This is the 3rd and last article condensed from a workshop conducted for young parents over three Saturday afternoons. The topics are:
Part 3: Purposeful Parenting
The workshop is based on the book, “A Guide to Purposeful Parenting: harnessing your children’s love for you” written by Dr. Lian-Ding Eliza. She is a child psychologist and had practiced in the West and in Singapore.
Nurturing a Secure Base
Let us now look at nurturing a secure base for a child. Nothing or no one else can replace the parents. The parent-child relationship is a primary dyadic and foundational in one's life. No matter how caring another adult can be, he cannot replace a parent or both. Father and mother each play a unique role in a child’s life. No matter how bad external situations may be, home is where a child is most comfortable and secure. This is his/her base which needs to be nurtured. For those with more than 1 child, who do you concentrate on? How will the dynamics change when they start school?
Parenting under Pressure
By divine design, a parent is granted an incredible opportunity for a lasting impact on another human being. However, our high-pressure society places multiple demands on the parents to ensure that their children excel. Do you have examples of such demand? We have great expectations which takes its toll on us and leave very little at the end of each day.
A Mother’s Privilege
By nature, both physically and emotionally, mothers are in a closer relationship with their child until they're about 5 years old. Dr. Eliza promotes that the mother should stay at home. Is this concept deemed to be archaic today? Full-time motherhood has its various challenges from the new-born to school-going phases.
A United Front
Every child finds security in a united home. When both parents cooperate and reinforce each other's action and values, the child is likely to embrace their values. When parents disagree on any matter, the child will exploit it and/or end up confused. One parent may disapprove of the other parent’s action e.g. in discipline. It's best not to contradict in front of the child but things can be discussed later without his/her presence.
Shaping the Will
The father’s word is the law. Can anyone relate to this? ("It's my way or the highway.") In today’s environment with easy access to social media and “western” influence, such an attitude is deemed “old school” and out of touch with reality. But is it? The challenge for parents is being a better listener and respecting your children, beginning from a young age. Of course, when your children are adults, I find it’s easier to respect them as they have developed a will of their own.
Effects of Device Usage on Attachment & Development
The prevalence of digital devices and their usage have a profound effect on a child’s attachment and development. Most of you are aware of the ill effects of social and mass media.
Such media does not allow meaningful two-way interaction with others, and this affects social development in children.
They are addictive even for adults.
The fast nature of absorbing online content does not allow pause for intellectual analysis. It also shortens one's attention span.
It creates a distorted reality and desensitisation. Most content are usually violent, explicit or distorted social and cultural norms. It is concerning when clearly wrong behaviours are depicted as acceptable norms e.g. LGBT lifestyle, promiscuity and divorce etc.
It is important to determine what kind of children we want to raise and what it takes to accomplish that. I am sure most of you would have thought about this and already have an ideal model. To achieve this, the first thing is to connect well with your child so that you can mould and guide them.
All of us as young parents started off in unchartered waters; each child is uniquely made to set sail in their own way. Some of the considerations are:
Perseverance in Raising Gifts of Life
A child is a gift from God - training them with values for a life well lived is every parent’s challenge. We can only persevere with the help of God. Remember we are human and therefore imperfect... only the perfect God can perfectly mould our child. But that does not relieve us of our duty as parents.
God gave us two ears but only one mouth, so listen more. That includes listening to our children. Young children often need more time to form their sentences and may even repeat themselves more than once. In our impatience, we may cut them off or try to finish their sentences. How many of you are guilty of this?
Open your Heart
Parenting is about developing relationships with your kids, and the core of it is heart-to-heart talks and moments.
There is no substitute for time with your child. Do not be fooled that quality time can be substituted with lesser time spent with him/her.
Taking Time to Play
While children are young, it’s easier to have playtime since they play all the time. But when they grow older, it gets difficult with so many other demands on their time. This is even more important for each family to intentionally be together to play, or even to just “waste” time. And this should be done not only during school holidays. Make playtime regular, even during the examination fever seasons.
To watch the full Part 3 lecture, you may also view it here:
About the author:
Young Kwang and his wife Iris, both 62, have been married 36 years. They have 3 grown children and 1 grandson. Though they grew up in typical Taoist families, they accepted Christ while overseas, and met each other when studying in Canberra, Australia. They have been members of Jurong Christian Church for almost 30 years and serve in various ministries.