What is a modern-day parent? Does it involve foregoing the rod and giving children the liberty to make decisions at a young age? Is a modern-day parent more open and liberated than the parents before them? It’s quite difficult to find an accurate definition of modern parenthood because child-rearing styles vary per race, culture, and generation. There are 20-something parents who follow the code of discipline they had during their time while there are others who create their own rules, giving their children greater freedom.
Regardless of your parenting style, here are five things you should take note of if you’re raising kids aged 10 and below, especially if you’re first-time parents.
You give in, you lose
A trip to the supermarket gives you an evident reason why you may hate modern-day parenting. Toddlers throwing tantrums, or food items, in public places can be really stressful. If you’re a parent, you’re either giving in to your child’s qualms in exchange for a peaceful shopping or you let your kid wail until you earn the ire of other patrons.
What’s a parent got to do?
Abby, a 25-year-old mother of twins, found ways to fix the problem. Before she leaves with her three-year-olds, she makes sure they’re fed. Most of the time, Abby opts for delivery services and online shopping or asks her husband to watch over the kids while she runs errands. If she can help it, she keeps the little kids at home.
Assess a parenting style before using it
If you’re a millennial parent, you know that going to bed early is a non-negotiable rule for youngsters. Your parents made it clear that the TV should be turned off at 9 p.m. and everybody’s tucked in by then. There were no cell phones yet, and even if there were, only adults owned them. Nevertheless, no gadgets were brought to bed—just you and a good’s night sleep that awaits.
In this age of smartphones and tablets, do these rules still apply?
George and Melinda, both in their early 30s, don’t believe in setting a sleep curfew on their 10-year-old daughter. They claim that their child can discipline herself to wake up early for school regardless of the hour she chooses to sleep at night. Melinda bought a high-quality memory foam mattress for their daughter to make sure she gets quality sleep. George justifies their parenting style as a way of teaching their kid to be accountable for her actions—“she stays up late, she’ll feel groggy in the morning.”
Give them freedom, but set limits
Freedom is not absolute, and your child should know about it. It is said that modern parenting is all about ditching the disciplinarian role and acting as a facilitator instead. “Don’t impose. Guide,” many first-time parents say. Letting little kids know that they can do what their heart wishes for without explaining the limits of such freedom, as well as the consequences, is risky. Raising a generation of adults with a false sense of entitlement is one of the reasons why you might soon be regretting this modern-parent view.
“Freedom involves attaining laws of nature (mind) and rising above conditions. Laws that regulate natural processes and our lives are also embedded in our minds—they cannot be externally imposed,” according to a study on parenting practices.
Diana, a 35-year-old single mother, strives to strike a balance between freedom and discipline. She allows her seven-year-old son to help plan their weekly meals, provided that they’re both eating the right food. She also sets a “cheat day” when they can have pizza, chips, and chocolates for two meals in a week
Let others discipline your child
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” You’re sending your kids to school not only for academic knowledge but also for the training on how to follow rules. While you should be monitoring your child’s growth and development, you should also let teachers and other carers do their job in rearing your kid.
Justin and Rose used to be regularly called to the principal’s office for their eight-year-old son Jake’s many troubles in school. Initially, Justin would side with his son and scold the schoolmaster for putting his child in detention. This didn’t stop Jake from doing mischief if any, he felt a boost of confidence whenever his father interferes with the school’s disciplinary measures. Finally, Rose stepped up and delivered the punishment his son needed. She also supported the school’s unbiased methods in imposing rules.
Take it easy
A study suggests that being an “intense mother” is linked to decreased well-being. According to researchers, “the belief that women are the essential parent was related to lower life satisfaction and believing that parenting is challenging was related to greater depression and stress.”
Andrea, a first-time mother in her late 20s, left her career as a bank executive to raise her daughter. She was well-prepared to play the role of a full-time parent, or so she thought. Nothing in the parenting books and podcasts taught her how to manage her over-involvement with her child. She barely goes out, save for a few hours to the grocery with her husband. In less than six months after childbirth, Andrea lost 40 pounds and was on the verge of breaking down.
Take it easy. Find time to relax. Accept assistance from other people, whether it’s extra time for you to catch a movie or a favor to run errands.
Parenthood, regardless of parenting style, is a lifetime career with no salary, vacation leave or retirement. To raise another human being is the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. It’s not something that you can undo if you commit mistakes. Most of the time, there are no second chances when damage is done. Mistakes are inevitable, but learn from them. No one is born to be a parent. We choose to be one.