Last weekend I attended a session on “Effective Parenting” by Dr Brunda Amrutraj – Clinical Psychologist, organized by a major IT company for their employees and spouse. Initially I was reluctant to attend this session – after all, I am a woman and a mother and I ought to know how to raise a child. But when we entered the auditorium I noticed that it was full, and I felt a little better as a women and far better as a parent. Or was it an instant empathy on seeing fellow victims of parenthood marred by nuclear family structure, and aspiring to draw a balance between family and career?
The ice-breaking question was inviting enough to break the silence of audience. “Why is it that parenting is really a big deal, nowadays ? There are blogs, classes, counselling sessions, depression, stress all associated with parenting? Isn’t it supposed to be an ancient nurturing bond that comes to us instinctively”? All of us said all sort of things, but “overload” of information was zeored on as the main culprit adding stress in parenting.
Parenting is an art and skill. Art for its natural instinct that comes from within with constant need of innovation, creativity and expression for addressing needs of a child. Skill as it demands a fair amount of abilities to be developed within a given amount of time, energy to raise a child. More often than not, a mother is expected to demonstrate an art out of maternal instincts rather than developing skills which are child specific.
With a combination of this art and acquired skills are born parenting styles. Primarily three types :
1. Authoritarian Parenting Style : In this style of parenting, parents are very demanding and less responsive. They impose absolutely strict discipline on the child. For every aspect of their life be it studies, sports, friends circle, pursuits, they choose, decide, declare on behalf of the child and impose their set of rules and punishment without much logical explanations. A word given by such parents has to be followed without any questions asked. Often in the attempt to raise an overtly obedient child, such parents forget the child has an identity, likes/dislikes of his own and a right to express it regardless of his age. The affect on a child of this style of parenting?
– Very good at following set of predefined rules at home or school.
– Lacks self discipline, own judgement, boundaries and self control.
– Display aggressive behaviour outside home or free zone.
– Has lower self-esteem and equates materialistic success with love in adulthood.
– Shies away and acts awkwardly in social settings as nobody is there to tell him ‘what to do’.