How To Help My Child Become A Better Reader

by Best Case Expert- Updated November 5, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting and another article around reading (I seem to be doing a lot recently!!). If you have ever wondered how to improve your child’s reading skills, this is the article for you 🙂

I have already written articles talking about the best and worst ways to teach reading, as well as how to teach a 3-year-old to read. All of these articles will help you understand the process your child will need to go through in order to read.

Today’s article is not so much about the technical process of reading, but a more practical guide for parents to let them know what they can do to encourage their child to read more and be a better reader!

Breath, There’s Plenty of Time

I find that a lot of parents feel worried and anxious about their child’s reading ability (or apparent lack of it) way too early. In reality, most children still have plenty of time to learn how to read or to improve their reading.

When you feel the pressure of time, you will be anxious as a parent, something that could rub off on your child and cause them anxiety about reading too. This won’t help anyone involved, so relax. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come to your child quickly.

Please do not compare your child to other children. Every child is different, as is the situation they have grown up in. Comparing them to others and seeing reading as a competition is not helpful for anyone involved.

Build A Love of Reading

If your child is going to get good at reading, it will help if they feel interested in the words on the pages of their story books to start with. This will give them natural motivation to make the effort to learn to read.

This love of reading can be developed by giving your child access to high-quality books from an early age. On this very website, I have reviewed LillyPost and Vooks, two services that can help build your story book library at home.

Also, take your child to their local library on a regular basis, giving them time to look at and choose books they like.

Make sure to read to your child every day too. In no time your child will want to read their favourite books without your help….boom….natural motivation for reading achieved 🙂

Be A good Role Model for Reading

Show your child the importance of reading by showing them how much you value reading. When your children see you reading books these are the messages you are sending.

Also, include your child in any chores around the house that include reading. If you can find a few that your child enjoys, this could be another natural motivation for them to learn to read themselves.

A good example of this would be shopping lists. Before going to the supermarket with your child, sit down with them and talk about what you need or want to buy. Write these in a list in front of your child. When in the supermarket, let your child hold the shopping list as you read off and find the different items.

Surround Your Child in a Language Rich World

Surrounding your child in a language rich environment will help them have a deep understanding of language, which will help immensely when learning to read.

As stated above, ensuring your child is read to often and has a good library of quality story books is a part of that.

Also, make sure that you are encouraging spoken language with your child. This includes things such as playing alongside your child and narrating their play, as long as having discussions about what they are doing and why (especially as they get older).

Ask your child open-ended questions during their play, just make sure you are doing this in a natural way and not bombarding them. What is that your building? Are you going to add anything else? What is this part for?

Role play is a great way to encourage language in your home too. And it works great, as most children naturally want to imitate what they see adults doing. You could have a play kitchen or a doll’s house in your house, for example. The play this encourages is great for developing language.

You can also play language games with your child. It can be as simple as a describing game such as ‘I Spy’. Anything to get your child listening to and speaking language.

Sing songs with your child. Alongside books, songs are a good way to help your child widen their experience of language in a fun way.

Finally, no matter what your child says, make sure to be positive and encouraging about it (unless of course they are being rude to you!!). If you show negativity towards their speech or start correcting it, your child could become reluctant to talk at all.

Along with this positivity, you need to give your child time to speak. There is nothing worse than an adult cutting across what a child is trying to say just because there is a short pause. Make sure to give your child the time they need to express their ideas without fear of constant interruptions. 

Make Reading Relevant!

As well as helping your child build a love of books, you can also help reading come alive by relating it to something they like. If you have a Frozen mad child, for example, read lots of books about Frozen and do language activities around this theme. Describe a Frozen character for your child to guess or make up stories of your own related to Frozen…the possibilities are endless.

If you want your child to use a reading book program to help their reading, make sure to find one they like and that has interesting storylines. One of my pet peeves is boring and tedious readers that focus too much on the words in the book than the fun of the storylines. If the readers interest your child, they will want to read them more.

A lot of schools, for example, still use the ancient Oxford Reading Tree series of readers with Biff and Chip. If your child shows no interest in the storylines within, switch to another program at home.

Avoid Frustration

Make sure you understand the process your child is going through with reading. Ask your child’s teacher for the reading program they are using, for example. This will help you pitch any reading you may ask your child to do at home at the right level. If you are expecting them to read things that are too hard for them it can be frustrating and demotivating for your child.

