How to Bring Up A Child In Our Modern Society?

This project’s aim is to analyse and discuss the cause and effects of bringing up a child by the parents facing the unique task of raising kids in this modern and volatile period of transforming nature and increasingly technological savvy environment. While the research and theories attempts to strategies for a model to raise a child, this paper is analysing how it can be best interphase in a local family setting with other complimenting factors that can bring awareness for the parents to raise a child.

The lifespan development of a child begins with developmental milestones where prenatal, infancy, early, middle and late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood and late adulthood with cognitive developments from thinking, language and value settings develop. 2. Theories relating to child development As theorised by Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganisation of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience, children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Wikipedia, Internet), which explains the child’s development is very much dependant on nature and nurture and the environment.

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There are number of different theorists associated with child development. Erik Erikson built upon Sigmund Freud’s work, he identified eight separate stages across and he believed each stage which has both positive and negative outcome, we face a crisis that needs to be resolved for emotional and social development. The outcome of the stage is determined by our environment, and the care giving strategies or experiences to which we are exposed.

John Bowlby identified four phases of attachment development, where a child with variety of behaviours which seeks proximity which promotes parents and care givers to be near and close to them. Attachment of the child and parent develops over a period time and is mainly achieved by the routine care giving tasksthat parents and children are involved (Berk, 1996). Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory relates to both cognitive and social development, he emphasised on importance the mportance of relationships and interactions between children and more knowledgeable adults and peers and firmly believed that children’s cognitive understanding were enriched and deepened when they were ‘scaffolded’ by parent, teachers or peers ( berk, 1996).

Skinner, Watson and Bandura are theorists of behaviourists, one main premise of behaviourism is that behaviours are repeated they will be rewarded but if such behaviours are ignored or punished will decrease. The emphasis is on environmental factors of limitation, learning and conditioning. Centre for Learning Innovation@ State of New South Wales, Department of Education and Training, 2006, A basic introduction to child development theories). 3. Parenting Styles as theorised Psychologist Diana Baumrind identified four patterns of parenting styles based upon two aspects of control and caring. Parental control refers to the degree to which parents manage their children’s behaviour with control, demand and setting rules, warmth refers to acceptance and responsive of their children’s. The combination of this two aspects of parenting behaviour in different ways, four primary parenting styles merges.

The four parenting styles are Authoritarian, Authoritative, permissive and uninvolved parents. The children brought up by the parents of this four patterns grow up with multiple character and attitudes; being withdrawn, apathetic, shy, hostile, unmotivated and competent are the nature of kids raised by Authoritarian parents, while the kids brought up by Authoritative parents display assertiveness, independent friendly, cooperative, motivated and competent. Being impulsive, dependant, undisciplined, immature, manipulative, socially competent and self-centred are the characteristics of kids brought by permissive parents.

Kids of uninvolved parents display unmotivated, self-effacing, indifferent, destructive, detached and socially incompetence. 4. Parents roles and patterns in raising a child in the modern society. Developmental stages and the theories as shared in the earlier paragraph, theorises the cognitive, and environmental factors that contributes to the development, where the ego centric stage encompasses from the age of 2 to 7 years, the operational stage from the age of 7 to 12 years and the abstract, reasoning stage from the age of 12 years (class notes from Mr Daniel Koh, 2013) in the growth of the child.

Local parents of today are facing an all new challenges as the generation gap is fast evolving where technology, education,, lifestyle, globalisation, migration, family settings where the reliance on foreign maids becoming the norm in contrast to the growing up with grandparents and other traditional care givers. The competitiveness and affordability is a trend where the ‘forced learning’ and pushing takes place in the society and the pressure being built on the growing kids. The generation has progressed from the baby boomers to the generation X to Y and the new millennium kids.

While there are significant developmental issues of a child which is about being an IQ / EQ natured person, an individual personality that is shaped by influence for lifestyle trend and social models, identifying with gender roles which is critical in a developmental stage with the belief system at the later age that can influence a child, peer and friends relationship that can causes an impact on the child’s development both in a positive perspective and negative perspectives, having a traumatised childhood with constant or intermittent physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and verbal abuse or abuses and the child playing attributes which needs close attention and scrutiny for child nurturing are factors and attributes that contributes towards nurturing and raising a child in the modern society. Today’s parenting would need a much wider spectrum and a focus in raising a child which include going back to the fundamentals where a nucleus family setting is an important character, while it is an undeniable fact that the family setting had far changed and replaced with ‘foreign maid’ substitutes for parenting due to the fact that both parents are at work to meet the needs, building careers and for a better lifestyle.

Building values, life skills moralistic aspects are basics for a growing child to make a self-view and a world view in leading life in the modernising society affected by the global changes and the fast moving technology world. Bonding and family relationship is to be valued with symbolic attachments. The role modelling and the leadership role is diluting in parenting functions with the fast spacing technological advancement. The relationship and communication is further deteriorating with the bad role modelling and the lifestyle changes in the contemporary local system. Therefore parenting effectively during the developmental period, requires a thorough understanding of these normative developmental changes. Parents can benefit from how they parent, or their style of parenting provides a basis for many healthy developmental outcomes during adolescence.

Understanding the different parenting styles and their impact on the parent-child relationship may help parents, listen to and take account the child’s growing needs and viewpoints. Authoritative parents engage in discussions and little friendly debates with their kids and engage them, as a result they are more likely to be socially competent, responsible and autonomous. Research demonstrates the kids of Authoritative parents learn to negotiate and engage in discussions. Authoritarian parents display little warmth and highly dominating, controlling, they are strict disciplinarians, use punitive and restrictive styles and do not discuss or engage children. Authoritarian parent believe no question should be asked and rules complied without queries and believe that adherence to rules is valued over independent behaviour.

