There’s no surefire way to guarantee success in your career, love life, or friendships, right? Similarly, there is no single way to ensure that you get your parenting technique absolutely right. We aren’t magicians. Neither do we have magical nannies like Mary Poppins at our disposal to iron out all the wrinkles. If that were the case, siblings born to the same set of parents would turn out exactly the same. The world would be able to produce cookie-cutter models of the successful and smiling children they want.
Sounds like a dream? Yes. But, would this also take away from the unique, complex beauty that is innately part of a child’s individuality? Absolutely! That being said, you can follow a small set of science and evidence-backed rules to navigate the weird and wonderful world of parenting. The idea is to make sure your kids are sorted, confident and also see you as a safe and secure space.
According to UNICEF, neuroscientists who study baby brains say music also has long-lasting emotional benefits. They have cited a study from the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences that detected, “After babies listen to music, their auditory and prefrontal cortexes look different. These are the regions of the brain in charge of processing both music and speech… The positive effects of listening to music have been seen to extend to personality traits, like being helpful and cooperative. While listening to music impacts the brain, making music is even more powerful. This is because making music requires fine motor skills (such as being able to grip and squeeze objects), as well as linguistic and mathematical precision, and creativity ─ firing up several areas of the brain.”
Although kindness and compassion should definitely be the norm while raising a child, psychologist Heena Kumar says that this shouldn’t be confused with absolving them from responsibilities and chores. Her rationale is that if you hand over everything to them on a platter, they do not realise that things need to be done. This sets them up for incompetence and failure later in life, for the smallest of things. “Be kind, but very firm. If your teenage child isn’t capable of doing their own laundry, let them live with dirty clothes until they learn no one else is going to do this for them. If your six-year-old isn’t clearing up their toys, tell them you will wait 24 hours before you donate them – and follow through on it. Another principle that I absolutely believe in is the Pygmalion Effect. Although this is employed mainly in boardrooms and classrooms, parenting using this tool can encourage your child to be the best version of himself or herself. Keeping your expectations for your child high, encouraging them, and telling them that they’re more than capable of achieving their goals, will help them work towards fulfilling their best potential. Finally, it isn’t just how you treat your child – the overall surrounding vibe also matters. If a child is raised in an environment with conflict, friction, and stress, they are lesser likely to be well-adjusted or emotionally secure.”
Science may not have all the answers. It may not tell us how to get our children into medical college, or marry the perfect partner, or earn that hefty pay packet. What science can do, is give you certain research-based guidelines to raise children who are emotionally and mentally strong enough to make good decisions that could potentially set them on the path to all those other wonderful things….
Lastly, we absolutely love this little nugget from research backed by the Harvard Business School. Contrary to popular belief, children with mothers who work outside the home actually score over those with stay-at-home mums. Daughters were more likely to have a job in a supervisory role and earned 23 per cent more than women who were raised by stay-at-home mothers. As for sons of working mothers, they contributed much more to home chores and childcare – at least a couple of hours a day – than sons of stay-at-home mums. "Role modelling is a way of signalling what's appropriate in terms of how you behave, what you do, the activities you engage in, and what you believe," the study's lead author, Harvard Business School professor Kathleen L McGinn has been quoted as saying, "There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother!"