The fine art of parenting

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Studies have shown that a father's involvement is equally important for a child's overall wellbeing.
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In most cultures, mothers are usually seen as the primary caregiver to children, while the role of fathers is often relegated to providing security and financial support. But studies have shown that a father’s involvement is equally important for a child’s overall wellbeing.

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The ‘father effect’ in a child’s development

There have been some narrow views of parenting shared by many cultures throughout history. One such notion suggests that mothers should be the nurturer and primary caregiver to children, while a father’s role in a child’s upbringing should be relegated to that of security and financial provider. However, as the centuries have progressed so too have the attitudes toward parenting and the very necessary role fatherhood plays in a child’s life.

Research has shown just how important a father’s involvement is for a child’s overall wellbeing, citing higher IQ scores, fewer psychological issues and even lower rates of obesity, according to fatherly.com. Though studies of fatherhood and the “father effect” are a relatively new undertaking, there are certain fatherly activities that have been proven to deliver lasting benefits to a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive growth.

Reading and telling stories help with language and literacy development, and are great ways for parents to bond with their children.

Developing a sense of secure attachment from birth is essential to a child’s emotional development and to a child’s abilities to form healthy relationships well into adulthood. Feeling secure allows young children to easily transition into new environments and to demonstrate greater comfort with changing situations. Loving, cuddling interactions that parents have with their child go a long way in helping a baby grow and develop into a successful person. Simply by holding, feeding or bathing his baby, a father is contributing to this valuable sense of security and establishing a loving bond that will help his child build meaningful life-long relationships.

As children grow older, another healthy way dads positively shape their little one’s social and emotional behavior is through rough and tumble play. Rolling on the floor, piggy back rides and games of tag — all the fun physical games dads naturally enjoy — are extremely beneficial to a young child’s physical and cognitive development. It is especially important for establishing boundaries and impulse control.

Sharing a hobby or engaging in a favorite pastime is another way fathers can connect and bond with their children. Golf, table tennis, fishing or any type of meaningful activity gives dads an opportunity to share their interests and their lives with their child. Not only is the child being exposed to life skills such as goal setting and problem solving, he or she is also developing a stronger, more valuable child-parent connection. Plus, what’s more important than the activity itself is the quality time father and child are spending together.

All children are emotional beings who benefit greatly from parents, both mother and father, who are present, loving and approachable; therefore, strong parental connections are vital for a child’s healthy cognitive and emotional development.

Mothers and fathers are children’s first and most important teachers; when parents intentionally share their love, time and feelings with their child. It is no surprise that he or she is happier and more well-adjusted individual from childhood through adulthood.

(The article is contributed by Emily Hays, Adelina Johnson, Michelle Wee and Jennifer Shipley, pre-K teachers at Concordia International School Shanghai.)

Good parenting starts by understanding teens

It is so hard to be a parent nowadays. Should I be a cool dad or a strict dad? Should I allow my daughter to be glued to her phone screen for 16 hours a day or should I confiscate her phone? This is the biggest dilemma/challenge for parents in the 21st century.

Reduce screen time! By parenting responsibly! But how?

Here are some key strategies to parent a teen more effectively.

1. Decide the rules together. Discuss the benefits of real world activities and decide what balance will work for both you and your teen.

2. Avoid teasing them. Once you have decided on rule, state to your teen that you will both be happier if you are allowed to remind them of the rule without a battle. Choose a key phrase together, something neutral like, “Can we have some real world time,” and both agree in advance for it to be a non-combative phrase. A short script for a tense moment that you both agree upon can defuse tension.

3. Choose your battles wisely.

4. Do not read too many parenting books. Every kid is unique.

5. Invite their friends for dinner or another activity.

Doruk Gurkan is assistant principal of Senior School at SSIS.

Good parenting starts with understanding the needs of a teen.

Spending more time with your child and doing some of her favorite activities together will definitely help you understand what excites them.

However, sometimes it is not easy to approach teens, as they would like to be only with their peers.

They must be teenagers. Don’t despair. It’s natural — and important — for kids to break away from their parents at this age. This emotional separation allows them to become well-adjusted adults.

Give them space. Every so often plan fun activities together, and let your teen be the decision maker.

Then take advantage of the moment when you have this time together.

(The article is contributed by Doruk Gurkan, assistant principal of Senior School at SSIS.)

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