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.