Updated on

The extensive use of electronic devices today demand that parents embrace technology and adapt to new parenting styles if they are to raise children positively in the 21st Century. It involves curving parenting lives around technology and learning new skills that were nonexistent only a decade ago. Otherwise, there is a risk of sounding irrelevant before Alpha and a bulk of Generation Z kids, who are true digital natives.

Millennials and a small number of Baby Busters (Xers) form the bulk of parents today. They are forced to weave their way through tech-parenting like no other demographic group. Both were raised by parents who knew little about technology. A few of the following parenting styles should be tried out to help raise children positively.

1. An Early Start

We have to plan ahead and start early. To do this, we should adjust our lifestyles to suit parenthood as soon as babies start popping out.  Nurturing should start right from the day of birth in order to create a lasting foundation. Because of extensive exposure to technology, babies today are learning stuff earlier and faster than their grown-up siblings and parents. It is easy to assume they are unaware of the environment around them until they are five years or so. On the contrary, they recognize faces, voices, smell and test very early on. They will sense movement, colors, and objects placed around them.

They take everything in and use them as building blocks for the future.  For example, they will assume it is fine when parents are absent at home day in day out. They will assume it is okay when parents scream at each other all the time if that is what they do.  Or they will learn that two people can stay together happily when parents are usually happy. Be prepared to set a lasting example from day one.

2. Embrace Technology

The new babies meet technology as soon as they say hello to this world. The cameras, the flashes, and all the tech-driven medical equipment fascinate them immediately. They realize soon, this is part of life. As such new parenting styles should be designed to embrace and learn the tools the little fellows crave for. Otherwise, smartphone and other tech devices will parent and run their lives. The more informed parents are about tech, the more likely the will discover what works and what may derail them. We have to talk to kids about technology starting very early. We will know it is time when they begin asking for our phones to play a game.

Starting with generation Z, and now Alpha, technology is at the forefront of everything they do. It is a compulsory activity for them and in no way will it go away. Kids queuing up in stores are not complaining but rather are happy they have time enough to delve into social media. Those hanging out in open fields are not engaging in sports activities but busy on smartphones.

They engage in social media interactions like their lives depend on it, and sadly, you are not going to meet them on any social platform. You are lucky if they want you to. While Xers and millennials are tailor-made for Facebook, Z and Alpha are open to more audio-visual oriented YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram platforms. It is because that is where their peers are.

Our job as parents is to get ahead of the game and let them know the pitfalls that lie ahead if these platforms are misused. The children should not let technology, and phones, in particular, interfere with other aspects of life. For example, they should not use phones when doing house chores or at dinner time, and so shouldn’t the parents. They should also be open about what they read, view and exchange online with friends, and report anything inappropriate, coming from their peers.

They need to be educated about the dangers of wireless devices and EMF radiation, and that their brains are still growing and are prone to the effects of radiation.

3. Happy Parents

The innocent baby is born into a world full of complexities. It so happens, that the first people they interact with happen to be parents and family around them. These will make a lasting impression on them. Modern parents are caught sandwiched between growing responsibilities and parenting. By the end of the day, they are left tired and devoid of happiness.

It is understandable but not right when bringing up new babies. These kids need to learn happiness early on. If you intend to raise children that are happy, try to be happy yourself.

4. Quality time

kids need warmth

The hustle and bustle of life today keeps the multitasking parents away from home most of the day. We entrust the nannies with parenting tasks. While nannies are a good thing, the touch and feel of real parents can never be equaled. This increases bonding and you will discover behavioral patterns and anything peculiar you could miss by staying away all the time. The closer and more a parent hangs out with children, the better they bond and learn each other.

The kids below five will definitely embrace ‘good manners’ this early. This period should be used to instill values in them that nannies are possibly not capable of. Daddy time is especially crucial and should never be underestimated. Since moms are usually available most of the time, it is the fathers that need to create more time.

5. Watch Your Tone!

Good parenting styles do not involve screaming at young children. Voices should be kept low when interacting with them. If we must, we should take it somewhere else. Most importantly, we need not scream and abuse children out of anger or for whatever reason. Children are always learning and will annoy you now and then. But that is no reason to get hyper.

In any case, they may never understand the mistakes they have done until they are much older.

6. Stick to Schedules

We have to develop a routine by doing stuff at the right time. Children grow up knowing certain things are done at certain times only if nurtured so. This even helps to fight off behavior arising from irregular activities such as picky eating. For example, waking up early in the morning and having the chores done on a timely routine, is a sure way to groom responsible children. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be ready at regulated hours on a daily basis.

Secondly, time for meals should be respected and not messed up by other activities, like cell phone usage.  Parents should set the example by putting mobile phones aside.

7. Teach Values

From the word go, children need to learn behavioral tenets which have guided many of the morally upright people around the world. They should learn honesty, humility, generosity, and love, early on. Above all, they should learn to be considerate of the feelings of others who are offended by their actions and learn to say sorry. Most of these tenets were taught in homes and Sunday school in the days gone by, and thankfully, are still emphasized in a few places. As a whole, however, society has evolved, and new parenting styles seem to be taking the place of righteousness and religion.

Religion helps groom conscience, a fact of life that is fast eluding us. Conscience allows us to know the difference between right and wrong. For example, religion teaches that killing, stealing and coveting add up to a bad person. In the same vein, honesty, kindness, generosity, and respect makes a good person. Children bought up without conscience grow up unaware of the responsibilities to themselves and those around them.

8. Teach  Work

Children should begin learning the responsibilities of life when still young. Let them do the little chores at home and somehow will appreciate the value of work. Let them do utensils, clean portions of the house etc. They will not be intimidated or embarrassed when the time for real work comes, later on in life.

When we keep kids away from work, we are bound to raise children who are indifferent to work.

9. Praise and Correct

A parent is a guardian angel designed to put the children right. Teach them about the wrongs and rights of life but do not expect them to be perfect, because, neither are you.

Kids should be praised when they do the right stuff and should be cautioned them when they err. While at it, we do not need to be harsh. Still, we must be firm while correcting them. When they understand from us the seriousness of the matter, they will avoid the same mistake, next time around. Even if they fail to learn fast enough, we have to exercise patience and correct them again and again.

10. Beware of Negative Habits

Restrain from indulging in habits that will confuse and redirect children away from the right path. Habits such as smoking, alcoholism, arguing and fighting, especially before the little ones will instill in them the same traits. The children will most probably embrace these habits and become abusive themselves during teen and adult life.

Instead, educate them about the consequences of these and similar habits and how they should stay away from them.

11. Avail Space

Children grow up wanting to touch everything and roaming everywhere. That is our plan in life anyway. Parents are however driven by fear to control these adventures. Yes, many unwanted things can happen to children out of excitement. But they do these out of pleasure and excitement. Get out of the way and let them explore the world as they wish. It should be a pleasure to see kids discover the world on their own.

Avail children the space they need

Avail children the space they need