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The Four Styles of Parenting

iStock mom holding son_NewDevelopmental psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact child development. However, finding actual cause-and-effect links between specific actions of parents and later behavior of children is very difficult. Some children raised in dramatically different environments can later grow up to have remarkably similar personalities. Conversely, children who share a home and are raised in the same environment can grow up to have astonishingly different personalities.

Despite these challenges, researchers have uncovered convincing links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:

  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturance
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity and control

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles.

The Four Parenting Styles

(1) Authoritarian Parenting
In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991).

(2) Authoritative Parenting
Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative” (1991).

(3) Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.

(4) Uninvolved Parenting
An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

The Impact of Parenting Styles

What effect do these parenting styles have on child development outcomes? In addition to Baumrind’s initial study of 100 preschool children, researchers have conducted numerous other studies that have led to a number of conclusions about the impact of parenting styles on children.

  • Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.
  • Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).
  • Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.
  • Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

Why is it that authoritative parenting provides such advantages over other styles? “First, when children perceive their parents’ requests as fair and reasonable, they are more likely to comply with the requests,” explain authors Hockenbury and Hockenbury in their text Psychology. “Second, the children are more likely to internalize (or accept as their own) the reasons for behaving in a certain way and thus to achieve greater self-control.”

Why Do Parenting Styles Differ?

After learning about the impact of parenting styles on child development, you may wonder why all parents simply don’t utilize an authoritative parenting style. After all, this parenting style is the most likely to produce happy, confident, and capable children. What are some reasons why parenting styles might vary? Some potential causes of these differences include culture, personality, family size, parental background, socioeconomic status, educational level, and religion.

Of course, the parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each and every family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate as they combine various elements of their unique parenting styles.

Limitations and Criticisms

There are, however, some important limitations of parenting style research that should be noted. Links between parenting styles and behavior are based upon correlational research, which is helpful for finding relationships between variables but cannot establish definitive cause-and-effect relationships. While there is evidence that a particular parenting style is linked to a certain pattern of behavior, other important variables such as a child’s temperament can also play a major role.

Researchers have also noted that the correlations between parenting styles and behaviors are sometimes weak at best. In many cases, the expected child outcomes do not materialize; parents with authoritative styles will have children who are defiant or who engage in delinquent behavior, while parents with permissive styles will have children who are self-confident and academically successful.

“There is no universally “best” style of parenting,” writes author Douglas Bernstein in his book Essentials of Psychology. “So authoritative parenting, which is so consistently linked with positive outcomes in European American families, is not related to better school performance among African American or Asian American youngsters.”

The Bottom Line: Parenting styles are associated with different child outcomes and the authoritative style is generally linked to positive behaviors such as strong self-esteem and self-competence. However, other important factors including culture, children’s perceptions of parental treatment, and social influences also play an important role in children’s behavior.

By Kendra Cherry,
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How Do Math Manipulatives Help Children Learn?

countingStrong math skills provide the foundation for a wide variety of careers, such as computer programming, law, design and medicine. To really learn math, kids need to move beyond memorization to understand how the concepts behind the formulas work in real-world situations. Manipulatives help them make that leap by bridging the gap between concrete objects and abstract math ideas.

Useful Manipulatives

With a little creative thought, any small object can be used as a manipulative. You can use marbles, toy foods or toy animals to sort into sets or to demonstrate the quantities different numbers represent. Use small puzzles or food-to-cut toys to teach fractions or geometric shape tiles to help teach spatial concepts. Read more …

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How To Help Your Child Develop The Right Mindset For Math

Math is a part of our lives, whether we are getting groceries at the supermarket, doing the housework at home, cooking or planning a picnic. Few of us actually realize that we are using math more often than we realize. However, it’s sad to say that many children grow to dislike math for many reasons. Working with math problems can help your child become an independent thinker, effective problem solver and one that does not give up easily when faced with challenges. Help your child develop the right mindset and attitude towards math and they will learn to appreciate it.

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Develop the right attitude

Parents can be a positive force in helping their child learn math, but they can also affect their child’s perception and attitude towards math. If you are someone who constantly say things like “Mathematic is hard”, “I don’t like math too” or “I never did well during math tests”, chances are your child will not grow to like math too. You can’t make your child love math, but you can encourage her to develop the right attitude towards math by helping her to see how mathematics can change or improve her daily life. Direct her attention to the interesting and fun things she can do with math and be mindful of what you say around your child.

Take risks

Raise a risk-taker who is not afraid to try new experiences or solve a tedious problem by themselves. When working on math questions, give your child ample time to think and try. You can also encourage him to share with you on how he derives at the answer. It is a good way to help your child reflect back on what he did to solve the questions. You can also clarify and explain further on the areas that he needs help with. This will strengthen his cognitive ability and groom him up as a problem-solver.

