Parenting is not easy, we always worry about our children’s well being, health, education, and safety. Too many dangerous and unpleasant things are happening around us: theft, robbery, kidnapping, rape or sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and unforeseen accidents. These situations make parents feel like wrapping their children up in a cocoon, and shielding them from the real world. However, keeping and bringing up our children in a ‘fairy tale’ will not help them in the real world.
Parents are labeled as Tiger Mums, Helicopter Parents, and as for the kids: Generation X, Y, Z, Millennials, Strawberry and so on. But, there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting styles, moreover nobody’s perfect as we learn along the way. Every parent wants their children to succeed in the future, however, when IS the right time for parents to take a step back to see what our children can do and to what extent?
Here are some parenting styles and their effects (examples) on children.
1. What Is Your Parenting Style?
Image by The Asian parent
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of parenting styles as each of us are individuals with different mindsets, and our children as well. Here are few different parenting styles:
The Traditional, Helicopter and Tiger Parents
- Parenting traits – Uses harsh disciplinary methods, strict rules, commanding and demanding, and have high expectations for their children. These parents have traditional mind sets with the idea that ‘we are your parents, and we are always right’. Parents will set a schedule for their children, and the kids are not given any choices, flexibility, or chances to voice their opinions.
- The Effect – The kids are often well-behaved, and doing well in both academic and extra curriculum. However, many of these children lack social and communication skills, and often suffer from low self-esteem issues. They are often stressed out and may even develop depression due to their parents’ high expectations. Some may have resentful or hateful feelings toward their parents and society due to the lack of compassion, affection and attention from their parents.
The Understanding Parents
- Parenting traits – Sets clear, firm and consistent limits, often communicates with their children. These parents are able to listen to their kids, encouraging independence and flexibility to express their opinions and thoughts. Parents will administer fair, consistent and acceptable disciplinary methods. The relationship is based on a fair and mutual respect.
- The Effect – These children will do well in life, become assertive and independent thinkers. They will possess a good set of social, communication and emotional skills, confidence, problem solving skills, and will not be afraid to express their feelings.
The Pampering Parents
- Parenting traits – Highly involved and engaging parents. They will shower their kids will love, affection and expensive gifts, rarely enforcing discipline, very responsive and giving in too easily a child’s needs, feelings and wishes. Sometimes parents will use gifts as a token or to fulfill the kid’s affection, while they are busy with work or other matters.
- The Effect – Children may turn into ‘Strawberry’ generation: pampered, arrogant, unable to take risks, stressed out easily and give up too easily. These kids might not appreciate what they have as their requests are constantly fulfilled easily. Children will be craving affection and attention that they are lacking, ending up with behavioral problems.
The Ice Parents
- Parenting traits – Very cold, unresponsive, minimal communication and little show of emotions toward their children. These parents are either not interested in parenting, experiencing family problems or completely immersed in their careers or own problematic habits such as gambling, alcoholism, online games or drug addiction.
- The Effect – Most of these children often come from broken families or homes. They don’t trust people easily, suffer from low self-esteem issues and depression, doing poorly in most of their aspects in life, and have problems in recognising attachment, emotion, and compassion. Many of these kids will develop behavioral problems and constantly getting into trouble as they crave for attention.
The Nagging Parents
- Parenting traits – Very verbal and responsive towards any situation, but no action is taken. Not encouraging and always in fear of failure. Very emotional, egoistic and communication is one-way system. Instead of enforcing problem solving skills, they will discourage and demotivate their children. These parents are the most insecure because they are very verbal.
- The Effect – Children will lack in problem solving skills, motivation, as well as social and communication skills. They often also suffer from low self-esteem issues and give up too easily. They will have emotional problems as well because they do not trust people easily, some may follow their parents’ footsteps in being arrogant and egoistic.
As every parent learns to understand their children, it’ll be easier for us to communicate with them. If we do not want them to show certain characteristics, it’s up to us as parents to discipline and educate them with proper manners. Certain things are learned from home and not taught at school or enrichment classes.
