Handy Guidelines for Successful Parenting
Published on 22nd January, 2017 by Nurfadhilah Abu Bakkar
Coping with and understanding the changes in children’s behaviour and emotions across various developmental stages in their lives is a challenge commonly faced by most parents. In Singapore, where both parents are usually working, this challenge is exacerbated by the demands of our jobs. Though we strive to be the best parent for our children, we are unable to provide constant supervision or channel all our energy for our children. Being a parent myself, and having counselled many children and adolescents, I would like to share some reflections and tips which may assist other parents in achieving successful parenting outcomes for their school-going children.
Always reflect on our own selves and purpose of raising children. We have an important duty to raise them with good moral values and as such, we should reflect such qualities too. Do not expect our children to listen to us when we did not show good example in the first place. It is also unjust to deny the children of their rights to be educated, so we need to ensure that they are given proper guidance and support.
2. Appreciate, Respect and Love
This is very basic and universal language to communicate with each other. Parents who appreciate each other, respect their differences and show affection and care for their children will have stronger bonds with them. Many times, parents reprimand their children of their mistakes, but don’t forget to praise them of their good qualities too.
3. Instill consistency in discipline
Discipline is an important component in parenting as children are developing conventional reasoning to understanding moral standards (Kohlberg, 1986). Oftentimes, parents give in to children when they started to retaliate to avoid further “damage”. To curb this issue, below are the behavior management strategies that parents can adopt (Rutherford & Nickerson, 2010):
a) Identify problem behaviour and frequency of occurrences.
b) Find the causes of behaviour to occur.
c) Select the consequences. Consequences have to be immediate, age-appropriate, unpleasant for the child, a good match for the “damage”, not too long or persistent otherwise the child will give up, and not negotiable after the rule has been broken.
4. Provide healthy routines
Similar as having time table for school, children need structure at home too. Leaving them aimless may lead to unnecessary time spend on watching television or playing on handphone. Children learn best when they are active and seek solutions for themselves (Heuwinkel, 1996). So, parents, take this opportunity to discuss and plan with your children how they can fill up their daily routines. It is also appropriate to introduce house chores at this stage so that children learn to be responsible household member. When children are busy with routines, they will be less engrossed with things that lead to poor manners or disrespectful behaviors.
5. Learn to forgive
We all grow up and make mistakes along the way. As much as we want others to give us the opportunity to improve, our children need that opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Hopefully, they grow up to be resilient children.
These are the tips that I have found useful, but it is not exhaustive. It takes a lot of trials to being an effective parent and it is fine to seek advice from others. After all, every child is unique and would have different needs to another. Hope these tips can empower you in parenting your child and building a stronger bond with your little ones!
Heauwinkel, M. K . (1996). New ways of learning 5 new ways of teaching. Childhood Education, 72, 27-31.
Iman Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Ramli (2013). Educating Children: Classical Advice for Modern Times. Published by Kitaba.
Kohlberg, L. (1986). A current statement of some theoretical issues. In Santrock, J. W. (2008), Life-Span Development (11th ed.). Published by McGraw-Hill.
Rutherford, J. J., & Nickerson, K. (2010). The Everything Parent’s Guide to the Defiant Child. Published by Adams Media.