Create-a-new life!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Taking control: Should single mothers be equipped with parenting techniques?

Of all the things going through your mind, the most
effective route is seeking the wisdom from within
 you, the spiritual self is always knowing and
above any situation! 
The main ingredient in parenting is love because it provides physical and emotional security.  As a child develops, he/she should be empowered with accurate information and appropriate social skills. Single mothers often struggle in modeling optimum care because they lack basic parenting skills.
What are basic parenting techniques?
The most challenging parenting function is walking the talk. A single parent may read and understand the key principles of parenting but face challenges of modeling them because of her own socialization flaws.  Attempting to act on what you do not believe in could be emotionally taxing and kids are smart in picking the negative vibrations and window dressing behavior. According to Psychology and Life by Philip G. Zimbardo, getting the first desirable response from your child so that you can reinforce it is a daunting responsibility. He lists the following techniques: “ a) increasing motivation;  b)  lowering restraints; c) structuring the environment; d) forcing; e) providing a model; and f) giving instructions…”  These techniques are said to be essential in instilling desirable behavior:
1.    Increasing motivation: Most parents perform this task initially when encouraging a child to sit, walk and in potty training. This technique would apply for teaching a child how to make up a bed, tidy his/her bedroom. A single mother on the other hand lose touch because she must work to further her studies in order to maintain her upward mobility and do not have time to supervise these chores. 
2.    Lowering restraints: Denotes reducing constraints. When rules are not consistent they will eventually stop to be binding. This poses a challenge for a single mother because often she over-compensates her inability to spend quality time by overlooking non-compliance to established rules.  Violation starts when mom has to keep kids occupied and entertained by watching television.  Television is addictive and always has a negative impact on study time and performing of house chores. Once this is broken, single moms face the challenge of enforcing rules as children grow up.  
3.    Structuring the environment: Occurs when teaching siblings to work together to address competitive behavior. Competitiveness could ruin relationship between mom and kids or between siblings. A single mom must be vigilant and address this destructive behavior immediately.
4.    Forcing:  Parents apply this technique successfully until kids become teenagers. Forcing is necessary to teach a child to eat nutritious foods, do assignments before playing and waking up at a particular hour to go to school on time. This approach backfires when a child leaves home; they simply do not know how to handle their freedom. A single mom must therefore explain why certain values must be enforced.
5.    Providing a model: A child learns by imitating both parents and other adults. Since a single mom is not able to play a role of a father, this gap could lead to feelings of inadequacy for a male child. A single mom should be aware of this need before birth and seek support for trusted male relative to spend quality time with a male child during the first eight years. Basic social skills for a male child includes fishing, repairing locks, gardening and changing car tires.
6.    Giving instructions: All learning involves giving instructions. The challenge is doing so when mom is not stressed so that it becomes a coaching session not exerting power. Giving instructions from a coaching perspective is the best approach because it reflects love and will transcend all development stages.  

Most parents use trial and error approach hoping to hit on appropriate stimuli for producing desired behavior. When parents fail, they blame environment, modernized schools where kids are not punished for poor behavior and other ‘bad’ peers.  Without exception parenting is a huge task that requires accurate content and lots of unconditional love to apply all of the above techniques for deriving desirable outcome. A single parent’s role therefore is to identify and be aware of how or when own childhood issues surface. Identifying triggers could empower a single mom to be aware of the motivating factor behind her parenting style.