Saturday, 8 May 2021

Selalu SIGAP Episode #2: Preparing to be Parents

Becoming parents is usually one of the things couples look forward to the most after tying the knot. Some feel the longing for children of their own, and some may feel the baby fever from all those adorable pictures your friends post on Instagram. But raising a child is more than just having cute pictures of your offspring on social media.

A child will affect and change your whole life, including your relationship with your spouse. You’ll need to adapt and learn new things every single day.

In the second episode of Selalu SIGAP, our host Anastasia Praditha talks with Anna Surti Ariani, known as Nina, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Clinical Psychologists Association Jakarta, and Widodo Suhartoyo, Senior Technical and Liaison Advisor Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) at Tanoto Foundation, about what to prepare in becoming a parent.

This episode covers:

a. How prepared are you
b.
The right parenting style for you
c. What to expect

All Bases Covered

“A lot of young couples tend to think that getting married and having a child is charming, because that’s what they see on Instagram,” said Nina. “What they don’t see is the chaotic mess behind those pretty pictures. Reality doesn’t often show up on social media.”

When you’re surrounded with just one part of becoming parents, it can be easy to forget that there are actual preparations you need to do.

According to Nina, these preparations learning about child nutrition and parenting styles, and even thinking about your personal circumstances and whether now is the right time to have kids.

“Sadly, there’s yet to be a formal education in Indonesia on how to be a parent,” said Widodo. “Parenting is the process of how parents interact with their child so he or she can fully develop. But most of the time parents come unprepared and with no purpose.”

Parents can also tend to apply what they learned as children, though the conditions and situations may very well differ. Don’t be discouraged to learn new things as your child’s well-being is what matters.  

Parenting Styles

The environment children grow up in can go a long way into their adulthood, shaping their characters and personalities.

For children to become resilient and agile adults, Nina said that it’s best when parents give clear boundaries.

“Parents can be warm but they are also expected to set rules and motivate their children,” said Nina.

Parents need to communicate and discuss which style they think is right for their own family. One of the most popular categorizations of parenting styles came from Diane Baumrind, who created the following four types in the 1960s.

Authoritarian parents tend to enroll strict rules and expect obedience. Permissive parents, on the other hand, set minimal rules and indulge their children. Uninvolved parenting have limited communications and let a child do whatever he or she wants. The last is authoritative parenting, with parents behaving warmly, supportive and who set out clear rules for their children.  

The last type is thought to be the most beneficial to children, as they can have more self-esteem and higher academic performance.

Learn and Adapt

Becoming parents means learning and adapting as you go through this journey together. Feelings and opinions may differ, conflicts can arise, and both speakers agreed that communication is always key. By communicating openly, hopefully any problem will be met with a solution and the family can go from there.

An opportunity for open and warm communications, Widodo said, can happen when a family dines together. He noted, however, that the activity has been missing from our society lately. “It is the perfect time for a family to converse, from talking about their daily lives to whatever problems they’re facing,” he said.

Nina also said that instead of aiming to be “superdad” or “supermom”, parents should focus on forming a super team. Members can include all the people around the immediate family, such as grandparents, neighbours, relatives and the school, with a mutual agreement on how to raise a child.   

Alongside a super team, Nina suggested making friends with parents of children of similar age, so they can share ideas and give each other support.

As the last note, Widodo stressed that with the exception of nursing, parents should aim to share tasks between them rather than think of them as being gender-specific. “In parenting, there are no decided father or mother roles. There are only parenting roles,” he said.

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