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I Wish I had Learned Effective Parenting Skills Earlier

Updated on March 3, 2017
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Ruth, a.k.a. Elayne Kongaika, was raised in the orchard town of Orem, Utah. She married a Polynesian and has had amazing travel experiences.


Different Parenting Styles

Our children were raised in a multicultural family. My husband is Polynesian and I am Caucasian. We both wanted children, but never discussed how we would discipline them as they grew. We moved to the islands when our first child was only six months old, so I saw firsthand how Polynesian children were disciplined. It was a total shock to me.

Instinctive or Learned Behavior

The Polynesians have a belief that if the child does not sleep with the mother every night, they will grow up to be a distant unloveable individual. They call it “mohe ‘ofi”. Where I was raised, babies had their own little nursery and were left alone at night. This was only the beginning of our differences. Our poor little children were our guinea pigs as we tried to meld our two cultures together. Fortunately, they survived childhood mostly undamaged.

Our first instinct as parents was to punish our children when they misbehaved. The Polynesian way was a little harsher than the way I was used to. Often it included a hit on the head, bottom or swish with a twig or worse. Sometimes my husband and I would disagree on what was appropriate. He had been raised with a father who was very physical in his punishment. I would even scream for my kids to run away from their daddy and hide so they wouldn’t be hurt. On the other hand, my parents did not discipline me enough. We had been raised on opposite ends of the discipline spectrum.

Effective Praise

If we had only had this guideline of Effective Praise when our children were younger, I’m sure we would have had much less grief in our marriage relationship. Our two oldest children would have had a happier childhood if we had some mutual understanding in how to react when they misbehaved as all children do. The natural inclination of most parents is to treat children as they were treated.

Another reason I wish I had learned this skill of Effective Praise earlier is that instead of being mentors to our children, often we were seen as enemies, in particular, my husband. One mischievous son would hide in the closet when he did something he knew he would be disciplined for. He often sought my protection. It is interesting that as he grew older, he had a distaste for authoritarian men.


Parenting Style

In most cases, our parenting style was just the opposite of the Effective Praise Skill. The children were just expected to do their chores with no reason and usually without praise or reward. But, if they did something wrong, they were punished. I believe if we had followed the steps in this parenting skill, our children would have more self-confidence, respect and be kinder to their own children.

It takes a lot of effort for a married couple to come together on learning the best parenting skills for their children.

Do you and your spouse have the same parenting skills?

See results

Please share what parenting skills that have worked for you. We can become more effective parents by being open to proven skills learned from others.

Parenting is one of the hardest things you will ever do. It can be a joyful and satisfying experience or frustrating and hurtful depending on how you teach and react to your children.

© 2017 Elayne


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