This is a 2-part series on a workshop that I’ve attended at Singapore Rise and Shine Expo, by Dr Peter Sears, ‘Raising smart and ALSO well-behaved child – Is it true that we shouldn’t spare the rod and spoil the child?’ Last year, I attended his father, Dr Bill Sears, at the same expo on raising healthy child and attachment parenting.
Dr. Peter Sears is board-certified by The American Academy of Family Practitioners. His primary passion in medicine is to promote well-being and health through the practice of preventive medicine at all ages along with using traditional and complementary treatments for curing of disease. More on Dr Peter Sears
Which Parenting Style Works Best?
Dr Peter Sears started the talk reminding parents that no one technique will work for every child, but instead he believes that forming a trusting bond with the child is the foundation for parenting. Dr Sears (family) believe in attachment parenting, which is being responsive and close to the baby especially in the first six months of birth. It is the natural way to parent because it is nurturing the baby according to the mother’s instinct.
More on attachment parenting, the 7 Bs in Dr Bill Sears’ talk
- Birth bonding
- Baby wearing
- Bed Sharing
- Believe Baby’s Cries
- Beware of Baby Trainers
With attachment parenting as the foundation to build trust between parent and child, Dr Sears observed in their family practice that it will lead to the following desirable C Outcomes in kids:
- Caring kids
- Comfortable with intimacy
- Confident kids
- Confident parents
Dr Sears’ Pros and Cons in Parenting Styles
Authoritarian Style – This parenting style tends towards a command and control approach with a focus on wrong-doing and punishment. Spanking is often part of this parenting style. The positives of this style is that it is very clear to the child that the parent is in-charge and the child needs to obey. The parent being in-charge is important as a growing child needs guidance, direction and security.
The negative of this style is the potential pitfall of taking love from the parent-child relationship and inadequate positive reinforcements for the child. There is also a danger of the child engaging in the desired behavior out of fear, instead of out of respect. Moreover, the desired behavior does not come from self (child) who is able to think through the consequences and exercise inner control.
Permissive Style – This parenting style is characterized with warmth and affection, but with few or unclear limits. While it is good that there is much positive reinforcement given to the child, the negative is that the child takes control.
Authoritative Style – A more balanced parenting approach is to combine the positives of the above two styles, which gives the child love and warmth with structure. While this parenting style allows the child to thrive the best, it also requires more dedication, responsibility and creativity from parents. (It takes MORE work!) An authoritative parenting style fosters competence and mature moral judgment in the child, lowering the risk for problem behavior.
Is Spanking OK?
Dr Peter Sears explained that cultural and society settings affect whether spanking is involved in parenting. For instance, many European countries, Canada and New Zealand have legislation prohibiting spanking. This comes from studies that spanking has adverse effects that are associated with anti-social behavior, decreased rate of school performance and more behavioral and mental issues (for instance, depression and bi-polar).
Spanking may also send the wrong message that physical force is the way to resolve conflicts or issues.
It is also very easy for parents to cross the line as physical force may be used when parents are stressed or a stronger force may hurt the child.
Dr Peter Sears provided alternatives to spanking, such as time-outs and explaining the consequences of misbehavior. Parents can engage in re-wind/ replay scenarios with the child to guide the child towards right behavior.
There is much balance required in parenting and next week, we will be sharing various aspects from Dr Peter Sears. Gratitude to Dr Peter Sears for taking time to review this blog post.