Being in contact with your child’s teacher is also important to co-ordinate your home efforts with what is happening in school. If you are both pulling in the same direction, reading improvements should be easier to achieve.

Well, there you have it! My top tips for helping your child become a better reader. I sincerely hope this will help you get your child up to speed with reading in a quick and painless way for everyone 🙂

If you are struggling with the actual mechanics of teaching reading to your child, I would highly recommend the Children Learning Reading program. I have reviewed it on this site, and find it to be the quickest and simplest reading program for parents to follow.

READER COMMENTS:

Vooks Review – Online Book Streaming for Kids!

by Best Case Expert- Updated November 3, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting and to another one of our reviews. Today we are reviewing Vooks, a new streaming service for children that is booming in popularity!

What is Vooks?

Vooks is an online book streaming service designed for children. Most of our reading as adults is going online through ebooks and apps such as Kindle, and services such as Vooks want to do the same for children’s reading.

Vooks has books that are suitable for both preschool and elementary age children. Each book is basically made into a lightly animated video which is narrated or voiced over. These videos also include the words from the books inside the animated video.

You can access the Vooks platform using their web-based platform on a computer or through their various apps. They have apps for Android, Apple, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Why is Vooks Useful for Parents?

I have been talking a lot recently about building a love of books before trying to teach reading. If you read my Children Learning Reading or 4 Weeks to Read reviews, you will know what I mean. An app like Vooks gives you another option when it comes to how your children access books. As well as having physical books, you can also add online digital books to this too.

If parents don’t always have the time to read a bedtime story to their children, Vooks can also help with this. Although I personally feel an adult should still share the joy of the story with the child in these situations. But, if you are a busy parent, it takes some of the load off if someone else is effectively reading the story for you. After a busy day at the office, even if your energy is low you can still enjoy a story with your child.

Although I want to make it clear that Vooks is not designed to help children read, more to help build a love of books. The words on screen will build exposure to words, but it won’t really support learning to read.

How Much is Vooks?

Subscribing to Vooks costs a flat $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year at the time of writing. This seems like an excellent deal if you consider the cost of real books. One board book would often cost $8-15 on its own, for example.

Vooks pricing information.

This is also helped by the fact that Vooks also comes with a full 30-day free trial, allowing you to really try out the service before fully committing.

What Do We Like About Vooks?

Design and Quality

I have to say that I absolutely love the design of the animated videos that make up this service. They give the impression of a professional level service, and I can’t find anywhere that they skimped on quality. Voiceovers and animations are all well done and of high quality, making these story videos really pop for your children.

When I first tried this service, I wasn’t even expecting many animations, as most services just have a static page with voiceovers and maybe slightly animated text. Not Vooks, they go the whole hog with full on animations and text that looks and feels like it was from the original book. This all adds to the magic for the children using this service.

Accessibility

Vooks is accessible in many ways, from computer to mobile devices. This makes it a very flexible service, very handy for parents. Imagine you are going on holiday and can’t take many physical books! Not to worry, Vooks can fill the gaps. Imagine you live in a country that is not English speaking and struggle to find story books! Not to worry, Vooks can fill the gaps here too.

Add to this the fact that Vooks comes with many ready-made playlists for you to choose from, as well as a ‘my list’ feature to save any books you like, and you really have an excellent service for children’s books 🙂

Price

I am really impressed with the price of $4.99 a month, all things considered. For the price of a Caramel Frappuccino, you can get a month’s worth of story content for your child. Even if you are a light user of this service, it is still totally worth it in my opinion for such a low price. And $50 for a year is a real steal if you can pay so far in advance.

What Don’t We Like About Vooks?

Only English

I feel like Vooks have missed a trick here when it comes to using languages outside of English. I think their service would become even more popular if they could offer a wider range of languages. For example, the children I currently teach (yes, I am a teacher!) are also learning Mandarin alongside English. I know a lot of my parents would jump at a chance for their child to get both English and Mandarin stories in one place.

Hopefully, as they establish themselves more, they will look into this option.

Books Don’t Last Forever

Unfortunately, I found out that books don’t always last on here forever. I had some favorite stories that simply disappeared one day. This can be slightly traumatic if your child has books on Vooks that they really like. On the plus side, this means they can constantly add new stories to the mix which should help to ease the pain 🙂

More Interaction From Children

Although the stories are brilliantly animated and all, the Vooks app doesn’t really offer much interactivity for the children using it. Yes, they do offer lesson plans for parents to help them do more around the stories on the service, but how many parents will actually use them?

