Parenting Styles – is Yours Right for Your Child?

Parenting styles - is yours right for your childEarly this year, Amy Chua, professor at Yale Law School, shot to fame – not for her legal prowess but because of a book she wrote. An excerpt of ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ published in the Wall Street Journal, ignited a global debate on pSo, is there some merit in Chua’s way of thinking? Can we say that one style of parenting is superior to another? Do the results justify the means? And most importantly, what is right for your child?generation Chinese immigrant, advocates that the Chinese style she practiced setting high performance expectations and imposing a strict regimen totally devoid of distractions and social interactions – yielded better outcomes than the laissez faire Western style.arenting. Chua, a second

With increasing demands on the time of both parents and children, and with the world around us changing so quickly, parenting, in today’s fast-paced urban India, is a kin to an emotional roller coaster ride. It can be exciting and exhilarating one moment, but nerve wracking and even scary at other times. With rising disposable incomes, global exposure and increasing access to technology, the world in which Indian children are growing up today is so different from the one their parents grew up in.

As parents, are you equipped to deal with the future shock?

It’s true that children are not born with instruction manuals, but parents across the ages have devised their own methods, as you would surely have, to deal with their own. The method you fall back on to raise your children, or your parenting style, is often shaped by your own experiences with your parents, your cultural context and your family beliefs and values.

A well-researched subject, parenting styles can be broadly divided into four buckets – authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and neglectful. “Do as I say, no questions asked” is authoritarian, whereas, “Let us discuss why it is important for you to do this,” is authoritative. “If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it,” is permissive while, “I don’t really care whether or not you do it,” is neglectful.

Today’s fathers may perhaps recall that their own fathers’ styles were mostly authoritarian! Families with both parents working (who are also on guilt trips!) sometimes adopt the permissive style. In some grown-ups, permissive parenting is also a reaction to the methods adopted in raising them – “I had such a hard time in my childhood with no freedom at all. My daughter should be able to do what she wants.”

Chinese vs. Western Parenting Styles – Recent Brouhaha

“Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do: attend a sleepover, have a playdate, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin,” says Amy Chua, author of ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’.

Different strokes for different folks – Parenting styles day-to-day

Our guess is that most parents would not have chosen a single parenting style as the response to all the four scenarios described earlier. That is because parenting styles are not cast in concrete – they are not water-tight compartments in which your children and you swim during the entire parenting journey! ParentEdge team’s own research and observations show that there are few parents in India who follow one style predominantly and consistently over time. And that is the way it should be for the following reasons:

The child’s temperament

Parenting is not a one-way street – the child’s own way of responding to people and events (temperament) inter plays with the parent’s style. Factors that indicate temperament are aspects of an individual’s personality that are innate –the ‘nature’ part of your child rather than the ‘nurture’! This explains why your daughter is a hyper-active extrovert, while your son a quiet introvert.

According to psychologists Dr. Stella Chess and Dr. Alexander Thomas, there are nine attributes that help identify a child’s temperament (see Box).We have added some pointers to fine tuning your parenting style to match the attribute of your child. According to research, temperament cannot be forcibly changed and so it is a good idea to work with your child’s temperament rather than try and change it through your style (which can be a frustrating experience).

Change your style as your child grows up

You should also consider adapting your style as your child grows up. For very young children, certain situations demand an authoritarian style as they may not appreciate reasoning and it may be impractical to launch discussions. As an example, your three-year-old is trying to push another child into the swimming pool’s deep end. What will work best is a yell, “Stop that! Now!” On the other hand, teenagers are prone to go through a rebellious phase and continuing an authoritarian style (even in selective situations) that has worked till then may not be a wise thing to do.

Between the ages of three and 18, a child goes through many significant changes physically, mentally and emotionally. A hyper-active toddler could grow into a calm and mature adolescent while quiet pre-schoolers could become a handful as they reach their pre-teens and teens. A clinging infant may blossom into a self-sufficient and confident teenager while a confident tween could grow up to become an insecure, approval-seeking adolescent. You never can predict what’s in store. So, it is really important to watch your children and observe the changes in their temperament as they reach different milestones in their journey to adulthood. Be sure you adapt your approach to be effective at all these different stages.

The sibling factor

We talked earlier of siblings with different temperaments – despite having common genes, differences between siblings are the rule, not the exception. As your children grow up, as parents, you can be often taken by surprise to discover how different each child is from the other. Understanding that each child is unique and figuring out what works best for each of them is an important aspect of parenting. Very often parents are guilty of not being sensitive to differences, and, even worse, drawing in appropriate comparisons. One has to be particularly careful while setting performance goals or benchmarks – academic or otherwise, and avoid force-fitting interests.

