November 20, 2008

What kind of parent am I?

Reading sections on a text on Child Development: Middle Childhood to Adolescence got me thinking how tough it is to be a parent, as well as what is the kind of parent I want to be for K.

One of the key take outs I got was that various parenting styles can have a huge impact on the child's development from early childhood all the way to adolescence. Authoritative parenting style is preferred over Authoritarian and Passive parenting styles.

Been talking to Nana (my mom) about how the first two years of the child is the toughest for a first time mother and that it gets easier on care-giving as the child grows older. Probably true in certain areas since the child will be able to communicate his needs with more developed communication skills. But it does get tougher when his cognitive skills become more developed and there is psychological conflict that the child will encounter with his own independence vs the expectations of parents. There you will get temper tantrums, crying fits and stubborn streaks of obstinate behaviour.

Prior to reading up sections on the topic of discipline, I used to be a firm believer of the cane and was ready to whip up the tool. This practice has been ingrained in me, since the cane was my worst nemesis when I was growing up. It all seem natural to consider this discipline method for my own child.

I had this idea that scaring my child into submission; hitting furiously on the table with the cane, creating loud 'thwacking' noises. While intermittently hitting the child's legs and screaming at him to "stop this", will be able to create desirable behaviour in my child. Well, I am seriously mistaken and so are many generations of parents before me. As this method only promotes immediate compliance and not lasting changes in behaviour.

I know I have an obstinate child on my hands, when he cheekily smiles at me and sniggers in response, when I raise my voice at him when he misbehaves, . "It's not funny," I will sternly add. He then turns his head away from me, starts looking elsewhere, refuses to make eye contact, then hums a song to himself and pretends that he is occupied elsewhere. He is only 20 months and he knows how to 'keng'?!?

I will hold him by his shoulders, and say, "K, look at me now." He struggles for a while to escape from my hold, while I repeat, "You stop now and look at me." He then starts to cry, turns to look at me and that's when the reasoning starts. So far that discipline method works when I have to set limits and discipline K. This will work with the "time away" method once he gets older.

I will always have to remind myself that I need to reinforce desirable behaviour by giving attention to positive behaviour and not the negative ones. Well, this mother has been reformed.

"Look at what I have painted on the wall..."


4malmal said...

I was about to post something with the same title! thanks for sharing your tips. much appreciated :)

Rachel said...

4malmal- I will be surely looking out for your post on this same topic :)