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Parenting styles and beyond

If you have watched the movie “Parental Guidance”, you will remember how parenting styles can differ between adults and between generations too.

Try listening to conversations between children, you will often hear them discussing parents and their different parenting styles. (If parents can discuss children with their friends, do not forget that it can happen the other way round too. And possibly what you hear may not often be particularly flattering since children say it as they see it!)

If you google, you will probably find styles of parenting such as authoritative, permissive, uninvolved, authoritarian etc. As a parent, I often wonder –

  • Do parents always stick to a particular parenting style, based on their personality?
  • Is it really possible to classify parents into parenting style categories?
  • If any parent were to read up on a particular style and apply it, does it guarantee similar results?
  • What about the parenting style of the spouse? Is it of any significance?

If you have read upto this now, maybe the following will also make sense to you –

  • What about situations? Isn’t that a dynamic variable?
  • What about ‘the child’- the very focus of this entire written matter?

Oh yes, so the above two are basic variables in any parenting journey. Imagine the possible permutations and combinations with only these two variables!

I remember a parent who read up so much on parenting styles and trying to figure out what kind of parent she was, losing her peace of mind because she was unable to deal with her little one using any of the styles!

Now, consider this situation:

Scene : My friend’s twelve year old son Sanjay had come home a month back with a lot of ‘C’ grades in his report card. She confided about how she felt guilty about the situation and how her approach did not work. So what had she done?

She had immediately grounded him, put away all gadgets, prohibited playtime and tried to force him to study. The result? Sanjay became defiant and waited for opportunities to sneak out his gadgets from their hiding place.

Her spouse decided to try a different approach. He did restrict gadgets, playtime etc. but also made it a point to daily sit with Sanjay for at least half an hour and work on weak areas. He made him understand the importance of good education and hard work and also rewarded Sanjay’s good efforts. Most importantly eventually Sanjay confided in him about some troubles at school which he was unsure how to handle. My friend and her spouse realized that in their busy work schedules, they had almost neglected the emotional health of their only son.

By being more involved in their child’s life, they understood how to deal with the situation.

So in this case, the spouse’s approach worked better and so…there was peace at home!

Parenting BlogAnother friend of mine who is a parent of twins, always believes – the solution lies in tweaking the parenting style to situations and expected behavior of child.

Possibly the best way to know if your style is successful is…to check if both you and your child are happy with the solution and if the expected outcome from child is achieved.

So readers, imagine you are faced with the following situations, how would you deal with them? Do write your thoughts to us in the comments section.

  • You and your 5 year old son visit the supermarket and your son throws a temper tantrum to buy his favourite candy, toy and books for him and does not allow you to do your own shopping.
  • Your little girl, all of 8 years old wants to wear lipstick and nail polish, like the girls she sees in Advertisements and TV.

(Image credits – Edwin Kats)

How to help your child focus


Many young kids have trouble sitting still and staying focused. But as students get more homework, they need to be able to stick with a task and finish it.

Here are some ways to help your child stay focused:


Get the ya-yas out first. Moving the body motivates the brain. Try having your child walk or bike to school, play outside after school, do chores around the house, or play on a sports team. Make sure your child has had a chance to run, walk, or jump around before sitting down to homework.

Turn off screens and cell phones. Before your kid tackles homework or does anything that takes concentration, turn off the television. Or if others are watching it, make sure your child is far enough away that he can’t be distracted by it. Also, shut down or move him away from the computer, and if your child has a cell phone, make sure that’s off too.

Make a to-do list. Having a lot of chores and homework assignments can be overwhelming for kids. Help your child focus on getting things done by making a list together of everything he needs to do for the day or week. Then let him cross off each task as he finishes it.

Use signals. Try to avoid conversations when your child is working. To cut out distracting talk altogether, you and your child can even come up with a few basic signals. For example, when you point to his work, that means he needs to go back to what he was doing. Or when you raise your hand, that means he should stop what he’s doing and get to work. For some kids, it helps to just lay a hand on their shoulder to bring them back into focus.

Take breathers. During homework time, make sure your child takes a few breaks. After working for 10 or 20 minutes (depending on his age), have him get up and move around, get a drink, and then go back to work. But don’t let him get involved in something else during the break. Just make that time a relaxing few minutes.