2. Parenting: The Right Time To Step Back
Image by Giphy
All parents have their own way when it comes discipline. However, not all results are important such as standardised text scores and curriculum results. Though your child may have the best academic scores, this will not be enough for them to when they get to the real world. Parents have all the right to educate their children for the best, but keeping them wrapped up in a cocoon is not helping them at all. Expectations are being raised by parents, it’s no wonder that children these days are developing depression due to stress and anxiety at a very young age.
Whatever your parenting skills and styles are, sometimes taking a step back to let your child learn and understand things on their own is the best! When your child is still a baby, no one taught them to flip onto their tummy, to walk or say their first word. So, why are we getting stressed out as they grow older? We may still guide them along the way, however, leave their imagination and creativity to themselves. So, when is the right time to step back? Here are few ways to do it:
Do not force them
- Scenario – Parents are the ones who are stressed out when it come to academic matters, which subject and reputable professions are better, which dance or music instrument will be the best? Children these days are busier compared to their parents due to their tight schedules: tuition before and after school and other curriculum classes during the weekends.
- Outcome – Your child may grow reluctant and rebellious towards you.
- What to do – First of all, understand your child and get to know him/her: is it really necessary to have tuition classes for all subjects, do they even be interested in the additional classes or activities such as piano, dance, sports and so on.
- Scenario – Just because someone’s child is getting better results in both academics and curriculum, that does not mean you may expect the same from your child. Every parent wants their child to be the cutest, smartest, brilliant and special in every way.
- Outcome – Your child may feel insecure and depressed as they are not being given a choice or chance to choose.
- What to do – Never compare your child to anyone, not even their siblings! Every individual has unique characteristics, so some may shine in their academics, whereas other are doing great in non-academic subjects. Stop posting your child’s milestones on social media as these are private achievements.
Let them learn
- Scenario – Your child is playing in a park with another kid, both end up arguing and things get physical. You’ve rush over and started breaking them apart, then you end up in a discussion with the other child’s parent(s).
- Outcome – Your child will be fully dependent on you or someone else in the future. They were not given a chance to solve a problem or situation and be independent.
- What to do – Depending on the situation, if the ‘physical’ fight gets out of hand, then step in and get both sides of the story before jumping to a conclusion. Never assume your child is right all the time.
3. Understanding Is Key
Image by Farm 2
By understanding your child, it’s easier for us to guide, explain and educate them. Do you know that many things your child need to survive in the real world are not taught in schools? Such as:
- Communication and social skills
- Problem solving
- Common sense
These values are the first thing a child should learn and it starts from home. It’s great that your child have a high IQ, however EQ is just as important as many kids today are lacking off. Spending more time with them is crucial but not necessarily expensive. There are loads of activities you may do to improve your bond without burning a hole in your wallet, such as:
- A walk or play in the park or playground – which improves their health, coordination and communication skills. This will encourage them to be active, instead of depending on digital gadgets.
- Colouring and drawing together – calms your senses by reducing stress and anxiety. It also improves your child’s creativity. Who knows, may one day your child be the next Van Gogh!
- Baking or cooking together – inspires them to be creative, following guidelines and experiencing teamwork. Currently, baking is one of the latest career booms in Malaysia, and many people are venturing in entrepreneurship in baking or culinary arts.
- Playing board games – educates them on problem solving, enhances communication skills as well as social skills and teamwork.
- Making crafts – inspires and enhances their creativity, experiencing hand work or crafting skill which will have a long term benefit.
Should you want to improve your child’s creativity or enrol them into enrichment classes, here are few that you may consider:
- Public speaking – to improve their self confidence while speaking on stage and in public. Also enhance their communication skills.
- Music academy – educate your child on the music industry and recordings. Educating them on the real world based on real life experience.
- Autocad – not only meant for engineering and architect students, this helps your child to build their favourite hobby such as designing, developing and printing their ideas out.
- Creative writing – helping your child to express their inner feelings, improve on creative and writing skills, and boost their language credibility.
Having a career today is a must, but letting them doing what they are passionate about is a gift!