A style for an occasion

An authoritarian style may just be what the doctor ordered for a child who is constantly testing boundaries. It may also be occasionally useful to quell willful behaviour, especially in younger children, or when you want to send a stern message to correct an unacceptable behaviour in an adolescent. A permissive style may work perfectly fine with children who are mature, responsible and internally motivated, especially in late adolescent stages. On the other hand, it is fine to use an apparently ”neglectful” approach on certain occasions – for example, you want to get your child out of the habit of seeking approval constantly and teach him to make his own decisions – “I don’t care if it is this or that”- to push him to make his own decisions.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

 

Teaching Children Reading Using Phonemic Awareness

While we were doing our usual snooping around the internet for something that would Make Living Fun for our readers, we happened upon Jim’s Children Learning Reading program. Jim and his wife Elena live in Canada and they have two children Raine and Ethan. Jim has successfully used the phonemic awareness approach to teach both his children to read, and that was the foundation with which he has researched and developed the Children Learning Reading program.

We contacted him and got a review copy and we loved what he has put together. It’s one of the very few early childhood education programs that focus on phonemic awareness. At Bril we believe that whole-word, multi-sensory and phonemic-awareness-based programs benefit babies, toddlers and children, because any positive stimulation of the brain in the early years helps in overall development and neural connections being formed. There is no ‘One correct way’, ever in life, as our brains learn because of and in spite of many stimuli. While many experts go crazy over ‘scientific’ aspects, we go by what we see- real results and based on how babies really learn. As we grow up, we tend to ignore the power of the intuitive right-brain which can recognize patterns and help us learn languages even without splitting the word into letters. In fact even highly successful language courses like Rosetta Stone leverage the natural way of learning languages using audio and visual stimulus even to teach adults.  The brain seldom functions the way ‘experts’ would like them to, because it’s much more powerful, and none of us fully understand it.

Learning to read is very similar to learning to speak and phonemic awareness is one such very effective way to teach children reading. So, while Jim’s program bashes the whole-word, right-brain approach completely, we believe children need a combination of different methods for optimum brain stimulation. You’ll be amazed at how children easily relate one method to the other in their own unique way and learn using their own strengths. Don’t forget that children use multiple intelligence to learn, so by providing audio (including musical), visual & kinesthetic stimuli, a loving environment for intra & interpersonal dialogue and blending techniques you can really help your children leverage their natural learning style.

So what is Phonemic awareness?

Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness (sound structure of language) in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word “cat” into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /ae/, and /t/, requires phonemic awareness.

The National Reading Panel has found that phonemic awareness improves children’s word reading and reading comprehension, as well as helping children learn to spell. Phonemic awareness is the basis for learning phonics.

At Bril we believe and know that early childhood education gives children a huge head start in life, as the period between 0-3 years is when a child’s brain is most receptive and children love to learn. They love to learn because there is no stigma attached to learning in the first few years. This window of opportunity is also great for parents to spend quality time with their children and have the pleasure of being their first teachers! The experience of spending time with your child and learning together surely Makes Living Fun!

Your Child Misses this GOLDEN Opportunity, if You Do Not Teach Your Child to Read at an early age.

The first several years of your child’s life are the most important for healthy brain development and growth. Critical aspects of a child’s brain are established well before they enter school, and it is the experiences during these sensitive periods of development that play a critical role in shaping the capacities of the brain.  Please see the graph below, which charts the synapse formation in a child’s brain at different ages.

children reading synapse formation image

As you can see, synapse formation for higher cognitive function peaks around 2 to 3 years of age. There is a direct link between a child’s academic performance and future success with positive early experiences and developing early reading skills.

Reading makes your child SMARTER, and the very act of reading can help children compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability!

So after going through Jim’s program, we believe that it is a high-quality early-childhood reading program that uses phonemic awareness and blending techniques to teach children. The program can be accessed by parents world-over in an instantly downloadable, simple, easy to follow digital (PDF and MP3) format.

Click here to visit the Children Learning Reading product website to learn more about this program and buy if you wish!

 

Disclaimer:

While Bril (Industrial Research Corporation) does thorough due diligence on all products prior to endorsement, Bril may not be held liable or responsible under any circumstance for all or any repercussion including but not limited to financial, emotional or other losses incurred due to purchase of the said product, results, customer support issues, failure to honour money-back guarantees etc. by the Vendor (Jim/ childrenlearningreading.com). Bril is not associated with Children Learning Reading or the creator of this program. No partnership exists between Jim/ Children Learning Reading and Bril.

