Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Common-Sense Parenting

I open the booklet by Gary Ezzo and these are the first few lines I read:

"Whatever happened to common-sense parenting? In recent years, the methods of raising a family have changed dramatically. Young parents today are constantly  subjected to new research, theories, and findings on the latest methods of parenting. Unfortunately, their children usually end up as casualties of these methods."

I can't agree with the author more. Parenthood should be one of the most natural thing to human being, it should be second nature because this is how we are designed to be - getting married, giving birth and raising up children in a family. Parenthood is not intended to be an overwhelming burden, like Gary has mentioned, rather, it should be a rewarding privilege - to love and nurture our children and see them grow.

Our parents, parents' parents and our ancestors back to a few thousand years back, have all done the job, easily and pretty well I will say. They have raised great leaders, politicians and revolutionaries, bright scientists and inventors, talented artists and musicians, and some even, genius. How many parenting books or websites were available then? I am sure Abraham Lincoln's mum did not have a book "How to raise an American President" to refer to, yet Abraham Lincoln once acknowledged, "All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother." What about now? I feel overwhelmed by the number of parenting books and websites that teach us everything about raising up a kid. Yes I know it is not easy to bring up a kid, especially to building up character and instill good value. There is a saying in Chinese that "It takes 10 years to grow a tree, and 100 years to train a person.". I think the most important thing for parents is to be aware of your parenting style and be sure of your core values and beliefs. We will leave the second point to later.

Anyway, I read this book (or rather a booklet) that summarizes all the wrong parenting types and of course tells you what the balanced parenting type should be. It is so true and so easy to understand and just as the title suggests - it is common-sense. There are the permissive parent - He is not particularly concerned about obedience and acceptable social behavior for his children; the over-protective parent - The parent tells the child exactly what to do and how to do it, or even do it for him; the bribing parent - The bribing parent barter with his children for acceptable behavior by using bribes, threats, or even scare tactics to gain temporary control of their behavior; the threatening parent - Constant repetition of commands or directions to his children, followed by repeated threats if they do not obey. The parent is clearly trying to establish authority using the wrong way; the absent/substitute parent - The well-meaning parent is involved with the future of his family at the expense of the present - a philosophy which does not work yet is very prevalent in today's society; the manipulating parent - He seeks to gain control over his child's outward behavior by appealing to his basic and dependent emotions; the unapproachable/discouraging parent - The type itself is self-explanatory. The parent is unapproachable and discouraging, because he is too busy to be interrupted or available. Lastly the child-centerd parent - This is again self-explanatory. And many of us feel we are this type at one point or another, because our children has become our universe.

So finally what's the balanced parenting type?

Firstly, the parent must balance the four essential truths of training - love, discipline, training and example. Love without discipline produces a child who is spoiled. Discipline without love produces a discouraged child with a broken spirit. Teaching without example produces a child who is bitter and full of resentment, and also likely to be rebellious in his growing up years. And example without teaching produces a child who is exasperated and insecure.

Secondly, the parent knows when to allow his children freedom and when to pull in the reins. He knows how to train a child in obedience without gimmicks.

Thirdly, the parent knows the importance of Dad's presence in the house. Dad needs to have time for his children. He needs to speak positive and life into the children. And he also knows that there is a time for listening and a time for talking.

Finally, the balanced parent puts the husband-wife relationship first. The children are the welcome member of the family but not the center of it. The strongest families have the strongest marriages.

Aren't these simple truths that never change with time?

Note: This is a summary of the book "The Bible and Common-Sense Parenting" by Gary Ezzo. You can get a copy from Growing Family International Singapore. For more books and resources on parenting by Gary Ezzo, you may refer to the Ezzotruth website.

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