Parenting techniques or child-rearing is a design of parental authority towards the child which supports the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child from infancy until adulthood. Parenting skills differ by historical period, social class and age group. It was first introduced by Diane Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist with Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive parenting styles.
According to Baumrind, Authoritative parenting is “just right style”, as it combines medium level demands on the child and a medium level responsiveness from the parents. It involves positive reinforcement and infrequent use of punishment. Parents somewhere know the feelings and abilities of their child, thus getting more favourable for the overall development of the children.
On the other hand, Authoritarian parenting is about parents being harsh and non-flexible and more often leading to punishments. Children often feel demotivated, stressed and unhappy. Permissive parenting is all about a child’s freedom and liberty has a higher stake. Not much of punishments or rules, undemanding parents are some of the features of this style of parenting.
For me, parenting techniques are not only a set of rules, talents and behavioural patterns but also putting forward and imbibing family and cultural values for my child’s health and safety, preparing her to be a productive member of society. My parenting techniques resemble those of Authoritative Parenting as I have been supportive, and I show interest in her daily pursuits.
After a lot of trials and errors, here are five parenting techniques that I can safely say have worked best for my daughter and me:
#1 Set Minimalistic Boundaries
Setting boundaries involves effective communication but precise, sharing ownership of rules with children, recognising appropriate behaviour and applying natural consequences wherever possible. My child has the freedom of speech and expression to the extent that she calls me by my name, which till today is not acceptable in Indian society. Parents are supposed to be addressed as Amma and Baba to show due respect by setting a particular boundary. This act of hers doesn’t demean my respect but to have a close, peer like relationship with my child.
#2 Build Connections to Gain Cooperation
It is the need of the hour to stay in touch with your child’s day-to-day activities to bond together. Allowing structured and uninterrupted time with your child and offering suggestions, not commands, elicit cooperation. The best methods to relate to them are with a phone-free dinner, short drives, playing board games and travelling together. This has aided in conveying the message that she matters when she reciprocates by lending me an ear.
#3 Be Firm but Calm and Loving
One needs to be firm while setting boundaries and enforcing the law but at the same time have calming and loving tones. Our children have the uncanny ability to get under our skin and bring out the very worst in us. Here is the truth, feeling angry is a fact of life and we can’t stop it. But the loudest volumes do not win. Being constant while walking away from arguments and having new ways of communicating turns out to be more effective and productive.
#4 Model Respect
You need to be a role model for your child. The way you treat others says a lot about yourself and the children are the ones who pick it up from us. When I can be humble and apologize and have accountability for my actions, my child will follow in my footsteps and develop a sense of responsibility. Build virtues like patience, honesty, courtesy and assured that this shall be replicated through your child’s actions.
#5 Use Positive Reinforcement
Encouraging positive words comforts children and enables them to perform better. For me, being a mother, efforts have more weightage compared to results. Enforcing new experiences regardless of failures is another factor in achieving success. Clapping, cheering, giving a hug and patting on the back have been my standard practices. I have always praised my daughter’s behaviour to adults while she is secretly listening. A text message, a smile when she does something beautiful.
Being overprotective after a certain age (she’s in Grade 10 now) because she has to fly out pursuing her dreams someday. Screaming and yelling pushes her away from me. I don’t believe smacking is a good form of discipline. Limiting my daughter’s abilities and thoughts would never give her the opportunities to be a Tennis player, a fluent pianist and an artist today.
Lastly, parents with firm styles had successful children with high scores in school and a focused career path. They too shared a positive relationship with their parents. The ones who were devoid of a positive relationship, suffered from anxiety, depression and panic attacks with low self-esteem.
Contributor: Vinisha Sidhwani
About our Writing Program Student
Lover of Spanish Idioma, agradable (pleasant) and genial (funny). A homemaker who watching her 6th grader daughter learning a new language in school decided to pursue becoming a Spanish teacher. Cooking, listening to music and painting is her passion. “Quiero escrbir en español una autobiografía basada en la vida de una persona que creyó en mí y me ayudó a seguir mí pasión” ( I have a dream. Wish to write an autobiography based on the life of a person who believed in me and helped me follow my dreams.)