The links in this post are affiliate links and Bril will earn a commission if a sale happens by clicking on the links in this post.

 

Preparing Older Children about Pregnancy

Preparing Older Children about Pregnancy

You just found out you are pregnant, and the first thing that pops into your mind is, “How will I tell my children about this new addition?” You are certainly not the first or the last one that will struggle with how your child will receive this news.

While it may be exciting for your child now, it may be one of the tougher things that he or she will have to deal with and may mark the beginnings of sibling rivalry. For some, this may begin soon after the arrival of the second baby. Some children become aggressive and others withdraw into a shell during this time. So it becomes especially important how and when you deliver this news along with supporting your older children along the way.

First of all, it is important that your child hear about your pregnancy from you and not from someone else. No matter how old your child is, this piece of information should be introduced by you and can be a great opportunity to talk about where babies come from even if you are using the most simplistic explanation. You may choose to tell your child during the first trimester before others begin to exclaim about your changing figure.

Preparing Older Children about PregnancyIf your older child is sleeping between you and dad as in the case of many Indian families, it becomes important to address the sleeping situation well before your due date arrives. This is important so that your older child does not feel displaced by the baby. So if you have plans to move your child to a different room, begin right away. If your older child must begin preschool, then ensure that it does not coincide with the arrival of the new baby. You certainly do not want your older child to associate being thrust in the care of someone else with his new sibling’s arrival.

Get your older child involved by taking her to prenatal visits with your doctor. It may help your child feel involved in the pregnancy itself. Looking at pictures of your older child as a baby with him will also get him used to the idea that the new baby will not be his instant playmate. It is important that your child knows what to expect when your baby first arrives; that the baby will not able to do too much beyond eating and sleeping for the first month or so.

Visit the library and ask the librarian for suggestions of children’s books that deal specifically with introducing your older child to the idea of a new baby. These realistic stories will help your child see the new arrival more as an addition to your loving family than as a rival for his parents’ attention. In fact, give your child every opportunity to ask questions about any concerns she may have, allowing her to vent her feelings about your changing family.

Preparing Older Children about PregnancyAt this time, it is especially important to assure her that she can never be replaced and that the new baby is going to love her and look up to her more than anyone else. Assigning a protector kind of role to your older child is much better received than telling her that she is going to have someone to play with.

Finally, let your child participate in any preparations you are making towards readying the house for your new baby. Give her the choice of making decisions such as where she would like the crib to be placed along with where she would like the baby’s clothes and diapers to be stored, just make sure that you give her options that are acceptable to you. Soon your older child will come around to accepting the arrival of your new baby and will even look forward to it with eagerness.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Baby Steps

Baby Steps When a baby learns to walk, it’s a big step towards being independent. Walking is a major developmental milestone for a baby and almost all mothers remember when their babies took their first steps. It’s interesting to note that most kids make those early steps on tiptoe.

Parents are often anxious about when their baby will actually start walking, the time is different for different kids, mostly between 12-16 months.

From six months onwards, a baby gains muscle strength, synchronization and coordination of limbs to start sitting, rolling and crawling, leading to walking upright eventually. A baby can stand with support at about eight months and most babies take their independent first steps between nine and 12 months.

A baby’s leg muscles continue to develop while he masters sitting, crawling, rolling over and climbing stairs using hands. Each step adds to their building confidence and balance and by the time they are 14 or 15 months old, they can walk well.

They would need lot of encouragement and praise for being able to take their first big steps. You may also let your baby walk in front of you while you hold her hands, and give her practice to experiment with balance.

In India, some parents get walkers for babies as early as they are six-eight months old. Most of these parents tend to think babies are safe in walkers and that it provides good exercise for limbs and actually help them learn to walk. . Walkers may not be advisable for overweight kids. When in doubt, consult your doctor.

