Just like pop music, hairstyles, and fashion trends, parenting styles are always evolving. Decades before, spanking was deemed as an effective technique for instilling discipline on kids. But it has been in decline. The same goes for the authoritarian approach that always begins with the statement, “Do that because I said so.” Many modern parents spend time to sit down with their children and guide them into making an action, rather than forcing them to do it just to follow authority. But this doesn’t mean that old parenting styles no longer work at all. Rather, it’s a matter of putting a modern twist on these traditional strategies.
Here are some traditional parenting methods with modern versions that work for today’s generation:
Traditional move: Bribing for good behavior
There’s nothing wrong with bribing your little one to behave properly or change certain behaviors. However, there is a danger of overusing this method since this is an effective way to enforce good behaviors or habits. If overused, this method could lead to children being too overly materialistic.
Modern version: Giving rewards consciously
Use rewards sparingly and consciously. One modern tactic is to offer smaller, non-material rewards as kids work toward a major goal rather than reward them for every lesson or household chore completed.
Say, you want your son to learn writing the alphabet. Instead of treating him to an ice cream shop every time he masters writing a single letter, give him a sticker to fill a chart. Once the chart is full (meaning, he finally learned to write the entire alphabet), reward him with his favorite dessert or gift him a new toy.
Traditional move: Putting a child in timeout
Putting a child in timeout first came up as an alternative to a teacher spanking or hitting a pupil with a ruler. Psychologists in the ‘70s suggested that social isolation was a better punishment than spanking. However, today’s parents and children development experts have found that the timeout tactic isn’t that effective. While the method’s goal is to encourage children to reflect on their bad behavior, their brains aren’t developed yet to engage in self-reflection. In turn, they are more likely to dwell on their anger.
Modern version: Using the time-in strategy
Instead of having a child go to an isolated corner and face a wall, parents should bring their kid to a neutral location like the dining table or living room. There, they should talk to their child, acknowledge their emotions, guide them in identifying the underlying reason behind the misbehavior, and help them understand why that behavior is unacceptable. A time-in is a great opportunity for a teaching moment.
Traditional move: Thinking you’re responsible for your child
For years, parents believed they are responsible “for” their children. However, this has led moms and dads parenting from an anxious place—they feel responsible for every action their child does growing up. In turn, parents tend to control every aspect of their child’s life, from their education to hobbies and interests.
Modern version: Fulfilling your responsibilities to your child
Modern family therapists and child psychologists urge parents to shift their focus from being responsible “for” to being responsible “to” their child. Sure, you are responsible for buying a house and land to provide a healthy home to your child or working hard to afford school fees to give your child an opportunity to learn. But you’re not responsible for their choices—it is out of your hands if they choose to join the soccer team or pursue law school. All you have to do is create opportunities for them to make their own choices.
Reframing responsibility is one pillar of positive parenting. This impacts kids by encouraging them to learn independently, make beneficial choices, and take responsibility for their choices, behaviors, and actions.
Keeping up with the times doesn’t mean completely letting go of time-honored parenting methods. As time evolves and as children’s needs change, you have to adapt your parenting style for the better.