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  • 7 Simple Pieces Of Advice To Get Away From The 'Nakaugalian Na' Parenting Styles

    Break away from the pattern of unhealthy parenting, says this prominent Filipino family psychologist.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
7 Simple Pieces Of Advice To Get Away From The 'Nakaugalian Na' Parenting Styles
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  • Ever wondered how parenting patterns seem to show itself from one generation to the next?

    “When you’re a very young child, you absorb what your parents do, what they say, and who they are without knowing it,” renowned family psychologist Dr. Honey Carandang explained. She was speaking before parents of students Grades 9-12 at a talk titled “Galing ni Nanay, Galing ni Tatay: A Conversation on Mindful Parenting,” organized by the Grade 10 parent officers of Miriam College.

    “You absorb it totally, and in your whole person, so it’s very deep, and it is inside of you until you become aware of what’s going on inside you,” she continued. Such a process, she said, is the reason patterns of behavior continue from one generation to the next.

    Dr. Carandang, a pioneer in family therapy, play therapy, and trauma management, is a practitioner, speaker, and advocate of mindful parenting. She has had intensive training on mindfulness from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn and from American professor and University of Massachusetts’s Center for Mindfulness founder Jon Kabat Zinn.

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    How to break the pattern of unhealthy parenting

    Through mindfulness or being aware, Dr. Carandang says, parents, can catch themselves and even break the pattern of unhealthy parenting. “Your awareness will give you a choice on whether you will do this thing that your parent has done to you or not.”

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    In developing the practice of mindful parenting, Dr. Carandang identifies “non-negotiables” that parents have to keep in mind when dealing with their children:

    1. A parent needs to practice self-awareness.

    Being self-aware can be as simple as appreciating and enjoying your breakfast, says Dr. Carandang. “Thich Nath Than says ‘Your breakfast is there for you. Are you there for your breakfast?’” Many consider such activities as a waste of time, but, on the contrary, she says by being aware of what we consider mundane and routine, we can enrich our lives and be kinder.

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    2. Show respect.

    You cannot ask your children to respect you if you don’t show them respect, stresses Dr. Carandang. She says listening to our children is already an exercise of respect. When parents listen, this indicates that they believe in their children, which builds trust and respect. 

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    3. Discipline with dignity.

    Parents sometimes discipline without considering the dignity of the child. “It’s so common,” says Dr. Carandang. “Pag pinapagalitan ang anak, may katuloy na ‘tanga’ or ‘tamad.’ What do insults do? It gives a negative feeling, and the child will rebel rather than be wanting to do what you ask him to.” Discussing the consequences of an action and agreeing on it is a better approach, she says.

    4. Build a strong foundation of integrity.

    One of the most tangible things parents can do to build integrity is to validate a child’s feelings,” says Dr. Carandang. “Remember a feeling is never right or wrong. It’s what you do with it that makes it so.” When parents are aware, they allow their children to be mindful of their feelings, too, and, in the process, guide them better on how they will cope with it.

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    5. Have clear and open communication.

    When communicating with a child, the most important thing to do is listen. “Listening is the most healing thing you can do, and it is also the best way to negotiate anything,” advises Dr. Carandang. Listening shows that the child matters. “One of the most basic things that a person needs to know from infancy to death is that “I matter,” she reiterates.

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    6. Exemplify kindness.

    Kindness works not just in marital relationships but especially in parenting, says Dr. Carandang. “A child learns to be kind when somebody is kind to him, and the feeling of kindness is so worthy,” she adds. “Because the person you’re being kind to feel good, then you feel good.” It’s a win-win situation.

    7. Don’t forget to care for you.

    To illustrate self-care, Dr. Carandang cites an example of a mother whose favorite part of the chicken is the leg but ends up eating the neck each time so her child and husband could have the best parts.“For once take the leg because it will change their view,” advises Dr. Carandang.

    “Subliminally, you are giving them the opportunity to take you for granted while you think you are being nice and sacrificing. We need to make our children know that they can give to us and not just us to them,” she concludes.

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