Some Tips:

  • While trying to walk by themselves they may lose balance and fall repeatedly, don’t panic.
  • Don’t force your baby to start walking by holding her hands if she is not ready. Some kids don’t walk till the age of 16 months or more.
  • From 12 months onwards, you can give your child push and pull toys to help him gain balance and confidence while they indulge in this play activity.
  • If your baby has started taking his first wobbly steps, it’s time to child proof your home. Keep important things, cosmetics, sharp objects, and risky furniture out of their reach when they start walking and make sure they don’t harm themselves when they take steps inside bathrooms, store room, etc.
  • Babies like to have fun at the stair case walking up and down, install railings for safety.
  • Open shoes/sandals are best bet for growing kids for their feet to take form and body weight.
  • You can also buy shoes which have light and sound for kids who have just begin to walk to make walking an interesting activity for them.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Baby Sleep

Baby SleepSleep is crucial to a baby’s development. Newborn babies usually sleep for about 17 to 18 hours a day for the first few weeks and 15 hours a day by the time they are three months old. However, they hardly sleep for more than three to four hours at a stretch.

By the time babies are three months old, they tend to sleep more at night and stay awake longer during the day. But it’s amazing just how different babies can be – some sleep for hours on end, while others hardly seem to sleep at all. It’s important that your baby gets required sleep otherwise they tend to be grumpy and cranky.

Six to nine months is an age when your baby is becoming more physically active and learning to sit up, roll over and crawl, and she may get exhausted by the end of the day and need good sleep. Kids get overtired easily. When they do, they find it harder to get to sleep. Once you can spot if the baby is tired, you’ll be able to settle your baby to sleep before grumpiness sets in.

For babies, it is important to set bedtime routines early. Establish a specific bedtime, as well as consistent nap times during the day to regulate her sleep patterns otherwise they have a hard time falling asleep. Your baby needs to follow a regular sleep-and-wake-pattern and recharge with naps during the day.

One year old babies usually sleep for about 10 to 12 hours at night and napping twice a day for an hour and a half to two hours at a time. Keeping consistent times for bed and naps will help to regulate her sleep patterns and soon you will find that she actually enjoys a predictable routine.

Some tips:

  • A massage or a warm bath will relax her and induce sleep.
  • Read a bedtime story or two, sing a lullaby.
  • Make sure the bedding and temperature is comfortable.
  • You could buy a baby sleeping bag that is right for your baby’s age and weight.
  • Help your baby associate darkness with sleep, minimize light, noise and activity.
  • To encourage good sleeping habits, put the baby to bed drowsy but awake to make them learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Consumer Insight

By Jayaram Rajaram

Most MBA-types (I’m one of these useless ones too! : -)) banter on about the importance of consumer insight in business. This term is highly overrated according to me, and several useless market research and consulting firms make hell of a lot of money by putting your customers and consumers into boxes. They use jargon like perceptions and preferences, perceptual maps and all sorts of nonsense to hide behind terminology that the common man can’t understand. Questionnaires seldom give you any insight and are a whole load of crap according to me (Pardon my language).

Now let’s cut to the chase so I can tell you what I understand consumer insight is all about. Recently we launched disposable diapers (Brildiapers) for babies. A lot of people saw the pack and asked me what I meant by the words ‘Consumer Insights –India’ on the pack. People were expecting me to say some big 4 consulting firm did this massive research etc. My answer was simple- consumer insights were MY insights as a customer who bought practically every single diaper brand in the market for my son (They were shocked!). I say it openly, NOT a single diaper in India was good enough for my son! So I had to import one that was reasonably good from the US (Still nowhere near the quality that we went on to acheive with Brildiapers Prime)! How do I say they were not good? I tried them ON!! I placed them one at a time as a lining for my underwear and wore each one on for a few minutes. The second test I did was to place each diaper over my mouth and nose and tried to breathe (Not with the same diaper that I tried on of course before you ask me! : -) ). Was I crazy?? NO…I was NOT doing this to launch diapers at that point, my baby couldn’t tell me that his diapers were not comfortable, so I decided to help him out (Simple isn’t it?). It’s called empathy and I would urge every parent to do this with products they use on their baby! Did this crazy exercise give me consumer insights? Did it tell me of a gap in the market for the discerning SEC A parent? You bet!

After my wife and I went through 15-20 different brands and sadly had to import one brand of diapers from the US, I asked myself why no company was manufacturing diapers for the discerning Indian parent who wants superior comfort for their baby? At one point it irritated me because, most of the brands were doing their best to keep prices low (Which is important for the bottom of the pyramid mass market in India) and were unable to use the more expensive materials they were using abroad. What did this mean? A huge compromise on comfort for ALL Indian babies! Even if a parent could afford more expensive diapers, the really good ultra-thin breathable ones were not available in the market!

Now that I had REAL first-hand CONSUMER INSIGHT as a parent, I went ahead and got my team to research in-depth and launch Brildiapers Prime- an ultra-thin, highly breathable, 6-layer, super-absorbent, rash-proof diaper made using world-class raw materials from Germany and USA, for unmatched baby comfort. Now my son is almost 2 and yes, he wears Brildiapers Prime Large!

