Spoiling your children spoils their futures

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Being a first-time parent can be nerve-wracking.

Once you bring your newborn home, you start to realize that you are the guardian of a beautiful yet fragile being, who needs your help to eat, bathe and clothe himself or herself for the next five or six years.

You also play a huge part in molding how your child will become since you wield great influence over him or her for the first decade of his or her life.

To help you navigate these uncharted waters, you would naturally ask people that you know could help lead the way: your own parents.

But what if you want to do things differently for your own children?

CNN Philippines spoke to parenting expert Maribel Dionisio to find out not only how parenting has evolved over the years, but also to understand the best practices in modern parenting.

Putting them down

Marcos, Lenin, Hirohito, Amin and Brezhnev.

These names go down in history as some of the world's most infamous autocrats or people who ruled with absolute power.

Indeed, Dionisio said the autocratic style of parenting, which was the trend in the 1950s, was like the parent being the master and the child being the slave.

"I'm the parent. You have to respect me. I don't care whatever I do. You should not take it against me that I am behaving this way because I am the parent," she said.

She also said all the children have to do is follow whatever their parents ordered or face harsh punishments.

However, Dionisio said although the method was meant to supposedly challenge the child to be obedient, it could actually make things worse.

"The child has this feeling, "If I make a mistake, if I have a low grade, I should not show it to my parent because I know they will scream at me,"" she said.

"So the effect on the child is, they will just give you the good news," she added. "The bad news? They will try to hide it. They will cheat. They will change their grades because they fear the parent."

Making them the boss

"Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Dionisio said this was the mantra of the 1960s, when the permissive style of raising children became the trend.

However, she said this is a terrible way to raise a child.

"The child is not disciplined," she said. "These (are) kids who can really misbehave because they have no limits.

They think, "It's all right. I'll spank my classmate. I'll bite my classmate. Or I will get her food or his food,"" she added.

She added that the permissive style gives children an unrealistic view of the world.

"They think that the whole world is going to adjust to them because the parent is there at their service," she said. "You have spoiled kids and these are bad candidates for marriage. You don't like to hire them, as well, in the workplace, so it can be very difficult for them later on."

The sweet spot

By the 1970s, Dionisio said parenting experts devised the democratic parenting style, which took the best elements of the autocratic and permissive styles.

"What they did, like the autocratic, there are house rules," she said. "But now, the house rules are negotiable. And then there are choices. "You want A, B or C?" But there are limits."

Dionisio added that for the democratic style to work, you need to learn and adapt to the personality of your child.

"That's why the time we make in the first 10 years of the child is crucial because that will help give us an idea of, "What does this child like?"" she said.

Another important aspect of the democratic style is that the parent and child maintain openness and respect for each other.

"The parent will listen first to the child and then they will speak in a nice voice," Dionisio said. "It's just like they're talking to their friend, in a sense. No screaming, no yelling or no raising of voice."

"So that respect is very important because in the democratic style of parenting, we have to work towards respecting our children," she added

Dionisio used the struggle of feeding young children as an example of how the democratic style could work.

She said at three-to-four years old, children need nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin C, but that they can be difficult to feed because they would rather go around and play.

"Do not force, but try to explain," she said. "If you cannot explain, offer an alternative. If you wait for them, you tire them out, then have a variety of food items available to them."

As a result, Dionisio said children can become self-reliant and critical people.

"It's not making the kid the boss or the king of the house, but it's really developing the child to be confident and to be responsible," she said. "We want to contribute to society a confident, responsible child or young adult."

Meanwhile, Anchor Brand Manager Rica Mateo said parents should allow their children to fail to help them become better people.

"Parents mean well when they protect their children from difficulties, but as they face the bigger world, these kids are often unprepared," she said.

"A child’s greatness comes in the way he or she handles the setbacks if he or she uses it as an inspiration to respond with more grit and determination rather than just giving up," she added

Mateo said this mindset is at the heart of Anchor’s advocacy in raising #StrongNotSheltered kids, who are armed with the best dairy nutrition by giving them only the natural goodness of Whole Milk to help them bounce back stronger from setbacks.

Because it is made from whole milk, Anchor provides a high source of protein and calcium in every drop without hydrogenated vegetable oil. It has natural milk fat for that rich and creamy taste.

The company also said Anchor Whole Milk comes from New Zealand, where cows are grass-fed, making the milk rich in antioxidants. This allows it to provide pure and natural dairy nourishment to feed the greatness in your family.

Going on your own

However, Dionisio said some parents may try to continue the parenting techniques passed down from their parents.

""I was brought up this way, therefore I should use the same on you,"" she said. "But it does not work always that way."

Dionisio said you as parents need to evaluate this advice carefully and compare it with other sources.

"You can just tell, "Mom, that sounds good," especially when Mom says, "That's what I did with you. That's what I used,"" she said. "As a parent, we parents have to be equipped with the basic principles in parenting, so that we will know how to be creative in implementing these."

Dionisio said attending parenting seminars and reading parenting books can go a long way in learning the best parenting practices.

"It's a matter of education," she said. "And if we have information, things can be easier for both Papa and Mama or whether you are a single parent also."

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