Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A paradigm shift in parenting style

I have had a paradigm shift in my parenting beliefs. I am beginning to think that the authoritarian style of parenting actually produces better results. This goes against my instinct as an "attachment style" enthusiast. I am far more comfortable with nurturing, loving and protecting, than with strict, harsh discipline. Which is not to say that I cannot discipline. Oh no. I pride myself in how I reared my first born when his Daddy was in jail. He is strong willed and I prayed and clashed with him until his will was shaped. (Shape it don't break it!)

But in recent years I focused my energy on showering my kids with love and attention. One of the things that Dr. Dobson wrote in his book: The New Dare To Discipline, reinforced this for me...

Question: Look over your twenty-five years of dealing with parents and children. What is the very best disciplinary advice you can offer? What technique or method will help us manage our kids better than any other you've seen attempted?

Answer: My answer may not be what you expected, but it represents something I've observed frequently and know to be valid. The best way to get children to do what you want is to spend time with them before disciplinary problems occur- having fun together and enjoying mutual laughter and joy. When those moments of love and closeness happen, kids are not as tempted to challenge and test the limits. Many confrontations can be avoided by building friendships with kids and thereby making them want to cooperate at home. It sure beats anger as a motivator of little ones.

I'm not saying I disagree with this now. I just think I need to come to center on this issue a little more. The moment I had this epiphany came as I watched my friend tell her son to do something and he immediately obeyed. It struck me that she must be doing something right. My lax ways are creating little monsters and perhaps a little authoritarianism will do them good.

In some Asian communities (though not Cambodian), compliments are rarely given out. If a person is silent, then you can assume that they like what you have done. It's opposite in our society, where silence usually condones dislike (for instance you have over-salted the meal). While I think this is harsh and cruel... look at the results: Asians are (generally) over acheivers. My friend who teaches at an elite test-in school, teaches many Asian students. She says they are starved for approval- and of course very high acheivers. (Please forgive me for stereotyping an entire race here, it's just an example. I know there are exceptions).

So what am I going to do from here? Well, I'm going to start bossing my children around more. That sounds funny I know, but I'm serious. If they get into more of a a habbit of obeying me, then they'll be more quick about obeying in the future.

Oh, and by the way, I have a friend who has the annoying habbit of thinking she knows how to better discipline my children. This is offensive, so as tempted as you are, please don't email this blog to that friend of yours with the little brats. Ha ha.


  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger Bruce said…

    Some Scandinavian and Scottish cultures are really skimpy in passing out praise too. (I told my wife I loved her when we got married, and if anything changes I'll let her know.) So both my wife and I reacted to that and emphasized the love and connection parts. We were unclear on how to mix love and authority.

    Yeah, a good mix of authority and loving emotional connection is the best. Hard to get to, hard to stay at. I think I'm about ready to start now.


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