Make mistakes

Children and sometimes, even adults are afraid of making mistakes. The fear of failing may hinder your child’s enthusiasm to learn or try new experiences. Help your child develop a love for learning math by telling them that making mistake is a way to improve their capability. Celebrate and acknowledge when they succeed, and encourage and guide them when they failed to do it right.

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Don’t Compare

Some parents can’t help it, but compare their child to the older sibling or to their friends. When you compare your child’s performance or results with others, it will tend to diminish her confidence and develop insecurities for that subject. It doesn’t matter if your child can’t count better than your neighbour’s child. Every child is special in their own ways, your child will have something they are good at too. Tap on their interests and ability to improve their mathematical awareness. Be more patient.

Balance

If you want to help your child succeed in school, you need to strike a balance between your child’s ability and your expectations. When guiding your child, be a supportive figure that guides them to perform up to their capability without placing too much pressure on their little shoulders. How can you strike a balance without pushing your child too hard?

1. Be a parent that is involved in their learning, but never overly involved.
2. Encourage your child to improve, but don’t overly stress them out.
3. Set limits for them to achieve, but provide them with the guidance they need.
4. Be there to guide them and yet still allowing them rooms to make mistakes.

Parents are the child’s first educator, and one that understands them better than anyone else. Use a variety of fun techniques like games, engage in math related conversations and plan a series of engaging math activities to teach and talk about math. Help your child develop the right mindset and a love for learning, and it will lead them towards success!


What Are The Important Skills My Child Needs For A Smooth Learning Journey?

The development of your child in the primary school years is fundamental as it lays the foundation for formal education.

For our younger students, it is really about growing their sense of curiosity, nurturing a love for the subject, and a passion for learning. Elements of play and games are infused into classes to make lessons more fun and enjoyable.

At the same time, we will also introduce hard skills such as listening, taking instructions and communicating effectively to instil confidence in your child and prepare him for the formal learning journey ahead.

For the older students who are in the kindergarten levels, we emphasize more on honing hard skills like reading, writing and problem-solving to set them on the right course for primary school.

What Can Parents Look Forward To In SMART Early Years Programme?

At Smart Excel, the focus for our Early Years curriculum is to help your child learn better, as we know that every child has different learning needs.

IDENTIFYING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE

For a start, our programmes expose your child to various learning styles to help him or her better grasp new concepts. A healthy balance of skills and component mastery is also introduced to your child, depending on his or her academic level.

CELEBRATING YOUR CHILD’S MANY FIRSTS

We also recognise the importance of bringing out your child’s personal bests so that he or she can become a confident learner. Whether it’s witnessing your child independently writing his or her name or seeing him or her construct his or her first full sentence, every achievement is celebrated at Smart Excel.

BRINGING THE WORLD INTO THE CLASSROOM

To encourage curiosity in the classroom, we introduce captivating, real-world content to your child from an early age. Through our English, Math and Malay (available from K1 onwards) lessons, we develop your child’s awareness of the world through a range of topics such as Technology, World Cities and Animals. With our passionate and engaging teachers bringing each lesson to life, your child can look forward to hands-on activities and fun components that will make academics seem like play.

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Our K2 students who graduate from the SMART Early Years programmes often find their transition into Primary 1 a breeze. Many of them are adequately prepared for the rigours of Primary 1, not only in terms of subject mastery, but also emotionally and mentally.

If you are interested to speak with our enrolment specialists about our programmes, please email ask@SmartExcel.sg or call us at 9457 5811 and we will be happy to assist.

Registration for our classes is ongoing. | See Schedule Register - Free Trail


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Take a Peek Into a Muslim Child’s Life with “A Boy Named Ibrahim”

The book is a great tool for teaching kids about the importance of respecting others’ religions and beliefs.
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As a parent of one young boy, I try to do my best to teach my son about cultural and religious diversity. I’d like to think that this helped me learn to be more accepting of others, and this is what I also want for my son.

However, being based in the Singapore, surrounded by people who generally look the same, speak the same language, and believe in the same things, I have been finding it extra challenging to teach my kid about diversity. My best “teaching tools” so far have been real-life experiences and children’s books.

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“A Boy Named Ibrahim”
This is why I was so pleased to discover A Boy Named Ibrahim, a children’s picture book published by Adarna House.

Written by Sitti Aminah “Flexi” Sarte and illustrated by Aaron Asis, the book is about a day in the life of Ibrahim, a Muslim boy. It shows how Ibrahim is able to pray five times a day, as is the duty of devout Muslims, even while he does what other children do, like go to school and play soccer.

A background
Sarte says she was motivated to write Ibrahim’s story because of the lack of Islamic children’s books. “At that time, I was pregnant with my eldest child and could not find any so I decided to write one,” she shares. “I was lucky… that Adarna picked up the story.”