In reality, I think a lot of parents will simply give their child an iPad or tablet and let them use the service independently. This will lead to a lot of one sided entertainment for these children, which is not really stimulating their learning.

As a teacher, when I read a book I often pause at key moments to ask the children questions and such like. If Vooks could find a way to smoothly add these kinds of functions into their book app, the value of the service would turn more to education rather than entertainment.

Should You Subscribe to Vooks?

As you might have gathered earlier in this review, I really like Vooks. I love the high quality animated videos that can really bring stories to life for young children.

In its current state, I do think it would be a great buy for most parents, especially if you don’t have a lot of space for books right now.

Just be aware that Vooks is not an interactive service and is less educational than you may think. I would encourage you to not just let your child sit with a tablet for extended periods cycling through the stories. This would be fine for 10-20 minutes a day, with some of the time being accompanied by an adult so they can help extend the child’s thinking.

If used correctly, $4.99 a month is not a lot to pay for such a valuable service. Just don’t use it as a baby-sitting service 🙂

I think this service would fit perfectly alongside a subscription to LillyPost, a physical book subscription service for children. Both together would give you a perfect fit of online and offline books to share with your child.

If you are interested in joining Vooks after reading this review, click HERE to take your 30-day free trial.

If you have any of your own experiences of Vooks, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below.

READER COMMENTS:

LillyPost Review

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 31, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting, today we are looking at a subscription box that a lot of parents are raving about. This service is called LillyPost and aims to give you children’s books straight to your mailbox! As always with reviews, the million dollar question remains ‘is it any good?’. If you have been wondering whether LillyPost is for you, please read on…

What is LillyPost?

Put simply, LillyPost is a subscription box for children’s books. You get several options for your LillyPost Subscription boxes. You can choose a board book box, that will contain 4 board books for ages 0-3 years old. Traditionally, as board books are pretty much indestructible, they are usually reserved for babies or very young children.

Below is an example of one of the board books you may receive (taken from Amazon) Click the image to view it over there.

You can also choose a picture book box aimed at children aged between 4 and 7 years old. Each month LillyPost will send you 3 picture books, with past titles including things such as Wolfie the Bunny, Bertie Wings it and Bear’s Scare. Again, below is an example of one of these books over at Amazon.

If you are not sure whether you want board books or picture books, or need a mixture due to mixed age children in your household, LillyPost also offer a mixed book box. This will have 2 picture books and 1 board book.

Why Would You Use LillyPost?

Although a lot of adults are moving towards digital books in Kindle like applications, it is still important to give your young children access to real books.

As well as this, reading to your children has some much wider ranging benefits…

  • Develop Language Skills. Hearing a wide range of words helps build vocabulary, for example.
  • Routine is so important to young children. Reading before bedtime may be a perfect way to end their nighttime routine.
  • Develop a stronger bond with your child by sharing great books together.
  • Build a love of books that helps with reading later on.

How Much is LillyPost?

No matter which subscription box you choose, you will be charged $19.95 per box, going down to $18.95 if you subscribe for 3 months. Although shipping and taxes need to be added to this, usually $4.95 depending on where you are in America or Canada.

Lillypost review.

As well as choosing your subscription box, you can also choose whether you would like your monthly books wrapped or not. Wrapping books is not just about using them as gifts, even if the books are just for your children every month it becomes a much more special event if they need to unwrap them each time.

You can also choose whether you would like seasonal books in your boxes, which is a great touch.

What We Like about LillyPost?

Charity

LillyPost say at the time of writing this review that they have donated 142000 books to charity. Some examples of charities they have supported include Project Night Night, which gives books to homeless children. Also, the Children’s Food Bank offers books to low-income families.

Books are so important for all children, and it great to see a commercial outfit such as LillyPost supporting charities as part of their ongoing business.

Discover New Books

There are so many amazing children’s book and author’s these days, most parents have probably only heard of the famous ones. By subscribing to a book box like these, you are helping yourself discover new children’s books each month without much effort on your part.

Having a curated box of top children’s books each month takes the load off the parent.

Helps Build A Love of Books

If you are a longtime reader of this website, you will know how important it is to build up a love of books. When I have reviewed reading programs such as Children Learning Reading and 4 Weeks to Read, I always talk about how building a love of reading should be an integral part of any child’s reading armoury.