Uninvolved parents are indifferent to the growing needs of a child, whereabouts or experiences at school and with peers . They rarely get involve and communicate well in the decision making process as they do not want to be bothered by them. These parents may be overwhelmed by their circumstances, self – centred, tired, frustrated or giving up on the parental responsibility. Permissive parents are warm but not dominating being indulgent and passive in their parenting, they believe giving into the child’s wishes. They don’t wish to say not to the child wish and make disappointments. Parents themselves view as not active in shaping their teen’s actions; instead they project themselves as a resource and adviser.

They also have believe that not restricting and having less boundaries and rules will not result in serious consequences in growth (Kimberly Loo, Parenting Styles and Adolescents). 5Research on parenting styles Research suggests that having at least one authoritative parent can make a big difference (Fletcher, et al 1999). Developmental psychologists overwhelmingly endorse Authoritative parenting as the optimal parenting style for raising adolescents (Steinberg, 2001) – (Kimberly Loo, Parenting Styles and Adolescents). Permissive parent’s authoritative parents are responsive, nurturing and involved. But unlike permissive parents, authoritative parents don’t let their kids get away with bad behaviour.

Authoritative parents take a firm stand similar to authoritarian parents, owever they are able to do with warmth and by reasoning and less likely to use harsh control measures, thus the authoritative parenting style reflects a balance between two values- freedom and responsibility. Authoritative parents are both highly responsive and very demanding (Maccoby and Martin 1983). In America, the widely cited studies of American adolescents reported that teens with authoritarian parents were the least likely to feel society accepted by their peers and they were rated as less self-reliant (Lamborn et al 1991;Sreienberg et al 1992; Steinberg et al 1994) and in China study o 2nd graders in Beijing found kids from authoritarian families were rated less socially competent, aggressive ( Chen et al 1997), other Chinese researchers has linked the punitive aspects with poorer social functioning( Zhou et al 2004).

In Turkey, a study of high school students, kids from authoritarian families were rated as less resourceful than kids from authoritative or permissive families (Turkel and Tzer 2008). Researchers are increasingly focusing on the impact of parenting on adolescent development and how experiences in the family and other contexts interact with genetic factors to influence behavioural and developmental outcomes (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington & Bornstein, 2000). Changes and evolving trends in the local environment. With the modernisation and evolving of the economic needs and lifestyle changes the raising of the children in our local setting is very much diversified.

Heavy reliance on foreign maids where culturally and socially much changes needed to be adopted, childcares, day care and student cares have become other norms for the growing kids where much time is spend with teachers and educators other than the latch key children facing the boredom and loneliness. As most families require both parents to be at work, increasing number of latchkey children (home alone after school) and children brought up by foreign maids would become a worrying phenomenon. The other aspect is the kids brought by single mothers, statistics from 1986 to 2006, and the general divorce rate for women rose from 3. 8 to 8. 0 for every 1000 married resident females. In 1990, about 4% of resident households with at least 1 child below 16 years were headed by single parents. In 2005, this proportion grew to 5%. (Commentary, raising children in Singapore: A Paediatrician’s perspective, Lai Yun Ho, FRCP, FRCPCH, and FMAS).

Our children of today are versatile and information savvy they are accessible to internet videos such as You Tube which are beyond censorship or supervision. They grow up with worlds of Warcraft and Maple story where they live a virtual life and belonging to virtual tribes. Through Myspace, face book they mingle with their friend’s home alone. Increasingly young adults are deciding whether to smoke, take alcohol, experiment drugs or having unprotected sex. The adolescent years are high-risk years with long term consequences, globally about half of all HIV and AIDS infections occur among young people under the age of 25 (Commentary, raising children in Singapore: A Paediatrician’s perspective, Lai Yun Ho, FRCP, FRCPCH, and FMAS).

Conclusion In most cases the attitude and behaviour of the adults and role models around the young people influence them than their own actions. There are no vaccines for smoking related cancers, heart disease, alcohol or drug abuse, HIV and AIDS but are preventable what is required is the positive influence and good role modelling by care givers and parents. The children of the future potentially be productive citizens, to contribute to the nation and community to have long loving relationships to make the world a better place to live, but they need good parenting, emotional and psychological support and good communication to make formal choices.

Raising the children amidst the complexities of modern life is one of the most challenging yet, not many parents are prepared for it. (Commentary, raising children in Singapore: A Paediatrician’s perspective, Lai Yun Ho, FRCP, FRCPCH, and FMAS). Poor preparation of parenting roles is the root of many problems of child abuse and neglect, parent-child relationship problems and dysfunctional families. The fundamental in raising a productive esteemed child with far sighted vision is the ideal for every parent in a fast spaced evolving society, therefore providing the healthy start in the life with positive role models, safe place to learn and grow, a marketable skill through effective education and a stake in the well-being of the community.

In an Asian society like ours striving to preserve the traditional family values of love, care and concern, filial piety, mutual respect, commitment and communication. Special needs children, disable children and the socio cultural contexts of growing up in local context are considerations and understanding a parent needs in raising a child in local In a local newspaper (Straits Times) dated 5 June 13, the article highlighted that researchers from the Institute of Education found that children could face problems of addiction and cyber bullying as well as poor sitting postures and eye strain due to exposure to electronic gadgets at a young age. The research also revealed,only a few parents understand fully the ill effects or offer guidance.

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