Name of Activity: Teen Parenting – The lovable Enigma
Date and Venue of Event:
- 20th July: Dr. Kalmadi Shamarao High School, Primary Section, Ketkar Road,
- 21st July: Dr. Kalmadi Shamarao High School, Baner
Kind of Activity: Indoor activity
Resource Person: Dr Devasena Desai
Objective of Session :
- To increase understanding of parents about parenting styles and communication with teenagers
- Develop better communication with the child
- To be a responsible parent
Experiential focusing on-
- Activities for participants
No of Participants 63
Presentation by the resource person, demonstration & discussion
From this session, parents took over the role of the MPP core team. The reflection circle, introducing the resource person, note of thanks and feedback circles were all conducted by the parents.
- Reflection Circle
The session that took place in June introduced parents to ‘Compassion’ and ‘Safe Food’. One parent shared that the words of the resource person, “if you want to be happy, practice compassion,” made a deep impression on him.
- Presentation by the resource person
The presentation covered the following topics:
Changing family structure and social bonds and Parenting
Previously, neighbours, friends, extended family gave inputs, where parents could not. So the child did not miss anything. But the scenario has changed now. Today’s nuclear families are isolated from their extended families and society. As a result, the entire responsibility of parenting falls on the parents, who are unable to give the child many of the inputs that it needs.
Where am I?
This was an exercise given to the parents in which they had to reflect on how they spent their time. How much time they gave to home management, career, leisure and to children.
Best Practices in Parenting
This was again an exercise for parents in which they were asked to think about best parenting practices that they had seen around them. The following was shared by the parents:
“This is a ‘Best Practice’ that was followed by my father. As children, he gave us minimum instructions about who we should befriend and how much time to spend on studies.”
“This is a ‘Best Practice’ of my neighbor. I have seen him giving complete time to the children and making them see his perspective.”
“I have seen some people being always approachable for their children. According to me, this is a best practice.”
What kind of children do we want to raise and is our parenting style supporting this?
This was an exercise that was carried out with the parents.
In the beginning, parents were asked what kind of children they wanted to raise. Most of the parents said that they wanted their children to be emotionally stable, happy, prepared for life, self-dependent and confident.
Parents were shown different photographs and were asked to identify what the photo symbolized. The associations made by the parents with the photos were as follows:
- Photo of an Army Official: Disciplinarian, authoritarian, has rules, demands obedience.
- Grandparents: approachable, loving, lenient, comforting
- Coach: guides, gives good support, friendly, role model, motivating, encouraging, understands our potential, consistent.
Parents were asked which of the three did they want to be. Parents said that: Grandparents are very lenient and they are the best for playing their own role; The role of the Army Official is very hard to play and there is a risk of children rebelling. Most parents wanted to be the ‘coach’.
After this, parents were introduced to different parenting styles
- Autocratic Parenting: In this kind of parenting, the child becomes fearful, rebellious, dependent, has a low self-esteem and waits for instructions. Signs of a controlling parent are: distrustful, uses anger, shouting, etc.
- Lenient Parenting: In this kind of parenting, the child has more power. Here, parents typically allow the child to do what it wants when it is more important to walk along with them, guide them and demonstrate. In many cases, the child is not able to recognize his / her abilities and becomes incapable.
- Democratic Parenting: In this kind of parenting, there is interdependency between the child and the parent.
Communication with teenagers
Parents can achieve a lot if their communication skills are appropriate for teenagers to understand and respond. The four stages of communication if mastered are helpful for most situations
- Listening: Parents must be an active listener involving their senses and should listen with a purpose.
- Understand/interpret: Parents should be able to infer and interpret child’s actions reflecting underlying messages.
- Reflection: It is a very essential step which many times gets ignored completely. This includes rephrasing what the contributor has said.
- Feedback: Parents should give constructive feedback and acknowledge the communication from the child (verbal or nonverbal).
Participants were divided into groups. Each group was given an activity to practice:
- Feedback (giving and taking)
Following this, each group was given a situation. The task for each group was to discuss the situation and the best way to handle it. Groups were called randomly to come an enact what they had discussed.
Parents were able to understand the different parenting styles. Parents were able to identify their own parenting style and were ready to accept modifications towards more democratic parenting style. Parents were well-equipped with the communication tools and strategies to promote independence and responsibility among teens
The following Messages were passed on to Parents
- The secret of good parenting is that parents have a good equation with each other.
- When we reflect on a situation, we see went wrong from the point of view of parents and children but we seldom think of what worked well. It is important to see what worked well and build on it.
- We can be friendly but we have to understand that we are not their friends. We have to be the ‘parent’.
- We have to love the child unconditionally
- We have to teach our kids to earn what they want (lifestyle, mobiles, etc.)
- It is important to spend time with our children. On some days we can let the house be a mess and spend time together
- We are used to giving instructions to our children because of which they shut down. Children don’t want our instructions. They want to be understood
- We are ourselves not perfect. So we have to stop giving idealistic statements.
- If we don’t trust our children, who will? If we trust them, they will trust us back. Let them make mistakes.
- Social skills develop when children interact with people.
- What children are behaving is actually how they are practicing their skills.
- Parents have to learn to respect each other
- Its ‘ok’ to make mistakes in parenting
- The role of parents is to give the child confidence to give their best and become capable age appropriately.
- We stop our children from becoming capable. Motivate them to go to the next level. Don’t give them ready made answers.