“I hope to break stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, and inform the readers about the beauty of this religion,” Sarte adds. “When I was new to Islam, I would often be asked, ‘How can you pray five times a day?’

“Through this story, I hope that everyone can understand how easy it is — that even a young boy can perform his obligatory prayers,” she shares. “As for the Muslim child/parent, I hope that this encourages them to exercise their religion freely.”

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A parent’s perspective
Sarte has certainly achieved her goal of showing everyone how Muslims of all ages — even young children — can do their obligatory prayers through A Boy Named Ibrahim.

The repetitive phrases she uses in certain parts of the book, particularly when it’s time for Ibrahim to pray, will help children become familiar with the specific steps Muslims take before they say their prayers.

She also shows how Ibrahim relates with his parents in a loving and respectful way — something that I’d like to think is expected of all children, whether they are Muslims or not.

My favorite part, though, is when Ibrahim’s Mama talks to him about the importance of prayer:

“Remember that prayer is important to every Muslim.
The more we pray, the more we remember Allah.
The more we remember Allah, the more He remembers us.
The more He remembers us, the more He loves and showers us with blessings and mercy.”

Because of that particular paragraph, I believe that even non-Muslims like me will find the book useful in teaching children about the importance of prayer and putting God first.

It’s also a great springboard for discussions on many other topics like strengthening one’s faith, world religions, cultural minorities in the Philippines, Muslims in Mindanao and other parts of the world, to name a few.

Children and adults alike will also become familiar with Islamic/Arabic terms like Bismillah and Assalamu Alaikum. The glossary at the back of the book gives the definition of each new word, so you need not do any additional research.

Introducing different languages like Arabic in this way to my kids has also led us to touch on different subjects like Geography (we talked about countries in the Middle East) and Values Education (we talked about the importance of respecting others’ religions and beliefs).

To make the book a bit more “interactive,” the page after the glossary is an activity page, where children can draw pictures related to the story.

Last, but certainly not the least, I’m sure you and your children will delight in the colorful and lively illustrations by Aaron Asis, which are a perfect complement to Sarte’s story.

Reaching more people
When asked about her dream for A Boy Named Ibrahim, Sarte says she hopes that the book will reach Muslim countries and countries with Muslim minorities such as the Singapore. “Right now, I am very happy to say that we are in the exploratory stages of distributing internationally, God willing,” she adds.

One thing’s for sure: if and when Sarte’s dream comes true, a lot of families will certainly benefit from reading A Boy Named Ibrahim. I know because my family definitely has!

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The Day of the Exam: 15 Tips to Boost your Exam Performance

stressSo you have come all the way and tomorrow is finally the moment of truth, the day of the exam. At this stage you have studied almost all that you can study to be 100% ready for the big day. You have been planning, revising and studying and so there is little more you can do, right?

However hard you studied in the run up to exams, the most important work is yet to be done. Regardless of how much you have studied, it is possible that your exam performance may not reflect your hard work studying for hours on end. That is why we want to give you a few tips to maximise your performance on the day of the exam.

15 Tips for Succeeding on the Day of the Exam:

Exam Tip #1

Wake up early so that you do not need to rush through having breakfast and getting ready.

Exam Tip #2

Check the venue and time of the exam to make sure that you have not confused the day/time/venue.

Exam Tip #3

Have a balanced breakfast and eat nothing risky (probably not the best day to have a super-hot curry!). Bananas are always a good option.

Exam Tip #4

Before leaving home, check that you have everything that you will need – ID, stationery, map to the exam venue, etc.

Exam Tip #5

Head to the exam with plenty of time. A lot of unexpected events can happen on your way there and you do not want to be late!

Exam Tip #6

If there are people around who are panicking, avoid them. They are not doing you any favour!

Exam Tip #7

Go to the toilet before the exam starts. Exams can be quite long and there is no time to waste.

Exam Tip #8

Remember to write your name on the exam paper. You would not believe how many people have forgotten to do it!

Exam Tip #9

Read all the questions carefully before starting and quickly plan how much time to allocate to each.

Exam Tip #10

Start answering the questions that you feel most confident about. There is no need to answer the questions in order.

Exam Tip #11

If your brain freezes, just start writing anything and you will soon start remembering more details.

Exam Tip #12

Don’t spend more time than you planned on a particular section/question or you might run out of time to answer other questions and gain those extra marks! Also,  leave any questions that you are unsure about for the end.

Exam Tip #13

Don’t be afraid to ask the examiner if you are not clear on a question.

Exam Tip #14

Use every minute of the exam and if you have time left, review your answers before handing back the paper.

Exam Tip #15

Stay calm, you have done your homework. Do you BEST and LEAVE the rest to GOD!