In conclusion, I would urge my fellow MBAs, entrepreneurs and leaders to get out and become a consumer themselves rather than spend company money on useless market research. Get intuitive to identify unrealized needs and create markets if you will. Move from head to heart. Be obsessive about your brand; solve problems for your customers every single day.

Click here to read more about why brildiapers are special, thanks to first-hand consumer insights and real love that has gone into creating them, in the news!

About the Author:

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and about personal experiences. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship. Now that you have read one of his intimate experiences with baby diapers, the least you can do is go to http://www.brilindia.com/bril_diapers_prime.php buy a pack, wear them yourself and report back to Jayaram with the results, or use them for your baby if you are a parent! LOL


 

Kakkooses – Did You Ever Know

The Making and Concept behind ‘Did You Ever Know…’ Sing-along Song and Viral Teaser Video:

Four Cousins – Raghunath Rajaram (Founder Aglet Design), Snehaa Sundaram (20), Nithika Sundaram (17) and Nishaant S Raj (13) got together on May 12th 2012 and decided to record a song just for fun. Raghunath had coined the line ‘Did you ever know that your Bum has got a hole…..’ many many years ago when he was in school. His friends found it grossly hilarious, but would always laugh and repeat the line. When he told his cousins this, they were amused and literally forced him to think about composing a song with this as the chorus! Snehaa, Nithikaa and Nishaant now couldn’t contain their laughter as this line kept playing on their minds. They got together at Aglet Design’sTM studio with Raghunath and let their creative juices flow! Nishaant the youngest of this group was thrilled to be the drummer for a song that made him roll on the floor laughing! Snehaa, Nithikaa and Raghunath joined creative forces to come up with the lyrics. Raghunath, the expert then sang, played the guitar and mixed before the gang of cousins invited the family to listen to their hilarious creation!

Jayaram Rajaram (Managing Partner, BrilTM), Raghunath’s brother was one of the first ones to be invited for the launch show which would then go on to create history. When Jayaram heard this song for the first time, his gut told him that this could make a very different and engaging teaser campaign for BrildiapersTM which would be launched in a few months. When he suggested this to Raghunath, they immediately concurred as they intuitively felt it would have an immediate connect with the audience. Why did they feel that way? Because they loved listening to and singing along with this mildly weird, below the belt number! Everyone who heard it loved it and couldn’t stop humming the tune and singing! We decided that these gut-based goose-bump moments shouldn’t be ignored, so they got acting.

There was a slight fear that they were working with an old brand with tremendous equity. The brand had a conservative audience, but at the same time they knew that unless they did something out-of-the ordinary no magic would happen and they would never be able to stand out of the clutter. While creating the teaser ad they decided, no matter how conservative a person is, he / she will secretly love this song! Another run-of-the-mill diaper ad would never become viral. This ad was in any case targeted at adults and parents (it’s also perfect for a cool parent to share it with a pre-teen child too for a good laugh, as humour enhances the communication between the parent and child). The idea was to get people singing along and laugh about common physiological aspects. Fun jokes like this are in any case a regular phenomenon between good friends and amongst close relatives in most families (though many will not openly agree they enjoy a good laugh about such topics). So…..

‘Did you ever know…..’: of course an adult knows about his / her human physiology, but what about your baby? That’s the subtle message that comes across towards the end. So the fun they had listening to the song and following the lyrics is gently pushed to a feeling of empathy towards their baby. In a nutshell, every human being knows what it feels like to wait outside a locked bathroom door, or the agony of not being able to pass stools- while babies are oblivious to these aspects, it’s up to the parent to ensure their baby’s comfort with the softest possible disposable diapers – Brildiapers! While most diaper ads talk only about the baby peeing we thought about talking about poo-ing- Just For Fun!

This campaign also fit well into Bril’s new positioning of Bril Makes Living Fun. It urges people to stop intellectualizing everything and just enjoy the song and video! If you liked it – share it. Make Living fun for everyone. If you didn’t like it – just buy Brildiapers anyway – once they are launched (As they are the best diapers in the world!)

(WARNING: This video contains lyrics that some may consider offensive. If you cannot let go and laugh this is not for you. Viewer and parental discretion is advised. Bril (Industrial Research Corporation) and its partners shall not be held liable under any circumstance, as you explicity agree that you are watching this video out of your own free will once you click ‘Play’)