SOUTH AFRICA: Terrible Twos AND Terrible Teens?

SOUTH AFRICA: Terrible Twos AND Terrible Teens?

Parenting Styles

I clearly remember (as a young first-time mother struggling with my son’s colic and projectile vomiting) being told by other mothers;  “Oh, that’s nothing, just you wait until he hits the Terrible Twos!”

That colicky baby turned 21 last month, and I have learnt a few things along the way!  First and foremost, children tend to live up to our expectations (even our subconscious expectations).  If you’re sure that you will experience the “Terrible Twos” chances are better than fair that you will. The sad thing is that most parents don’t know that it doesn’t have to be that way!

Every child is unique, and every parent-child relationship is different, that’s why there are as many parenting styles and beliefs as there are parents.  That said, most parenting sites and blogs tend to reinforce certain ideas (like that of the Terrible Toddler years and Terrible Teen years) so that new parents accept them as being inevitable stages of life.

Robert Rosenthal brought to public attention a powerful type of self-fulfilling prophecy, in a classic experiment about the expectations of teachers (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). In the experiment, all the students in a class were given a standard IQ test. After the results were scored, the researchers informed the teachers that five students in the class had unusually high IQ scores and would probably be “spurters” who leaped ahead of their classmates during the remainder of the year. In reality, the five children were picked at random. By the end of the year, all the children had gained in IQ, but the five “spurters” had gained much more than other students. Evidently the teachers treated them differently after being told to expect sudden improvement.”

Since 1968 many similar experiments to the one cited above have been carried out.

“Rosenthal notes that the expectancy effect has been documented in business management (where the biasing effect is the expectations of employers about their employees), in courtrooms (where the biasing effect is the expectations about the defendant’s guilt or innocence), and in nursing homes (where the biasing effect is the expectation that a patient will get better or worse). 

In all cases, the expectations tend to come true, whether they are based on any objective evidence or not. 

 Apparently, as a general rule, people make their expectations come true. Rosenthal’s research shows the Pygmalion effect is not only important; it is robust. It is a strong effect that occurs in many situations.”

I believed in the “Terrible Twos” with my son (because I didn’t know any better) and we battled for 2 years!  By the time my daughter was born, I’d learnt a lot, and I believed we wouldn’t have any trouble at all … guess what, we didn’t! We also haven’t experienced any of the unpleasantness that some believe is unavoidable during the pre-teen, teen and early adulthood years.

Given the above,  I feel that the Terrible Twos and Terrible Teens are only fact if you believe them to be!

Can you think of ways in which your children have lived up to your expectations? Do you believe that by expecting a different result you can create a different result?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mamma Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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KENYA: Are French Parents Really Superior?

A few days ago a good friend sent me this article provokingly titled “Why French Parenting is Superior” Maybe you’ve read it? I’m a bit out of the loop here in Western Kenya, but I’m assuming it’s getting a lot of attention because even my 24 year-old male colleague had heard of it.

Anyway, the article starts off with the author’s observation, after several years living and raising kids in France, that French kids are simply better behaved. They sit quietly at the table, acquiesce to parents’ demands and know how to play peacefully by themselves. This is laid out in stark contrast to the tantrums and power struggles seen all over American playgrounds.

So, what’s going on here?

First, the author asserts that the French view their role more as “educators” than “disciplinarians,” which gives them more patience and a slightly different perspective in the face of tantrums.

In addition, French parents simply “lay down the law” a bit more firmly, but still lovingly. (more…)

Mama Mzungu (Kenya)

Originally from Chicago, Kim has dabbled in world travel through her 20s and is finally realizing her dream of living and working in Western Kenya with her husband and two small boys, Caleb and Emmet. She writes about tension of looking at what the family left in the US and feeling like they live a relatively simple life, and then looking at their neighbors and feeling embarrassed by their riches. She writes about clumsily navigating the inevitable cultural differences and learning every day that we share more than we don’t. Come visit her at Mama Mzungu.

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INDIA: Interview with The Alchemist

INDIA: Interview with The Alchemist

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I now live in Chennai,India. I am from a smaller town, around 350 miles from here. I lived in the same house and even had the same room for twenty-five years of my life.

I did my entire schooling, college education and even post-graduate education there. After getting married, I settled down here in Chennai with my physician husband and son.

I have never moved much in my life, have strong roots and hopefully don’t intend to move out of this home anytime soon.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English, Hindi (India’s National language) and Tamil (my mother tongue). I read and writer the same three languages. I am not great at picking up languages, rather I should say, the necessity has never been there. (more…)

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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INDIA: Parenting Styles, East vs. West

A recent book, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, about the Chinese-American method of raising children, almost caused a hurricane in the parenting world. Many were quick to defend their own parenting styles, some supported the author, Prof. Amy Chua, and yet ,others maintained their peace.

Parenting styles are so varied in different cultures. For instance, in my homeland, India, we don’t think much about teaching our kids a thing or two with a stick handy. It is supposed to be for their ‘own good’.

In schools, they may be subjected to the ‘cane treatment’ if they haven’t done their homework, for talking in class or for general misbehaviour. At home, their parents may give them a slap or two if they disobey. Even the elders in the family have every right to chastise the kids of the house. (more…)

Veena Davis (Singapore)

Veena has experienced living in different climes of Asia - born and brought up in the hot Middle East, and a native of India from the state known as God’s Own Country, she is currently based in the tropical city-state of Singapore. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Several years ago, she came across World Moms Network (then World Moms Blog) soon after its launch, and was thrilled to become a contributor. She has a 11-year old son and a quadragenarian husband (although their ages might be inversed to see how they are with each other sometimes). ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ On a professional front, she works in the financial sector - just till she earns enough to commit to her dream job of full-time bibliophile. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ You can also find Veena at her personal blog, Merry Musing. ⠀

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