In the last few months, I have been giving a few Parenting talks. Had the privilege to be invited to Ngee Ann Primary, Tao Nan Primary (Thanks to our friends from Katong Kids) and also to SINDA, to speak to concerned parents about Social Media. As the exchanges have been fluid and interactive, here are some of my reflections about the talks.
- Parenting is a learning process for everyone
Every child is different, and parents must be fluid enough to speak into every child’s life. As a parent, we have come to realize that every child is different. Something which works on one child or one family, may not work in another.
Most parents desire a formula in order to handle the various parenting issues. However, there isn’t such a formula, and parents must learn and discern how best to encourage and nurture their child. The journey may be unpredictable, but definitely worth the effort.
2. Social Media is just one aspect of Parenting.
The repercussions of technology and its fallout is just one aspect of parenting. A few decades ago, parents had to deal with the repercussions of television, and how it was taking over their family dinners. Although the magnitude of the technology involved may vary, the parenting issues remain. Children don’t need a friend, they need a parent.
Parents need to make the “hard”decisions, and decide on what works best for their children. Family democracy and voting rights, should be kept for the teenage years, and parents need to be parents. As parents create the right environment for their kids, they will be nurtured in the best environment possible for their development.
3. Don’t over-police your kids
As much as we want to be parents, we must learn to let go, when the time comes! I did meet some parents who were constantly asking me, how they can “police” their kids, when their kids were smart enough to clear their browser caches. The Family home should be “safe zone”, where kids feel comfortable in expressing themselves. If we are implementing “FBI” policing procedures to monitor our children’s activities, perhaps it is time to let go.
Time limits with regard to the usage of tablets and media devices should be implemented from the onset. When liberty is given without measure, “pulling in the reins” is an almost impossible task, when kids enter their teenage years.
4. The Handphone Issue!
One of the most commonly asked questions…”What is the most appropriate age, for my child to get a mobile phone?” “If I get them a phone, can I limit them to an old Nokia Phone?”
In tackling this issue, Parents need to ask themselves the question,”Äre my kids ready to face issues like cyber bullying?” Cyberbullying occurs not just on facebook, but more often than not, it rears its ugly head in Chat groups. When your child is left out of chat groups, or when he/she is made fun of, does your child have the emotional capacity to deal with the snub?
Giving our kids an old Nokia phone gives our kids voice connectivity, and it may offer the best compromise to the issue of convenience. However, we must decide what works best for each family. For ourselves, we have chosen to even delay the Nokia phone.
We need to be parents, and decide what works best for our children! As one must have realized, all parents have their child’s best interest at heart. Parenting requires parents to recognize their values, and make decisions according to their values. It is these values, which will form a firm or loose foundation for every child’s life.