Hold taut or set loose: which parenting style is better? Part 1

A person’s childhood is like a mirror-reflection of what he/she is today. A vast part of our personality development is completed till the age of 5 to 7 years. That is why it is emphasized to school and educate your child, character development and manners wise,  starting from a tender age. The kind of person we become takes a lot of building blocks but that the foundation is laid much earlier than we think.

There is a huge debate ongoing for decades on “what is the correct parenting approach?” In my opinion, there is no ‘set in stone’ approach of good parenting; it is a constant struggle, a mix of holding tight and letting loose, an ideal concoction of sugar and spice that would work for you. Why did I stress on an individualistic approach? Quite simple because EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT and so are you. I cannot reminisce the number of times I’ve seen parents making the mistake of comparing their child’s behavior, progress or personality to his/her peers. If you’re an Asian, good luck to you for being in such juxtaposition for the rest of your freaking life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and I’m proud of my mother’s brought up of us but she seldom compared us to others and understood that no child is perfect and I thank God everyday for this blessing. By comparing your own to another, you instantly instill self-doubt and lack of confidence in your child who then grows up to somewhat believe he/she isn’t ‘good enough’ for their parents, so what good would they bring to the table for the rest of the world. Feeling of rejection, one of the most sensations for a young mind. Believe me when I say this is a HUGE dogma of our society and exerts a great deal of negative pressure kids always have to carry on their backs.

Diverting our attention back to the topic of this blog, my personal view now that I’m a parent, is to stick with a mixture of both approaches but for the sake of honesty and ‘labelling’ myself, I’m a rather strict mother. The foremost reason traces back to my own childhood where my mother being a single parent had to be super alert about us and rule with an iron fist because she had to be our father too. Naturally I have taken after her in setting some ground rules and likes/dislikes about what my daughter should/should not be doing. Besides that, there are several reasons that I’m going to list now. Let me clarify that I put the well-being of my child above everything and have this primary parenting rule for myself where I never allow my ‘expectations’ cloud my decisions. I shower her with all the love and attention, like all other parents out there and try to put myself in her shoes to try to empathize wither her whenever I find myself running out of patience.

I believe it is imperative to have some sort of hold on the children by at least ONE of the parents in order to establish “who’s the boss in the house”. It is a simple message but a powerful one. Nowadays, kids are super smart and ahead of their age but they use this as an excuse to cross their parents or outsmart them, which I find offensive. After all, it is due to your parents that you learn about the world and everything in it. I’m not in favor of agreeing to everything your parents ask you to do, there should always be the space and flexibility in a home to disagree respectfully and have a healthy debate. In fact, it is imperative to take your kids’ input to foster reasoning and confidence to take action in them. But kids often make the mistake of trying to over-power their parents because they are old-fashioned or not as current as the kids, so by teaching kids no matter what they achieve in life, they will always be smaller in stature to their parents and their sacrifices for them, you teach them how to be grateful and humble at the same time.

Stricter parenting is also an effective way to instill discipline and etiquettes in children from a small age. It is always best to explain why you’re asking them to do certain things because children have very inquisitive minds plus they’ll understand the rationale of your rules. When I look back, I hardly hate my mother’s decisions because she made us understand WHY she did what she did and I always agree with her now. If it weren’t for her ban on wearing school uniform at home after school, jumping on furniture, taking huge servings of food at one time, touching stuff at other people’s homes unnecessarily, we would certainly have turned out wild and unrestrained like many others these days and even at our time. We had to follow loosely based time tables that we had to follow to utilize our time with maximum fruition. We had our play time, TV time, study and homework time, meals time, family time etc everything to ourselves without any deprivation. It might sound a lot to some Westerners but it wasn’t really bad it taught us the value of time. Self-restraint is extremely important in a person and if you ask me, the root of all problems lie in the absence of it. If you discipline your child and teach them of not crossing certain lines and live by certain rules, you’re making them good persons and citizens, a problem for no one.

Strict parenting also entails keeping tabs on the doings and whereabouts of your kids, something they won’t like very much. You must convince your kids that you trust them but you should also convey that you hold certain expectation from them and it your UTTERMOST important duty to protect them and so you have to know about their friends, health, school, sibling problems at all times. You are their best friends at home but a guardian angel sent by God first. Trust me, kids behave better when they know they’re being watched by their parents and they realize why it is so fruitful only when they hear about the unfortunate incidents that happen due to negligence or ignorance.





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