Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a Mom. I want to surround myself with the joyful laughter of children and unleash my inner child too! As a child, my idea of being a Mom was being my child’s best friend, giving them everything they wanted and making them as happy as possible. Of course, we all know this is a silly childhood fantasy and that couldn’t possibly work in the real world. As I matured and experience more real life situations, my motherhood ideas began to change. I want to be loving, yet strict, patient yet in charge and in control of my children. It wasn’t until I had children of my own and was thrown in the heat of the moment, that the type of parent I would become was determined.
I have read many different parenting books in the last eight years. Some point out minor flaws that I am making and offer solutions to correcting them. Others provided quizes and tests to determine how I would mostly likely react in a certain situation. One even made me feel so horrible about my parenting style, for a moment, I pondered if I was raising my children right. It wasn’t until I read Dr. Shimi Kang’s The Dolphin Way from Penguin Canada, that I examine my parenting style and provided creative ways to improve or excel the skills I already have in a positive way.
You can’t understand parenting until you are a parent!
THE DOLPHIN WAY!
Have you ever read a parenting book where you felt like you were sitting across the table at a cafe with a good friend? That is the immediate feeling that I got from reading Dr. Kang’s book. She didn’t blow in like a know-it-all-expert but rather opened the book to her life and shared her parenting experiences and failures. In today’s society, the pressures and demands placed on our children are outrageous. As the medical director for Child and Youth Mental Health programs for Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Kang has witnessed first-hand the consequences of parental pressure: depressive and anxiety disorders, high stress levels, suicides, and addictions. It is through her own experiences and the experiences of her patients that she discovered a gentle, yet authoritative way to parent children.
What type of parent are you?
Dr. Kang presents three classifications for different parenting style:
1. The Tiger Approach – The Tiger approach was first discussed in Amy Chua controversy best-selling book, Tiger Mother. In this parenting books, she defined a Tiger parent as authoritarian parenting approach originally common in major Asian countries, but now adapted in the West. With modern-day pressures and expectations, children are floundering rather then flourishing under this parenting style. This form of parenting results in a hard worker, highly disciplined and high IQ individual who lacks communication skills, empathy and ability to stray from book smarts. Control is never given to their children. Essentially, these tiger cubs are not ready to survive the pressures and unpredictability of the twenty first century.
- Athletic Children injure themselves from a fear of failure.
- GEN Y as in Y can’t I have it!
- Substance abuse and suicidal behavior is on the rise due to pressures.
2. Jellyfish Approach is a form of permissive parenting. These parents tend to avoid confrontation and have few to no rules. They fail to develop expectation in respecting authority, social etiquette and personal values. Too much control is given to them before they are ready. As a result, children of jellyfish parenting tend to float around aimlessly. They lack self control, have low self-esteem, low confidence and low competence.
- A jellyfish child is likely to engage in risky behavior
- Engage in behaviors such as overeating, overspending, etc.
3. Dolphin Approach is a ‘balanced approach based on bonding, role modeling, and firmly guiding children towards a balanced way of life leading to internal drive for health, happiness, and success’. This form of parenting encourages your child to strive for success, a solid, meaningful relationship with their parents, enjoy the journey that life offers them, and respect authority,while maintaining a balance in body, mind and soul. Rules are created, problem solving skills are encouraged and the child is provided with an environment to which they feel safe and secure, but able to make their own decisions. They are responsible for their reactions and encouraged to see it as a learning experience rather then a fault.
My favourite part about The Dolphin Way is that book doesn’t only point out the flaws in today’s parental society, but rather guides you to examine certain areas of parenting that can strongly affect your child’s life and provides you with logical, progressive steps to reevaluate them. Dr. Kang walks readers through a four-part strategy bringing parents back to a healthier, happy role of parenting. Rather than providing strict rules and overbooked schedules, she shows you how to guide your children to make healthy, wise choice that will better prepare them for the future.