Put simply, if they love books your child will be more likely to have a natural interest in reading too. By giving your child access to quality books from an early age, you are really supporting this notion.

Convenient for Busy Parents

A lot of parents are too busy these days to take the time to research good books for their children, whether it be sorting through the thousands of books over at Amazon or browsing a physical book store.

These LillyPost subscription boxes really make it simple and easy for busy parents to keep an updated library of children’s books on offer within their homes.

Cheaper Than Buying Yourself

Here are some examples of real boxes that Youtuber ‘A Year of Boxes‘ has received.

Box 1

Board Box – Hedgehugs/ Jungle 123 Early Learning Rhymes/ Bedtime Ted/ We Go Together.

I used Book Depository to find out some current pricing on these books, this is what I found:

Hedgehugs – $8.67

Jungle 123 Early Learning Rhymes – $7.99

Bedtime Ted! – $8.98

We Go Together – $11.98

That’s a total cost of $37.62 for your $25 subscription box.

Box 2

Board Box – My Book of Opposites/ Busy Little Bee/ Who’s That Dog?/ My First Town.

My Book of Opposites – $7.08

Busy Little Bee – $8.47

Who’s That Dog? – 8.99

My First Town – $10.77

That’s a total cost of $35.31 for your $25 subscription box.

As you can see, you are always getting well over the $25 a month you are paying for the subscription box, and you are getting hand picked books as a bonus.

What We Don’t Like about LillyPost?

No Replacements

There is a lot to like about LillyPost, and to be honest, I struggled to find things I didn’t like. Even this point is not really a major negative, as it is a normal policy for many subscription boxes.

If you receive books that your child already has, LillyPost suggests that you give it to someone as a gift or donate it to charity. I suppose you could even sell them on Ebay if you are after some monetary value out of them! LillyPost do not offer replacement books in this situation.

Anything Else to Consider?

Be aware that not all LillyPost subscription boxes are created equal, meaning that if both you and your neighbour subscribed to the same boxes, you may get totally different books. I can totally understand why they do this, as this service has exploded in popularity recently and they don’t have an endless supply of similar books. As long as the quality of books offered remains the same, I personally don’t have any issue with this.

Should you Subscribe to LillyPost?

Books are such an important part of any child’s life, and LillyPost has become a great way for any parent to offer this at home in a quick and simple way. Subscription boxes have become very popular in recent years, and for good reason. LillyPost just adds another excellent option to the growing list of subscription box providers!

For the cost of around $25 a month, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

If you are interested in subscribing after reading this review, you can check out the LillyPost official website and signup HERE.

READER COMMENTS:

4 Weeks To Read Review [FROM AN EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER]

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 25, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting. Today I am going to write a review for the “4 Weeks to Read” Program. Why should you care what I think? I have been an early childhood teacher for over a decade and teach young children to read on a daily basis. This gives me some insight into the best ways to teach reading, as well as what struggles parents often have in this area.

Regarding the name, I am not sure if I should call it 4weekstoread or 4 Weeks to Read? I went with the latter option, I hope you understand 🙂

What is 4 Weeks to Read?

The 4 Weeks to Read program is a physical reading program (meaning they actually post things to you) made by Learning Dynamics. This is a company started by Cheryl Lant, who owned a small chain of preschools and then branched into making educational programs for young children.

4 Weeks to Read make a lot of bold claims on their website. This includes saying that they have a success rate of over 98% and that they will have your child reading in 4 weeks (hence the name).

When you buy this program, you will be sent 53 full-color reading books, music (to help teach phonics), workbooks, flashcards and a lesson manual.

You basically get everything that you need as a parent to start teaching your child to read.

4 Weeks to Read also go to great lengths to say that their reading program is educationally based and backed by experts. To me, this system bases itself mostly on the synthetic phonic approach, an approach that I use and agree with its effectiveness fully.

How Much is 4 Weeks to Read?

The basic price of this program at the time of writing is $69.99, with the optional addon of $17.99 for ‘additional student workbooks’. Although they don’t make it clear what these extra works are and what they are for. Are they extra copies of workbooks already in the program or are these new ones that you wouldn’t get otherwise?

As this is a physical product, this means they need to ship it to you. If you live in the United States of America, this is free.

What Do I like about 4 Weeks to Read?

