The New Breed of Parents

I'm publishing this article from my friend, Suzette on the New Breed of Parents. It is so true and I'm sure the article will also resonate with you. Let me know what you think about the new breed of parents…

The New Breed of Parents by: Suzette T. Yu-Kho (ICA batch 1991) 

We reap what we sow. 

Oftentimes we hear older parents complaining about how their children seem distant, how the kids tend to be closer to their friends instead of their families.  They claim that their children do not confide in them at all.  When we inspect their family lives, we realize that the parents themselves have not spent time with their children and may have delegated their roles to hired nannies.  They may have been too controlling and highly critical, too, causing their children to seek growth and freedom outside the home, away from their parents’ grasp.  Years down the road, these children (now all grown-up) look back and decide that they do not want to repeat history.  They desire to be understanding and supportive parents who will be there for their children no matter which path their children opt to take.  This resolution has paved the way for the new breed of parents. 

For us, the new breed of parents, we take our 24/7 parenting job seriously yet joyfully.  We know that our children are God’s little angels and it is our loving duty to care for them with patience.  Here are some ideas we employ and encourage other parents to embrace: 

Stimulating the Unborn 

Through music, we connect with our unborn child in unimaginable ways.  Calm, soothing music is highly recommended as it also relaxes us mothers.  Our baby’s reactive listening begins at 16 weeks.  By the age of seven months, our unborn baby has his/her own personality with his/her own musical preference (research shows that acid rock usually agitates the baby).  The daddy plays an important role in prenatal stimulation, too.  While our baby needs our heartbeat, the daddy’s voice connects with our baby since our baby responds to low, deep-frequency sounds.  This means that the father has to frequently speak and read to our baby.  The baby in our womb is receptive to stimulation even when asleep because, unlike an adult, our baby does not “turn off” his/her cerebral cortex when in slumber. 

The period from conception to birth is critical for brain development and establishing a strong immune system.  It is also a wonderful time to bond with our baby.  The baby who receives prenatal stimulation is born relaxed with hands open at birth, ready to accept the world.     

Attending Prenatal/Lamaze Classes 

Prenatal classes give mothers the confidence to go through natural childbirth as we are informed what to expect (i.e. the most painful phase is actually the shortest phase) and fathers are involved every step of the way.  Why go through Lamaze when there are pain-killers?  Natural childbirth decreases the chances of complications arising from epidurals.  Babies are also born alert, ready to be breastfed (although milk supply takes 2-4 weeks to build up) when no medication is involved.  The best part of attending prenatal sessions is the fact that we receive a certificate permitting the daddy to be at the delivery room, allowing him to bond with our baby the minute he/she is born.   

Breastfeeding 

Gone are the days when nursing moms were frowned upon.  Today’s new mom proudly bonds with her baby through breastfeeding and says “no bottles, no pacifiers, no water for babies until six months of age”.  The antibodies in breastmilk cannot be replicated by any infant formula.  They reduce the risk of SIDS, cancers such as childhood leukemia, contracting ear infections and cold and flu bugs.  There is no danger of our baby ingesting melamine or becoming overweight due to high sugar content.  Also, breastmilk changes with the weather (when the weather is chilly, breastmilk tends to get creamier and when the weather is warm, breastmilk becomes watery).  Breastfeeding reduces our risk of contracting breast cancer in the future, too. Aesthetically, it helps us attain our pre-pregnancy weight in less than 8 months.   

Hands-On Parenting 

More and more parents are cutting back on working hours to spend time with their children.  They realize that teaching proper values outweighs providing too much material comfort.  They also want to utilize the concepts they have read in parenting books.  Hands-on parents are less dependent on nannies and are able to train their children to do chores and become self-sufficient.   

Enrolling in Baby and Toddler Classes 

Sharing fun, musical moments with our children as well as witnessing them interacting with other children are magical times indeed.  These baby and toddler classes encourage the concept of “scaffolding” which is building up on our children’s ideas.    The total development of our children is the main focus of these classes—activities which promote our children’s self-esteem and stimulate their cognitive, language, fine and gross motor skills are essential to their growth.  An MRI test has proven that children with early music stimulation learn new languages more quickly than those who did not receive such an opportunity.  Baby and toddler classes also build up on our children’s emotional intelligence—a factor more important than I.Q. 

