Parenting, in New Zealand, is largely dictated by the dominant culture. As I personally like space and quiet, I like giving children space and quiet: to learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. My role as a parent (or educator) is to give them plenty of learning opportunity though. I have learned that what is one person’s thing to learn is another person’s thing NOT to learn. From my perspective, western parents tend to talk much, calling it ‘prompting,’ but do not give children enough space to process learning for themselves. I often see ethnic parents spending time with their children, with hardly any talk happening. Does this mean less learning for the children? Not at all. It is easy to feel intimidated by the parenting style of the dominant culture; however, I suggest, stick to your own culture. Trying to copy another parenting style may end up making you miserable – not worth it.
I am from the era when children were told what to do, and had to obey. While it made life easier for the parents, it did not make life best for the children. On the other hand, today’s way of communicating with children, whereby parents are bound to be the ‘obedient’ ones, does not work either. I have learned that effective win-win parent-child communication only happens, when the parent can do so from an emotionally centered position. I recall a time in my parenting that I am not proud of, when I took my anger towards an adult, out on my child. Angry at my mother-in-law for interfering with my parenting, I gave my daughter a hiding; she remembers it to this day. So, in parenting, when a child upsets you, first center your emotions, even if you walk away, before dealing with the problem. A child does not turn into a brat overnight; you have time to think before you act.