1. Easy for Parents

This is a program that is specifically designed for parents and is step by step. This means that even if you have no idea how to teach reading, you can just follow the lessons in the lesson manual. 

This is crucial for parents, as many can get easily confused around the best order needed to teach phonics and reading well.

For example, I always see parents teaching their children only the letter names (like in the ABC song), without realising that the letter’s phonic sound is actually far more important! With a program like this, you can bypass those kind of problems!

2. Physical Product

OK, if you live outside of America, it may be annoying to have to pay and wait for additional resources. But for most, it is nice to have something physical to work through with your child. Thesedays, so much is digital that it is a welcome surprise to be sent something in the mail.

3. Educational Approach

Although far from perfect as a whole system, I do agree that the synthetic phonic approach to learning reading is a great way for most young children to learn reading.

What Do I NOT like about 4 Weeks to Read?

1. The Name!!

As a teacher myself, I often have to fight a tide against a lot of anxious parents that think they need to race to teach their child to read. Whereas, the truth for most children is they have plenty of time to do this and shouldn’t worry if their child doesn’t pick reading up straight away.

Every child is different and learns in different ways, some are visual learners whereas others may be auditory (through hearing). There is no program that can fit all learning styles, and therefore some children may pick this up faster or slower than others.

Think about it as adults, some of us find it easy to pick up new languages whilst others can be fluent in a matter of months. It is the same for children and reading.

I worry that with a name like “4 Weeks to Read’ they are causing parents to worry that their child is behind if they don’t pick this up quickly, who will then likely put pressure on their children to ‘catch up’. This is the exact opposite of the mentality I want to see from parents teaching their children reading.

This Learning Dynamics reading program is playing off the fear a lot of parents have that their child is behind in reading. By adding a time frame to the name they are giving parents the quick fix they think they need. I believe it will do more harm than good in the long run, and is using marketing techniques that have no place in education (rant over!)

2. Workbooks

For some reason, people love giving young children worksheets and workbooks. In reality, for most children, these will not be the best way to learn and could lead to frustration. Yes, some children take well to worksheets at this age, but most don’t in my experience.

A majority of children at this age would learn much better from hands-on and fun activities, something that would be a much more valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

When you put something on paper (such as a worksheet), a lot of adults don’t appreciate this can make the concepts you want a child to learn more abstract and confusing than actually interacting with real objects in a hands on game (for example) instead.

3. Lesson Makeup

Upon reviewing the lesson makeup the 4 Weeks to Read program uses, I am frankly not impressed. They say that each lesson should take 15 minutes, which is a good thing as young children learn phonics/reading best in short and sharp sessions. 

However, this includes workbook activities that would probably take up at least half of that time realistically for most children.

Contrary to popular belief, coloring objects that begin with a phonic sound is not a good use of time for young children. I would cut the workbook out of these lessons and replace with a simple and fun game that would help the child learn the phonic sound in a much smoother way.

The only redeeming feature of the lesson plans are the songs, that are actually well made and would be a fun way for a child to remember phonic sounds.

4. Readers

As well as workbooks, I think a lot of reading programs almost feal obliged to offer readers for the children to read as they are learning. But when they are low quality, like the ones in this program, you might as well not bother.

Some of the reading books are painfully boring, with a lot not having much of a story line or anything to grab a child’s interest. I always talk about the importance of building a child’s love of reading alongside teaching phonics, but readers like these won’t do anything to help here!

Also, some of the illustrations are amateurish at best. I might even have nightmares about some of the characters in there! I know they want to have a complete system for parents, but they really should have focused on things they can deliver to a high quality.

Would I Recommend the 4 Weeks to Read Program?

I have to say that I had high hopes for this reading program when I first saw it, but to be honest in the end I am left somewhat disappointed.

Will it work for some parents? of course it will. Is it the best way to teach your child reading? Definitely not!

They need to cut the workbook and the readers and focus more on fun activities that parents can do with their children to help them learn phonics in a more hands on and active way. They say this program is for 3-6 year-olds, but this age group shouldn’t be sat at a table doing workbooks in my humble opinion!

I know that if you are a parent desperate to help your child read, this 4 Weeks to Read program seems like the perfect ‘silver bullet’ to quickly make your problem go away. Unfortunately, in reality, it is far from the truth. It looks like the perfect package, but it ends up being more marketing hype than quality reading product!

