What Is Good Parenting Really?


Children are becoming very precious now that people are producing fewer.  Our world tomorrow will be very dependent on how well children are developing and as parents of generations to come, it is our responsibility to be aware of the underlying issues. This article is a wake-up call for us to ponder…

Recently I was told a story about how a frustrated child hurt his classmate with a pair of scissors because he was upset by being pushed. That sounds scary especially when the child comes from an average nice family and no one would have anticipated such an action. He is by nature non-violent, or at least it appears to be so. So what has prompted to this? Does the child, at six years old, realize the impact of his action? Is that premeditated or driven by impulse?  Do television programmes have influences over how children react to unfavourable situations? So many questions but where are the right answers?

To say the least the parents were in shock. On reflection, while they realize that the child has been naughty in little ways, they have not really understood their child. They have no idea how to deal with this, including how to talk to their child without inciting any adverse reaction. They thought they have been doing everything right until this which started them thinking, what is good parenting? What have they missed?

What is the definition of good parenting? Is it being there for their children? What is the right way to communicate with children? How do we know if we are doing it right?

These questions (and more) are becoming increasingly prominent in the last decade or two when more and more violent acts are being committed by children not even in their teens yet. Certainly parenting has never been easy but it has become more difficult now that influences come from more angles and paths than half a century ago, including bombardment from the media and lack of parental attention. Even with those whose parents are readily accessible, parents may not have the right knowledge to manage children of today. Too often we bring children up from what we learn from our parents and making adjustments we deem appropriate but they may not be adequate for today’s children.

Even parents need to study to become good parents. I met someone recently who is into providing parental support, basically sharing and coaching parents on how to manage their children. He shared his frustrations of some parents who are unwilling to spend even a small amount (SGD40/session once a week) nor the time to understand their children but would willingly spend the money and time on other social activities. At that time, while I thought it is a very admirable service and I applauded him for his passion and dedication, it did not occur to me how important that is until I heard this story. Not being a parent myself slows me in catching up on such issues.

I feel for the parents of this disturbed child. All sort of theories started surfacing when they try to analyse why the child acted that way with other family members and relatives that they suddenly realize there have been telling signs of possible jealousy and attention seeking but those thoughts have not really registered in their consciousness. They are now thinking of going for counselling, both the child and the parents.

Could this be avoided with better understanding what good parenting is all about? We must not forget that each child is different and it is therefore probably necessary for parents to understand some child pyschology and child development and apply the knowledge strategically.

How committed you are in your child’s development will determine the effort you want to put in it. What is yours?

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