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Parenting is the Greatest Test

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Children need support from both a father and a mother. Parents are essential in providing care and guidance as children develop their personalities and as they become mature physically, socially, and emotionally. Fathers and mothers tend to have different styles of parenting.

Generally, mothers are more able to empathize with their children and make them feel understood or heard, while fathers are better able to explain the principles logically so that children can learn the rules by setting and maintaining boundaries.

Ideally, parents cooperate closely, each parent supporting the other. However, many parents often fail to cooperate well which leads to disruptions in a child's development. Parents might not agree with the proper method of discipline or attention, and if the parents argue about this in front of the child, there will be confusion and a lack of productive outcomes for growth. Parents might also take out their frustration on each other by sabotaging the other's parenting efforts. The important concept for parents to remember is that their partner might have a different perspective, but they need to present a united front to the child. The best way to do this is to communicate and discuss with your partner the types of parents or parenting you want to do with your spouse.

Unfortunately, the consequence's of parents not being united or coordinated can lead to confusion and chaos in the home which might lead children to suffer from mental illness.

Here are Some Parenting Tips for:

Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

  • Help them explore and expose them to novel things to develop a sense of curiosity and creativity.

  • Give them full attention and praises for wanted behaviours (e.g., waiting) and limited attention for unwanted behaviours (e.g., tantrums)

  • Encourage them to be independent and do simple task themselves (e.g., using a spoon, or picking what they wear).

School-aged and Young Children

  • Encouraging your child to play with other children can help your child develop basic relationship and cooperation skills.

  • Be clear and consistent with rules to let your child know what you expect from them.

  • Only create rules that you are willing to and able to enforce. Keep rules to an absolute minimum to keep your relationship as simple and easy to manage as possible.

  • Explain and model examples of expected behaviours so your child has an understanding of how to behave.

Adolescents and Teenagers

  • Try to communicate with your teen as you would an adult, and remind them that you want to treat them with the respect and independence they desire but they must continue to practice maturity and be respectful of you as well.

  • Provide boundaries and consequences for behaviour that reflect the teens age; clearly communicate the boundaries and consequences.

  • Encourage them to make their own decisions to help them practice critical thinking, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.

  • Help them understand the weight and consequences of the decisions that they make. Discuss with them the pro's and con's of a decision and how it might impact them.

  • Provide avenues for your teen to take on responsibility. Make sure your teen has the tools and supports necessary to handle the responsibility but also hold them accountable.

Finding the balance of the roles of parents play in supporting the growth of a child is significant. It is not always easy to find a balance because each individual in a family has different values. Each child also has a different personality and lives in different environments that influence their growth. You will need to look for the right way of parenting that best fits your child's needs and situation. Therefore, regularly find a counsellor to sort out the knots in the family relationship so that both parties can find a balance point for mutual cooperation. A parenting and family specialist can help bridge the communication between you and your child to ensure both sides' needs are met and respected.

Written by Parenting and Family counselling specialist:

May Lai - Registered clinical counsellor specializing in children's welfare, parenting, relationships, trust issues, marital conflicts, youth, and family counselling. She has more than 5 years of experience in counselling. She can speak Cantonese and Mandarin fluently.

Another specialist:

Patsy Wong - Registered Clinical Counsellor who specializes in anxiety, depression, couples and family therapy, parenting and close relationship issues. She has more than 10 years of experience in counselling. She provides services in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English fluently.

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