We’ve reached a new year, another year for parents to raise their children to be better and kinder each day. This year, try taking your parenting a step further to build and strengthen your relationship with your child.
Here’s some advice for parents of young children and teenagers.
Parents with young children:
- Love them and express this in action: The stereotype of an Asian family is that parents don’t often outwardly show or express love to their child. So give your child hugs, spend time with them, and listen to their problems on a daily basis. Feel-good hormones like oxytocin are released when these acts of love are performed. These neurochemicals can give us a deep sense of peace, emotional warmth and contentment, and the child will build resilience and a closer relationship with you as a result.
- Violence is not the answer: When your child does something wrong, it’s okay to be upset or angry. However, hitting your child for their misdeeds is not the right answer, as it would instill fear in your child and would likely manifest as negative emotions. Children who have been spanked, smacked, or hit are more inclined to fight with other kids. They are more likely to become bullies and resort to verbal and physical violence to resolve conflicts. They are also more likely to engage in delinquency and antisocial behavior later in life, as well as display poor parent-child interactions, mental health issues, and become victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
- Read parenting books or research papers: A variety of books and research papers on parenting are widely available – they cover parenting approaches, practices and advice.
- Communication is key: Asian parents are thought to be cold and distant with their children. But if we don’t take the time to explain our values and motivations, our children will begin to question whether they are valid. Reasoning with children allows them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental manner.
Parents with teenagers:
- Listen more: Teens, like us fully-evolved individuals, want to be respected and listened to. Be a “safe” and available person for your child to chat to at all times. That doesn’t indicate you have to accept or agree with everything your kid says, but allowing them to speak freely (without interrupting) allows them to hear their own views spoken out. It also gives them insight into their problem-solving capabilities and limitations. That’s something that you can utilize to assist them.
- Respect and understand boundaries: As teens get older, they are more inclined to be alone and would not want to interact with others. To most parents, that’s the most absurd thing ever. However, as a parent you must respect that they wanted to be a bit independent, they will need a lot of opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them in order to develop sound judgment. Encourage them to continue their education.
- Be realistic: Parents aren’t born perfect – take accountability for your own blunder and errors. When it’s appropriate, apologize. Demonstrate to your children that you, too, are “a work in progress.” All we can hope for from ourselves and others is growth rather than perfection.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. There’s no perfect way for disciplining your children. But always remember to be a better parent to your child and not make them strive to reach expectations way beyond their capabilities. Don’t forget to give yourself a break as well.