Climbing the parenting slippery slope

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PETALING JAYA: Most parents would probably want a child to come with a parenting manual or guide. But the truth is, parents are the manual.

According to Valsala Krishnan, founder of a leading awareness training and counseling company, parents could understand their children if they understood themselves well.

“I use the SIEP (mind, intellect, emotions and physical senses) mindset to understand my subconscious programming,” the single mother of two told theSun.

“In its simplest sense, SIEP means taking deep breaths to activate awareness and respond to situations. When I do that, I understand why I think a certain way or why I say and do certain things. I can see similarities in how my children think, what they say and do.

“The second factor is the environment that children are exposed to. This includes the movies they watch, the games they play, the people who take care of them, friends and family. If you get the first one (genes) wrong, here’s your chance to correct your child’s unconscious programming by changing their environment.”

She added that the biggest challenge in raising children today is time.

“When I look back on my childhood, my mother was a housewife and we lived in a small town. With little technology, life was slower. It’s different now. Raising children is a full-time career, and on top of that, parents have careers too. We tend to live in stress and hurry most of the time. When we’re tired, we’re not the best version of ourselves and often it’s our family that’s left with the tired and grumpy us,” she said, adding that the method of raising children has changed in many ways since then.

She said when it comes to being a parent, the most important factor in raising a child would be stable mental health.

“Whoever can think can solve all problems, including finances. But we often react and get emotional without even realizing it. Everyone tends to react, but the difference is how big the trigger is and how quickly it can snap back out.”

Given that mistakes are part of growing up, parents should reassure their children that making mistakes is acceptable, Valsala said. And when they do something, it should be rewarded with praise.

“It’s a common response to scold or punish children when mistakes are made, but these actions don’t help children learn from their mistakes. Instead, it encourages them to present a perfect picture. We have to accept that our children make mistakes. Otherwise, they are afraid to try something new. Over time, they won’t want to do anything at all.”

The consulting psychologist Dr. Gerard Louis, who is also the dean of the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, Education and Languages ​​at HELP University, said parenting styles have evolved a lot since he was a child. He noted that parents today must be willing to answer questions from their children.

“The children of my generation didn’t ask as many questions as children do today. I think it has a lot to do with personal rights and understanding the right to speak up and question what you think is valid.”

He added that parenting style also plays a crucial role in the child’s holistic development on the journey to adulthood. This includes how the parent interacts with the child through daily interactions, guidance, and the discipline method chosen.

“The most common style here is authoritarianism, where parents may be overprotective. It’s not ideal because if there isn’t room for error and improvement, it will have a negative impact on the child’s self-confidence,” he said.

“Parents who practice this style should know when to be authoritarian and when to be authoritarian. Different situations call for different parenting styles. When it comes to parenting, no one shoe fits all.”