Yes, mum and dad, you are an active parents and we appreciate you for that. But once you cross the line and become a helicopter parent, you know something’s going to go wrong. We tell you why we pick reflective parenting over active parenting.
We’ve all grown up instilled with the belief that good parents are active parents. In order to be the best mum or dad, you should actively play a part in your child’s life and constantly be in the know of their activities — right? Well, maybe it’s time to reconsider.
At Oreo’s recent event to promote bonding family moments, we joined three early childhood and youth specialists in an intimate round table discussion that touched on various parenting topics. The thorny issue of helicopter parenting was brought up when a parent queried if active parenting could become over-active and potentially lead to the disadvantageous hovering of a parent that could stifle the development of a child.
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While many did a double take when an expert chimed that perhaps parents shouln’t be active parents, it stirred our thoughts and forced numerous to ponder when the statement was ended with the conviction that parents should instead be reflective parents. How is reflective parenting different from active parenting — and what comprises reflective parenting anyway?
Active VS reflective parenting
While an active parent appears like the pinnacle of model parenting, perhaps it is time we took a step back and consider whether this very involvement is suffocating your child and stunting their independence. After all, it is the active parents who have a higher chance of turning into helicopter parents; intrusive and invasive controllers who, in an attempt to “help” their children, trespass into their personal space.
Conversely, reflective parents, in both senses of the word, mirror the values that they want to inculcate in their children and constantly mull over their actions and parenting styles. As shared by the panelists at the Oreo bonding family moments event, here are some ways mum and dad can practise reflective parenting.
Think, think, think!
We all know that parenthood is a lifetime career that never stops demanding our best, but that does not mean that we lose ourselves in the process. Active mums and dads should not fall into the trap of mindlessly shielding their child or going the extra mile (literally) for junior should he forget a textbook or insist on only eating a particular food.
What make a reflective parent different from an active one is the diligent thought process behind every action for their child. A reflective parent thinks and asks himself, “What works? What is good for my kid?” and consistently evaluates their own parenting styles for self improvement.
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Follow the leader
Yes, children are creatures of imitation and learn best through copying examples. A reflective parent should reflect the morals and behaviour they wish to project on their little ones and be a good role model both at home and in public. After all, children who see their parents wasting food would naturally think that such actions are acceptable and hence in turn adopt carelessly imprudent attitudes as well.
Taking a step back
More often than not, Singaporean parents get so caught up with paving the way for their precious children that they forget that maybe taking a step back and letting the child endeavour activities on their own could strengthen the sense of resilience in them. Perhaps, once we learn to let go and watch from a distance, it would pleasantly surprise us to realise how tough our little angels can grow up to be.
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