Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our parenting style.

I am involved in a couple of forums and over the course of time, there has been many discussions about parenting style and how we deal with issues like punishment/discipline, CIO (crying-it-out)/sleep training etc. Sometimes I am left shaking my head at some comments and sometimes I can totally see myself doing the same thing. I do not particularly subscribe to *one* style of parenting but like most parents, combine what works for my child and my family. I thought that since we'll soon be facing the challenge of parenting another child, this is a good time to write down what has worked for us so far. Of course I am also bearing in mind that every child is different and every child need something different from the other to grow and flourish.

What worked so far for us as parents (I will try to note down what we did from birth wise)?

1) Lots of contact/affections.
We are a very affectionate family. From the birth of Laetitia, I love love love to carry her and keep her close to me. I wear her very often and give her kisses and hugs ALL THE TIME.
Now that she is older, we do "family hug" time when the three of us do a group hug and we sing a little song that goes something along the line of "I love you, you love me, we are one big family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you (at this point we will kiss each other), won't you say you love me too." We say I love you to each other all the time too.

2) Sleep training
Yes, I do sleep train my child. I agree with most of what the book "Healthy sleep habits, happy baby" states. Children need their sleep and some of them need to be taught to sleep well. We did controlled crying and shushing but not outright CIO. We also had Laetitia sleeping by herself in her room from about two or three months old. Even now, at 2 and a half, we sometimes have to let her cry a little before sleeping (she would protest about going to bed even though we can see she is tired) and if she wakes up in the middle of the night, we try to let her settle by herself (of course we listen to see if the cry is just a cry for attention or something else like if she fell off the bed or had a nightmare!)

3) Objectivity - Lots of praise and also reminders of what is not encouraged.
I believe in praising the child to build his/her confidence. I tell Laetitia she did a good job, that I am proud of her (like if she shares), I am pleased that she was well-behaved, it was nice that she did something etc whenever I catch with good behaviour. I encourages her to do things by praising her and telling her how pleased I will be if she could do this or that. On the other side of the coin, I do not hesitate to tell her that something she did is "not nice", that what she did made me unhappy etc if she misbehaves. That sometimes would stop her but if that does not, then I do not hesitate to either let her face the natural or imposed consequences.

4) Discipline - firm but no spanking.
I believe in disciplining a child. I believe that a child has to be taught what is right and wrong. And I believe that a child should learn respect and his/her limits. Oh, but let me say that I do not believe that a child under one year old really understands the concept of control so this did not apply until Laetitia was about one year old.
I started imposing time out but putting her in the carseat she had outgrown and locking her in so that she cannot get out when she is being punished. At that point (one year old), it was for one minute. Right after she was punished, I would explain to her why I did that and what she did that was not desired (maybe biting me repeated or something along those lines). Now, she is usually told that she did something mean and if she didn't stop, she would be sent to her room. And when she throws little tantrums, I would usually first tell her I do not like that behaviour, and then ignore her by walking away.

5) Giving autonomy/teaching independence while maintaining control.
We allow Laetitia a certain degree of autonomy and encourages independence. For about a year now she has been feeding herself during mealtimes. She is also able to spend half an hour by herself playing in her room several times a day. We let her decide what she wants to wear, which plate she wants to use, what desserts she wants after the meal (from a choice of two) etc.
And of course there are certain things she has to listen to us, for example, when is bedtime, what type of activities are forbidden (climbing unto the table, playing in the kitchen etc).

I'm sure there are more to what we do but for now, this will suffice.


Anonymous said...

After reading all that, the thing that most caught my attention was "the challenge of raising another child". Are congratulatons in order ?

Anonymous said...

Hahahahha.... Very observant my friend. Yes, we're expecting an addition to the family late Feb.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was caught by what u wrote 'the challenge of raising another child'...


Anyway, thanks for sharing on your way of parenting style

Anonymous said...

Congratulations !! I'm excited for you & E. Laetitia is going to be so thrilled to have a little brother or sister.

So when are you coming to visit ?