Considering Progressive/Alternative Schooling 

Today’s parents are not overly concerned about academic achievement.  We realize that grades are not indicative of a child’s future success and we know that each child is unique and has his/her own way of learning.  While the traditional approach may be effective for some children, other children flourish in a progressive setting.  Other parents
may also consider home-schooling depending on the child’s needs and temperament.
 

Displaying Affection

Our children are constantly craving for love and attention.  By openly hugging and kissing them and saying “I love you”, we are reassuring them that no matter what happens, we are always ready to listen to their dreams and share in their heartaches.  Studies show that babies who are often hugged and kissed cry less as toddlers; children who are confident of their parents’ love become compassionate adults.  Cruel leaders (such as Stalin) have grown up in dysfunctional families whose parents humiliated them and were incapable of displaying affection.  Children who grow up not feeling loved form unhealthy relationships, have a poor self-image, perpetuate dysfunctional behaviors in their own children and may be unpatriotic to their own hometown and often live very far away from their parents. 

Truly, we reap what we sow.  If we want the next generation to build a better world, we have to start with our children RIGHT NOW.  By becoming the best parents we can ever be, we are changing society…one step at a time. 

Suzette is the outgoing ICAAA editor-in-chief.  Happily married with two young boys, Suzette also teaches and manages her own Kindermusik program.

18 thoughts on “The New Breed of Parents

  1. As a parent, my greatest fear is my children’s future falling into a path i never want them to be in. And im kind of happy to notice that I somehow am doing or making an effort to do what is listed above. Thanks for sharing this

  2. To ana,
    Hmm… Your greatest fear is your children’s future falling into a path YOU never want them to be in. But what about their wants? What if what they want for themselves does not jive with what you want for them?

  3. I fear some people might think this “new parenting” thing is a replacement to good old fashioned child rearing. Nothing wrong with being more active and spending time with the kids- none at all… but I have also seen parents who devote so much time and resources to their kids that:
    1. they have lost their own identities and have mutated into pandering sycophants of their own kids.
    2. they have given in too much to their own kids’ wants and demands that they have become weak and false role models.
    3. they have unintentionally raised overbearing spoiled brats who run around and scream in restaurants, churches and other public places thereby giving the kids the suggestion that it is alright to be rude and act like wild monkeys in a civilized environment.
    4. they have let kids be the decision makers (where are we going today? what are we going to eat for dinner? where do you want to go for summer?) when the fact of the matter is the parents should be the adults in situations like this.
    I could go on and on… but you see these families everywhere- the mall, the church, in restaurants, parties, etc… don’t get me wrong- kids are supposed to have fun and all that, and parents are part of this fun too- but parents should also be the guiding light for kids… not their glorified nannies.

  4. The author wrote this:
    “More and more parents are cutting back on working hours to spend time with their children. ”
    No offense, pero me and my spouse work not only because we want to give the best to our kids, but we also want to show our kids that mommy and daddy have good work ethics and masipag kami sa trabaho so sana pagtanda ninyo hindi kayo aasa sa ibang tao. We have successfully shown so far to our kids that we work hard for them, and we also work hard kasi hindi maganda ang magmukhang tamad at pa-easy easy lang lalo na sa panahon ngayon. Mga anak namin naiintindihan bakit kami pumapasok sa trabaho. Hindi dapat maging dahilan ang mga bata kung magbabawas ka ng oras sa trabaho… basta nasa tama ang oras I don’t see why people need to cut down on their working hours. Instead of helping it might leave a bad impression on the kids.

  5. What the author said is nothing new at all, in fact, she is going back to the basics of “good old-fashioned child-rearing” as you call it. Our great-great grandmothers devoted a lot of time to their children: they breastfed and homeschooled; our great-great grandfathers spent hours doing chores with their children and families before tv and radio were born would sit around and sing songs and play games (the same thing they do in these baby and toddler classes).
    When you see spoiled brats in the malls, they may be the products of parents who spent too much time working instead of paying attention to their children.

