Relaxed Parenthood: One Blows Hot, One Blows Cold!
Published on: December 06, 2019
A mother writes about using positive disciplining techniques and how a difference in approaches between herself and her husband work to create a healthy balance for their child.
By Ashima Kapur
Parenting wasn’t such a challenge in the past as it was part of the family system. But things are vastly different for expat families like us. I have one son, who was born in Bangkok. I had access to a plethora of information on parenting and disciplining techniques. I read a lot, but when practical situations of disciplining my son arose, I used to lose my cool.
In contrast, my hubby has always been like a friend to our only son. Whatever minimal family time he has in his busy work schedule, he tries to spend it on quality time with our son. Together they have pillow fights, create things with Lego, have toy-gun fights, and watch and discuss movies, cricket and football matches.
I used to remind my husband to be a strict father, to teach our son to improve upon his weaknesses. But he taught me to relax. He said it was ok if our son was sometimes off the sleep routine, ate the occasional unhealthy snack or meal, watched a little extra TV, or kept a little bit of a mess in his room.
As parents, sometimes we need to step back and think of our behavior with our kids and ponder whether we are effectively and positively disciplining our kids. We need to be conscious of our behavior toward our children.
A strict regimen for the child—like a watertight chamber to do everything perfectly—is not OK. It creates stress and frustration, not only for the child but also for the parents who constantly worry about how to fit their child into the set, rigid pattern. As parents, we often fall into this trap because we try to copy other parents. But we need to develop and accept our own parenting style; one size does not fit all.
We just need a balance in our behavior toward our children. Positive parenting helps you to have your own needs met and to do things that contribute to your children’s wellbeing.
Our family’s solution is to have one parent blow hot and one blow cold. If both parents blow hot on a child, we might create a child who feels unloved and uncared for, who grows up as a mentally and physically agitated adult. So between me and my husband, we agreed on our roles in disciplining. My husband acts as a firm but a friendly parent to our son. Now 9 years old, our son is having many emotional issues these days and the father-son relationship resolves many important issues without much turbulence in the house.
On the other hand, I remind my son of the routine, his homework, and extracurricular activities. Sometimes when there are issues beyond me, I try to brief my husband in advance, and in an amicable way, he tries to talk to my son.
A playful and loving approach can often defuse a difficult situation and result in a win-win situation. Research shows that children thrive when their parents are loving and firm. Such parenting involves consideration of the child’s feelings, wants, and needs, with due respect to the child’s point of view.
It’s not always easy to practice. But with conscious and mindful parenting, we can definitely achieve it. We just need a balance in our behavior toward our children. Positive parenting helps you to have your own needs met and to do things that contribute to your children’s wellbeing.
As parents, we must appreciate even the small efforts put in by our child—whether in academics, sport, or at home. Appreciation reinforces positive behavior in children.
Each day we are creating beautiful memories with our children which will stay with us. So let us keep reminding ourselves to be conscious of our behavior with our kids so that we do not leave scars of resentment, fear or anger in their pure minds. Instead, nurture their creativity and encourage them to grow in their area of interest and aptitude.
About the Author
Ashima has a Masters’ degree in social work and has worked for many years in NGOs, INGOs, and the UN. She stopped full-time work when her son was almost 3 years old. Last year, she moved from Bangkok to Myanmar due to her husband’s job. She is now a full-time parent and enjoys being Assistant Editor at BAMBI, as it enriches her parenting knowledge. She loves to interact with other mums over coffee for meaningful exchanges about parenthood.
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