EFFECTIVE PARENTING                                                                                                                  

Conducted by: Sukumaran Indu, Assist. Senior Counsellor& Hoe Wen Ting, Social Work Associate

Conducted on: 16 May 2015


The objective of the workshop was to provide the participants with a framework to understand the psychology behind their children’s behaviors so that as parents, they are able to guide their children through various and challenging situations.

The workshop started off with a story about animals attending a school where a variety of subjects such as swimming, flying, running and climbing were taught. A rabbit, duck, eagle and squirrel attended the school where they discovered that not every animal knew how to swim, fly, run and climb and when forced to participate in all the activities, they excelled in none of them. Such will be the issues faced by children who are forced to conform to one parenting style. Parents who use the same parenting style on all their children may inevitably end up hurting them and unknowingly allow their talents to go unnoticed or wasted.

In 1971, Diana Baumrind listed these different styles of parenting:

1.       Authoritarian – Parents are extremely strict and often cold. They generally communicate through lectures, yelling, punishments and one-sided discussions.

2.       Permissive – Parents do not attempt to exert any sort of control over their children

3.       Authoritative – Parents shower children with warmth, love, guidance and positive discipline.

4.       Uninvolved – Parents are often neglectful and do not meet their children’s basic needs.

Parents often ask this common question “Why do our children misbehave when we ask them to do homework, chores, etc.” Here are three major reasons behind children’s misbehaviors:

1.       To Seek Attention

Children exhibit nuisance behavior and constantly demand for things when they yearn for attention from parents. Parents tend to nag, scold and compare, eventually ending in annoyance, which do not address children’s need for attention. In such situations, parents can give more consistent attention to children when they are not exhibiting nuisance behaviors, avoiding comparisons and recognizing improvements.

2.       To Show Power

Rebelling, arguing, throwing tantrums and at times refusing to cooperate are ways children try to exert their power. Parents usually react with arguments, shouting and trying to regain control over children. When all else fails, parents may feel threatened and helpless. In this situation, it is important for parents to understand that they are powerful and it is possible to avoid getting into a power struggle. It is recommended for parents to give children certain responsibilities such as cleaning their own study table. Additionally, children can be asked to be involved in simple family discussions and voice their opinions.

3.       To Take Revenge

When children feel threatened, they tend to take revenge by hurting others, stealing and becoming violent. Parents find much difficulty in dealing with such situations. In turn, they usually scold, implement harsher punishments and sometimes, even turn violent towards their children. This is the time when parents need a ‘check’ person. They can pick a family member or friend to give them a heads up when they witness instances of violence. If the situation worsens, parents should not give up and seek professional help.

Apart from understanding the reasons behind children’s misbehavior, it is important for parents to bear in mind the following essentials when disciplining their children.

1. When setting rules for children, make sure that the rules are clear and fair.

2. Punishments for children should be justified, impersonal, constructive and non-humiliating.

3. Children should be rewarded when they display positive and/or improving behaviors.

4. These rewards are encouraged to be age appropriate and motivating to the children.

5. Parenting should be consistent and uniform.


To learn more about the different parenting styles, visit:

Http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meyer769/psy_1001/2012/04/dont-be-a-meanie.html. (n.d.).            

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