What Would I Recommend Instead?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know I love the Children Learning Reading reading program. Although this program doesn’t have the marketing sheen of the one reviewed today, it makes up for it by being a much more hands on and fun way for a young child to learn to read.

Add to that the fact that the Children Learning Reading program is around half the price of this one, and I would recommend it every day of the week over 4 Weeks to Read.

There is no perfect reading system on the market for parents, don’t get me wrong, but the Children Learning Reading one is the best I have come across so far! If you are a parent that wants to help your child read but doesn’t know how, this would be the best option right now.

Click HERE to go over to their official website and find out more for yourself.

I hope you enjoyed reading my review, and good luck with helping your child to read. And remember….education is not a competition! Every child is different! Don’t worry if your child doesn’t pick up reading in 4 weeks, just give them the time and space (and more importantly encouragement) to see it through 🙂 Trust me, most children will get there in their own time!

My 4 Weeks to Read Final Rating

Pros

  • Easy to follow for parents
  • Physical product
  • Follows synthetic phonic approach

Cons

  • Bad name that will put pressure on all involved!
  • Not hands on enough for young children
  • Poorly made lessons
  • Low quality Readers

Of course, this is just my opinion, if you have any experience with this product please let us know how you found it in the comments section below.

READER COMMENTS:

How to Teach a 3 Year Old to Read? Is it Too Early?

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 25, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting and another article around the article of reading. I have already done articles that talk about the best and worst ways to teach a child reading, but I have heard a lot of people online asking this specific question “How can I teach my 3-year-old to read?”.

Today, I want to give you my view as a teacher of young children for over a decade. When you start teaching your child to read? How to teach a 3 year old to read? These are all questions I would like to answer below. If you have ever thought about these questions, please read on 🙂

When Should I Teach my 3-Year-Old to Read?

Firstly, I would like to start by putting your mind at ease. You really don’t have to worry if your child is not reading yet, at 3 years old they are still very young. The problem many parents have is they hear about other people’s children starting to read and think that their child is behind! I always like to say to my parents that education is a marathon, not a sprint!

Most people hope their children will go to university, meaning their children will be in education for at least 20 years! This is a long time! In the grand schemes of things, it isn’t the be all and end all if your child is not reading at 3 years old.

If your child takes a natural interest in reading, then go right ahead and start helping them learn. Otherwise, there really is no rush.

Think of education for your child as giving them skills that will last them a lifetime, not just filling up their head with information. At 3 years old, things such as learning to get on with our peers and solving simple problems independently are of equal importance as learning to read. In fact, I would consider them more important! If you can’t get on with people in life, you won’t get far even if you can read flawlessly 🙂

The approach I like to take is to first build up a love of books in a child before even trying to teach them to read. Very often a child’s love of books will give them a natural curiosity and interest to learn what is written on the pages of their favourite books.

So go to the library with your child often! Buy them some quality children’s books. Make sure to read to them regularly. All these things will get the ball rolling and help your child grow a real interest in books. You could go even further by taking them to see performances of their favourite books, whatever will help fan the flames of their interest.

Waterford.org found (for example) the exact same thing through their research. That reading to a child from a very young age helps them to have a positive outlook on books and reading throughout their early life.

How to Teach My 3-Year-Old to Read?

OK, so you have decided to teach your 3-year-old to read, but you have no idea where to start. Hopefully, I can at least give you a good place to begin 🙂

There are many ways people teach children to read. Today I will show you my favourite one.

I use a phonic curriculum from the UK called ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is a program that I use on a daily basis as a teacher of young children, but it can also be used by parents with a little background reading.

Why do I like Letters and Sounds? There are two main factors I see as crucial to teaching a child to read. One is to make it fun, so that the child is learning without even realising. The second is to make sure that you are teaching a child in the correct order. Reading is a process that a child needs to learn step by step, if you jump around too much they may get confused and disheartened.

Letters and sounds hits a home run in both of these factors. It comes with fun games you can play a long the way, along with providing a set of phases that a child can work through.

To get more details on the Letters and Sounds program, you can download a teacher’s guide HERE.

The Stages of Reading that a 3-Year-Old Needs to Go Through

Learning to read is a process that needs to be learned step by step. If you take your time to go through each step, you will be giving your child the best possible chance to succeed in reading.

1. Sound Recognition and Differentiation

This is a stage that a lot of parents (and even teachers) miss out, but it covered in depth during the first phases of the Letters and Sounds program.

