. You probably have no problems getting your kid to talk to you about anything.

To cement your bond, make sure that—just like a best friend—you don’t flake on your child when the going gets really rough. There’s a time to be the best friend; and there’s a time to be the best parent—one who will put your child’s needs before your own.

You are an uninvolved parent if communication with your children is made up of awkward small talk and nothing else. You pretty much let your children do their own thing, and you rarely step in. Your rule of thumb is: feed them and they will grow. Such parents merely appreciate the miracle of life in the home. 

Strike up a conversation with the children from time to time. Take baby steps to know your children and open yourself up so that they can also get to know you. Simple activities like eating ice cream together or maybe doing a movie-night at home will definitely help. 

Instead of telling your children who you are, show them by getting them involved in your favourite activities. Eventually, if you do it consistently and with love, your children will come around and show you who they are.

Love and bonding within the family is one of the simplest way to bring happiness into our lives! For most of us, our family forms the centre of our lives and everything we do revolves around our family.

When we first start our family and embark on the journey of parenthood, the little angels we bring to our families are the ones who brighten up our lives. As their learning journey begins, so do ours – We need to start to learn how to be parents!

To me, parenting is an ”exciting expedition” in my life journey.  We need to first of all recognise that children and even babies too have emotions and moods. When they feel ‘down’ or ‘moody’, they can throw or display all types of tantrums via their instinctive modes such as crying and screaming. Hence, new parents often need to take some time to ‘learn the ropes to recognise these signals’ and devise ways to tackle or counteract them.

I first learn of ”respect” from my parents and teachers in my childhood days. In those days, children were taught to respect our elders and obey them. However, in modern times, kids too requested for the respect of their parents. I was really taken aback when my son demanded that I ‘respect’ his privacy when I tried to search his school bag to check for any homework lest he forgot about them when he first started school!

Perhaps, with the exposure to the internet and early interaction with electronic and digital equipment, children nowadays are more well-informed than the kids of yesteryears. They can talk like adults and even command the same level of respect from us! When punishments are meted out, they can even ‘quote the definition of abuse’ to you and ‘threaten’ to report you to the police if they are canned or confined at home! As such, a lot of learning needs to be done before one can play the role of a competent parent nowadays!

I have to admit that my parenting role has added much stress to my already hectic work schedule but also enable me to grow at another emotional as well as intellectual level. In fact, part of the disciplinary and reward system I set up at home can actually be applied in the workplace as I believe everyone of us has a “child instinct” buried within us. Hence, child tactics may be applied under certain circumstances.

As the saying goes, learning can happen anytime, anywhere and under any type of circumstances. As such, whether you are working, parenting, bonding in the family, mingling at social gatherings or participating in community activities with people of all ages and discipline, you have much to learn from all involved, including kids!

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