  6. agree with you JJ. and besides i don’t see why being a full time parent is being like tamad or pa easy-easy lang. i believe that being there for your children is a gift, not everybody has the luxury to be a full time parent. to ursula, it’s beneficial to a child to have even at least 1 parent at home. it you wish to be a sociopath, then you got a problem. life is all about choices. you can choose to empower yourself as a working parent, or as a full time parent. i believe time and resources are something that our children deserve. a child does not behave badly simply because they have a full time parent, but it is because the parent is raising the child the wrong way, using the child as a means to validate him/herself.
    there’s also such a mindset that you don’t need to work for a company, you can have money work for you, so you can spend more time with your family and make sure that your children are growing up well. instead of teaching your child to slave away to earn money, teach your child how to make money work for him/her, like investments, real estate and internet marketing. yeah nothing beats good working ethics it’s just that there are ways to go around it and focus on stuff which are more important — like being there for your kids when they fall and get bruised, cry over their first heartbreak, help out with their science projects, and just be there for them, that’s better than getting home tired from working all the time. sinong parent ang may ayaw sa ganon, di ba?
    just my two cents. 🙂

  7. Well said, Belle! The author did not say that we should stop working altogether. I think what she means by “cutting back on working hours” is prioritizing children over work. I know of several who ask for an afternoon off, for example, to attend their child’s graduation or important tournament. It really makes a child’s day. On the other hand, there are some who feel that they don’t have to be there for important events because they have work. Of course the child will say he understands, but deep inside, he feels unappreciated and even envious of his classmates whose parents are there at the event.
    Making money work for you is right. Some have chosen to open up their home-based businesses so that their children can be with them and at the same time, the kids help out with the business. The kids realize all the more that being innovative and frugal are important at this day and age. More and more companies are open to telecommuting to save costs, too. Other families naman have this arrangement: the dad works in a company while the mom works part-time from the house.
    I’m also wondering what Ursula means when she says that she wants to give her kids the best. Does she mean material stuff like the latest Wii game? A Harvard education? What does she mean by good work ethics? Leaving your kids to nannies and drivers so that you can pursue your career? At the end of your life, you won’t say, “Oh, I wish I spent more time at the office.” You will wish that you spent more time with your children!

  8. after 14 years, i took a hiatus from corporate life to focus on my 3 year old (whom admittedly, i had rather late in life since career was a priority for a long time). i do think that the saying ‘if you can’t raise ’em yourself, don’t have ’em’ is true.
    my husband is american and he and i are lucky enough to be able to work mostly from home these days. by choice for the past 1.5 yrs, we have had no yaya. our daughter started to read by the time she was 2.5 yrs old, says please and thank you, pretty much carries her own little backpack of ‘comfort’ toys and books whenever we go out, and has not needed a stroller since she was 8 months old. aside from the occasional mild tantrum that is developmentally appropriate for all toddlers, she is a fairly well-behaved little girl.
    there has been a marked difference since she stopped having a yaya take care of her at 2 years of age, and it’s more than just because of age.
    i do believe that life is in the little moments.
    i sometimes see children running around the play areas or parks with their moms around but busily texting away on some work related manner, not 100% completely in the moment. i feel bad for those moms, because they are missing on something that is right in front of them.
    i know, because i was once there. i know that no matter how much you do ‘quality time’, if you are at work or outside more than at home, or if you put a time limit or budget to how much you will be around your child then you are bound to miss a lot of little moments or not be as ‘present’ as you would like. and you never know when one of those moments will be forever etched in your child’s mind or will be one of her defining moments. thus, my decision to step outside the corporate arena.
    while i agree on most of the points above, i am not sure we are quite there yet when it comes to real hands-on parenting. at least, we are definitely not in the league of our counterparts in the US or even that of our neighbors in hk or singapore – and it’s definitely not something to crow about. you just have to look at the malls even on a weekend or during the holidays (yes, non-working days!) and see parents still with 2-3 yayas tagging along after their 1-2 kids (yayas outnumbering the children) to realize what i mean.
    convenience, you say? come on.
    in my gymboree classes alone, where mommy/baby/toddler interaction is encouraged, you will find that even on weekend classes only 3 out of 10 kids will be alone with their mom or dad. even more rare, unless they are expats, that you will find them without a yaya backup. most times, the moms are just outside the play area while yaya romps with baby. worse, some moms opt to stay outside and watch through the glass windows while it is the yaya that sits with the child in what are supposed to be mommy and me classes.
    how hands on is that.
    i think most parents may be more hands on in the ideas or practices they choose to implement or apply to their children and are certainly more open minded in their beliefs or what they are willing to try – but in terms of they themselves actually doing the dirty work or part of parenting (spits, spill ups, boo boos and all)…well, in some ways we have improved, but in other ways i think yayas and their alalays are around more than ever. the moms are sometimes just around for the fun times…but when baby spits up or decides to throw a tantrum, or gets in the way of their shopping…then yaya takes over.
    not so hands on.
    and as for all those toddler classes, if it is just yaya going with your child…then they will not benefit as much as if mommy was with them. i know because my daughter is with a child who started going to infant development classes when he was 6 months old – but with yaya mostly. my daughter and i only started at 2.7 yrs. yet she has a larger vocabulary, reads better, and is overall more socially adjusted.
    i don’t mean to be cynical and i understand that a lot of people do have to work and don’t have the luxury of being able to do it from home. but i am talking about the weekends and holidays. the time that you are actually allowed to be away from the office. even during this time, the parents seem intimidated to manage their own children by themselves. either that or they won’t muster the energy for it.
    and until i see more parents actually managing their children on their own, sans yayas, i will have an eyebrow raised at the idea that pinoys actually have the confidence to be more hands on in the actual parenting sense.