Before you dive right into teaching a child phonics, they need to tune in to the different sounds around them first. This can be as simple as taking a walk in the park with your child and talking about and distinguishing between the different sounds you can hear. You could then move on to a game where you play several sounds to your child and they guess what each one is. I won’t go into the full detail here, but you can read the Letters and Sounds guide above to get the full picture.

2. Rhyming and Alliteration

Again, a lot of people miss out this important pre-phonic stage and then wonder why their child is struggling.

What is rhyming? Wikipedia elegantly puts it like this……

rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for effect in the final positions of lines of poems and songs. Source: Wikipedia

What is alliteration? Again, Wikipedia puts it like this….

In literaturealliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, alliteration is also called head rhyme or initial rhyme. For example, “humble house,” or “potential power play.” A familiar example is Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”. Source: Wikipedia

These first stages are essential before you even attempt to start teaching phonic sounds to your children. Think of it as the groundwork necessary to make learning phonics as straightforward as possible.

The Letters and Sounds program contains a lot of games and activities to do this, but the easiest way is to read a lot of story books to your children that include rhyming and alliteration.

My personal favourite is Julia Donaldson, whose books feature this in abundance! After a while, encourage your child to start guessing the rhyming words at the end of each sentence.

Below is a video of one of Julia Donaldson’s most popular stories “The Gruffalo”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8sUPpPc8Ws

3. Voice Sounds

Now that your child can distinguish different sounds in the world around them, now they can start trying to make different sounds themselves. Making different sounds will get a child’s mouth ready for the different sounds they need to say whilst learning phonics.

Whether it be imitating different sounds from the world around them or using sounds to accompany their play, this type of practice will help a lot when it comes to saying phonic sounds later on.

4. Recognising the Patterns and Syllables in Words.

If your child can realise that words are broken up into different sounds and syllables, this will help a lot when you ask them to start sounding out real words.

Playing a simple clapping game is one way to do this, as you speak you can clap along with the syllables in the words you are saying. Encourage your child to do the same back to you.

5. Start Teaching Phonic Sounds and Trying to Make Simple Words.

With all the ground work done, it is now time to start teaching your child the different phonic sounds. Letters and Sounds breaks the phonic sounds into a specific order. They do this to give your child the opportunity to play around with sounding out real CVC (3 letter words) straight away.

For example, the first week would see your child learn the sounds:

s-a-t-p

Already your child can play around with making words such as:

sat

pat

tap

sap

I say play around, as it will take time for your child to learn this skill of sounding out words. Don’t make them feel under pressure to pick this up quickly, make sure to be positive and encouraging. Give your child as much time as they need to learn this important skill.

Below you can see the full set of Phase 2 phonic sounds within the Letters and Sounds program:

Whilst teaching the individual phonic sounds, I like to play fun games to do this. It can be as simple as a matching game, where you lay out phonic flashcards in pairs face down for your child to find matching pairs. You could hide phonic cards around your house and ask your child to sound out each sound as they find them. I am sounding like a broken record, but the Letters and Sounds guide linked above has a plethora of game ideas.

When it comes to practising sounding out simple CVC words, I like to play a simple real or funny word game. Get phonic cards of the sounds your child has learned and put them into two piles of vowels and consonants. Then draw three cards (making sure the vowel is in the middle) and sound the word out with your child. Then decide together whether this is a real or funny word.

6. Tricky Words

It would be awesome if English was a perfect system, but unfortunately it isn’t 🙂 So you will note that from Phase 2 onwords, Letters and Sounds starts to include tricky words. These are words that can’t be decoded in the normal way, and therefore need to be learned by sight. You can use similar activities for learning these that you would use to learn single phonic sounds.

7. Digraphs and Trigraphs

The final step is to learn digraphs and trigraphs. A digraph is a sound made up from two phonic sounds, such as ‘Th’ and ‘Sh’, whereas a trigraph has these sounds ‘igh’ and ‘ear’.

By following the phased of Letters and Sounds all of these different elements with be introduced in a step by step process.

Anything Else to Consider?

When teaching your child to read, make it as fun as possible. If you are struggling for game ideas and don’t like the Letters and Sounds ones, the internet is literally full of other games you could play with your child.

