Tagged as: parenting

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)

My child never talks about his school day with me!! What do I do??


My child never talks about his school day with me!! What do I do??

Welcome to the real world of parenting! We all have those moments when we think of ALL the time we invested with our little one, only to find them nonchalant when we gently ask them –‘How was school today?’

As a parent I have gone through that phase twice, being the proud mother of two children. I have tried every trick in the book including repeating the same question in different tones – gently at first, coaxing a little, raising my voice a lot and then finally giving up in frustration.

He would simply refuse to answer, preferring to read a book. I knew I had to find a way to handle this six year old and that too real quick!

I happened to speak to my cousin Sadhna (mother of 3 children), the next day and I casually discussed my situation with her. Three children, I felt, provided enough experience in parenting. And I was right. She understood my plight and offered me some practical suggestions. I decided to put her suggestions to practice during the very next week.

What ensued during the week:

Monday, evening, at home:

“So Ronav, whose birthday was it in school today?” (the probability of having a birthday celebration everyday is high ,in schools!!)

My son looked at me briefly before answering-“Nikita’s. We ate cake.”

It was a start, more importantly the method was working!!! So I took this idea forward.

Tuesday, evening, at home:

Ronav, did you and your classmates share snacks today? Whose lunch did you like best.”

Kavita and I exchanged snacks today Mummy. She had got yummy pasta and I gave her my dhoklas.” “I think she liked your dhoklas.” (he added, as an after thought!)

Does your teacher also sit with all of you while you snack? Did you share your snack with her?

Yes Mummy, teacher sits with us while we eat our snacks. Today she even told us a story during snack time. The hare and the tortoise story. Do you know that one? The one where the hare and tortoise keep a race and the tortoise comes first. Can you believe that?? A tortoise won the race!!”

I was definitely making progress here. We launched into a conversation discussing the story and decided that the tortoise was definitely smarter than the hare.

Wednesday , evening, at home:

Was there playtime today? Did you play with your friends Ronav?”

Ronav launched into a detailed explanation about all the games he played in school. Apparently he played catch-ball, hide and seek , hopscotch etc. “Hopscotch is my favourite Mummy” , he told me decidedly. Next week it would be catch-ball J

The week continued in a similar manner and with each passing day, I knew that my son was opening up more and more with me. There were still things which he would not tell me, but now I had a confidence that with time and some smart parenting, I could easily handle that too.

So my dear readers, any guesses on what was the reason for such a change in my child? How did this change happen? What was the advice I had received from my cousin?

Well it is rather a case of what she told me NOT to do. If you observed carefully, the entire week I refrained from asking my child the one direct question which I always used to ask before- “How was your school day?”

And that was all the change that was needed. Children I have discovered, only answer what they want to answer. To get them to respond, we need to ask them questions in a way which will make them want to answer us! Not a bad idea to try out, eh!!

Few questions you could ask your child…instead of “How was your day”

  • Who was sitting next to you during snack time in school?
  • Did you help anybody at school today? Who?
  • Who made you laugh today ? Did your friends share any funny joke with you?
  • Who brought the tastiest lunch to school today?
  • What is the best thing you like about your teacher?
  • What games do you play during short breaks?
  • Imagine you are the teacher. Which subject would you like to teach your students?

..and so on….

Happy Parenting!!