  9. Hi Ursula,
    I’m sorry but was this comment directed at me? If so, I really don’t understand what you;re trying to tell me. I was merely asking ana punongbayan about her choice of words.

  10. I agree with you Belle . . . I think being a full time parent is one of the hardest unpaid for job and definitely not synonymous to being lazy or carefree. Although, as belle said, not everyone has the luxury of being a full time non-working parent.

  11. Hmmm, in my opinion, working less does not translate to being lazy. It’s better to work smart than to work hard. Working smart by making money work for you allows one to be free to do what is more important in life like spending precious time with your family and living life to the fullest, instead of being trapped in the rat-race where one needs to work hard because one has no choice.

  12. Actually its that “path” that all parents would not want their children to be going. We will try our best to give our kids the liberty of deciding for themselves when we feel that they are ready to do so and with no hesitation to ask for help from us if necessary. But the aim is to prepare them for that. We as parents have that “gift” to read what our kids want in life, and to gear them towards that, is the ultimate goal. That’s just my opinion.. 🙂
    Thanks!

  13. parenting is a balancing act. You can be sweet and caring yet tough and in-control. Its always nice to hear out what the kids have in mind but you should always have the final say with consideration of their opinions. That’s just my style though and I hope it’ll work. 🙂

  14. Its not about the money, or the wii… maybe a Harvard education would be nice for our kids too but I’m gunning for MIT. Its about being an example to our kids. Its about being there to our kids AND also being able to show that we are our own individuals too and we are role models when they grow up and help in building this country. Its about playing hard AND working hard. I don’t see a lot of people agreeing with me, maybe because we are all different people.
    In our family we grew up thankful that our parents worked so hard to give us a good education and provide for us that looking back would seem like way beyond their means. Our parents were born and grew up in post WW2 Manila, and from those ruins they and their parents, and the rest of the country for that matter, rebuilt from the rubble and flourished because of their sacrifices. I never begrudged them for sometimes having to work late, or sometimes they seem too tired to go out to the old Luneta playground, or sometimes we just stay home during Holy Week. They made us understand the importance of work and sacrifice, and hopefully I get to show this to our kids.
    It kinda reminds me of how a lot of people called that generation (post WW2) “The Greatest Generation” and some people (like Clint Eastwood) calls the present one “The Pussy Generation”.

  15. I know of a mother who is into this “new age” type of parenting buying up all these books in Page One and Amazon and all that….
    She’s a homemaker, but she only carries/holds/plays/interact with her baby when the baby is in a jovial mood. If the baby is upset its back to the yaya… her reason is she read it somewhere that a parent should always try to spend time with the baby when the baby is happy. Positive upbringing daw.

  16. It will be better if our children work hard for their own education instead of their parents handing them an MIT education on a silver platter. My colleagues and I have worked hard while studying abroad and we value our education more than those whose parents gave their kids tuition fees.
    Many university graduates are so unqualified because they lack work experience compared to their counterparts abroad who were working students since the age of 15. At age 15-16, they were telemarketers, mall employees, etc. Their parents spent a lot of time with them and taught them values such as self-reliance. They would save up for their tuition and even take on student loans.
    Your parents spent time with you, Ursula, and that’s great. You don’t need to go out during Holy Week. The important thing is they spent time with you and they did not miss your milestones. This is the point I’ve been driving at. What’s best is when we also work with our children. I know of many families whose children helped them in the business and learned to be frugal at an early age. Later on, these children have begun to be innovative instead of slaving away at some company. What a waste of a good university education to just have your children sacrifice their lives to work for a company when they can be smarter and make money work for them!

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