Thursday, 31 August 2023

Gentle Parenting to Raise Happy and Confident Children

During the recent Bincang Inspiratif, host Bayu Octara engaged in a conversation with Roslina Verauli, a renowned psychologist and expert in child, adolescent, and family matters. Throughout the discussion, she advocated for a shift towards gentle parenting patterns, urging parents to move away from the more commonly employed authoritarian parenting style.


The objective is to raise happy and confident children because they can fully interact with their parents and not just receive instruction and punishment when they make mistakes.


A gentle parenting approach is characterized by profound kindness, empathy, and respect for children. In this style, parents consistently strive to treat their children as equals during interactions, valuing their perspectives and feelings. They listen to the complaints and wishes of the kids and are open to finding a mutually agreed solution, but still setting clear boundaries.


“The purpose of gentle parenting is to make them confident so that they can regulate themselves. That way they have options and can express their own opinion,” said the mother of two sons.


Authoritarian Parenting


But before discussing the new parenting style, Bayu and Roslina shared their childhood experiences. Their parents adopted authoritarian parenting, which was dominated by acts of anger, punishment, and even violence. In their relationship with their parents, the communication was one-sided. They were expected to strictly follow instructions regarding bathing, studying, and completing their homework.


“When I think about my parents, what often stands out in my memories is the anger and punishment they imposed on me in the past,” said the YouTuber.


Under the authoritarian parenting method, parents have the final say on everything, and children have no choice but to obey; although they suffer from emotional scars, they will endure for the rest of their lives.


“I were forced to study, bathe and do my homework. There were always anger and punishment. What I remember is that in parenting, I must be harsh and use punishment to make it effective and easy,” said Roslina, a graduate of the faculty of psychology at the University of Indonesia.


Roslina emphasized that in today’s digital era, the tolerance for frustration has decreased, making such parenting methods outdated. She pointed out that many young parents pledge not to replicate the traumatic experiences they had with their own parents, who resorted to authoritarian techniques that often led to verbal and physical violence.


“They do not have much time to be connected with their children. Parents are absent in their life, especially dads. Children are nurtured by their nannies or their grandparents, who often come and go. They have no bounded connection with their parents,” Roslina said.


Gentle Parenting


The purpose of gentle parenting is to make children confident that they can manage themselves. That they have options and that they can express their own opinion. Children are now allowed to show their emotions as parents permit them to be angry, to cry.


“We are all human beings with emotions. It is essential to comprehend children’s expectations and demonstrate empathy towards them. As fellow humans, we should openly express our empathy when we recognize their sadness. Words can be a powerful tool for conveying our emotions,” Roslina pointed out.


“We might experience anger with our kids, but resorting to violence is not acceptable. Children require boundaries and rules in their lives, just like the rules of a game. They can learn that expressing frustration by shouting at their parents is not appropriate,” emphasized the renowned psychologist.


But first of all, we must be connected with them, and then we can make corrections. Connecting first and then correcting. Make sure that we are on the same level first with them or they will see the figure of their parents as bossy and authoritarian. If we are disconnected with the children, we cannot correct the kids.


Parents must understand that sometimes children’s emotion is very deep. That is why when they cry or feel sad, they will sleep. Children need to learn and observe their emotions. Parents often order them to bathe or do their homework without knowing the children are still upset. That is why we need to connect with them before correcting them.


“When we are teaching them about the values of life, about discipline, we should first talk to them whether they agree. For instance. About afternoon nap. What time do they want to take their afternoon sleep, from 2 to 4 PM or 3 to 5 PM?” she cited her experience with her sons. Children are very happy because their parents understand them, she added. 


According to her, currently, children are facing greater challenges. They do not have enough time to rest and be emotionally connected with their parents. For instance, when we are hurrying up to school in the morning. We cannot just order them to get into the car without understanding how they feel. We can offer to talk in the car while driving, she shared.


But gentle parenting does not mean spoiling. There should always be boundaries. For instance, when a younger brother beat his elder sister.

“We ask why he is angry. We say it is OK to be angry, but beating or throwing something is violence. They must remember that they cannot do the same thing again or do it to their friends in school,” said the psychologist. 


How to correct kids?  

Families need regular meetings. Parents and their children talk freely about their feeling. We let the children talk. But remember, there is always a boundary, and it does not mean we become permissive. Gentle parenting means you choose to set clear boundaries while underlining what you are asking of your child.


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