Also, try to keep your phonic sessions short and sweet. For a 3-year-old child, you can do one or two five-minute sessions a day. Quick fire games will be much easier for your child to digest at such a young age. Of course, every child is different, and if your child is still actively engaged in a game, feel free to continue.

If it is clear that your child has lost interest, simply end the session and try again another time. Trying to force a young child to learn to read will only end in frustration for everyone involved 🙂

A common mistake that some parents make is to say the phonic sounds incorrectly when teaching their child. It is vital you know exactly how each phonic sound should be said to help your child when it comes to sounding out and blending words. The video below from Oxford Owl will help with this.

Any Other Options?

If you have read through my article and still feel lost, don’t worry. Long time readers of my blog will know that there is a reading program that I have reviewed on here and absolutely love. That program is called Children Learning Reading. Why do I love it? Put simply, it is designed for parents and literally walks you through every aspect of teaching a young child to read. Even including the lessons and resources you will need.

So, if you don’t have a lot of time and just want to teach your child to read, you can read my Children Learning Reading review over HERE. Alternatively, you go have a look at their official website HERE.

Happy Reading

Thank you for reading my article, if you have any further questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Also, if you have your own experiences of teaching a 3-year-old to read, leave a comment in the comments section below for that too 🙂 I love to hear from the parenting community.

READER COMMENTS:

Proximal vs Distal parenting: What’s the difference?

by Best Case Expert- Updated November 16, 2021

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting. Today we are delving back into some parenting styles that are commonly talked about. If you have heard about Proximal and Distal parenting, but don’t know what they are, read on 🙂

Research into the kinds of parenting that produce successful offspring often looks at the past to discover parenting components that seem to have been the most accepted in each era. Parenting experts toss around terms like proximal parenting and distal parenting along with related terms such as primal parenting and evolved nest. Of course, as the term primal suggests, some research involves methods of parenting that are common to primates, including primitive humans. Over the years, however, parenting has vacillated between this primitive style that is related to proximal parenting and the more modern distal parenting. To examine proximal versus distal parenting, we must first know what the terms mean.

Proximal Parenting

If you have ever seen a mother gorilla and her baby at a zoo, you have seen an example of proximal parenting. The baby is seldom apart from the mother, even clinging to her fur as she moves through her environment. The term proximal derives from the same root as proximity, which is defined as “nearness in space, time or relationship.” This type of parenting has several characteristics according to the website parenting science.today. These include:

• Close bodily contact

• Maternal involvement

• It is cultural

• It involves other types of contact

The close bodily contact includes such things as breastfeeding which may last through the 2nd -to-the-5th year. It also involves stimulating an infant’s body in other ways such as massage to encourage development. This type of parenting is mainly done by the mother and is evident in mostly rural areas. A study detailed on the website Researchgate.net points out that it occurs mainly in people of lower educational levels. It is a more instinctual type of parenting. Infants sleep with their mothers, and there is usually an interdependence with other adults in the society. This has the combined effect of giving the infant emotional warmth and security while keeping him or her physically warm and safe.

Distal Parenting

This type of parenting is more representative of urban, western educated societies. The word distal is rooted in the idea of “at a distance.” Its hallmarks include:

• Emphasis on cognitive development

• Increased eye contact with child

• Planned independence and autonomy

• Inclusion of other influential adult caretakers

Distal parenting becomes more evident as the baby ages. While rural cultures often depend upon mutual acceptance of goals and concepts for survival of the population, the more recent distal plan encourages the child to explore and become aware of him or herself and their surroundings. involves face-to-face interaction with an infant that means less bodily contact. Looking back at the mother gorilla and her baby, as she holds the infant tightly to her, there can be little eye contact. This parenting style involves object stimulation, which is the use of an object such as a toy when interacting with an infant. Proponents believe that this type of parenting produces a more autonomous, independent child.

Those explanations clear up many questions but still do not completely answer the question: what is proximal and distal parenting? Let’s look at some examples to help with that!

Proximal and Distal Parenting Examples

The study of proximal vs distal parenting is also helped by looking at examples. Children in small rural towns of the mid-twentieth century were often cared for entirely by their mothers, and were examples of proximal parenting. Even in the 1950’s America, only 34 percent of women were in the workforce. The father was the provider, and the mother was the caregiver. This worked to the advantage of the city or town because children developed an extremely close relationship with their mothers and were willing to accept her moral compass and belief system., which usually were held in common with the community. Most mothers in the 1920s through the late 1940s breastfed their infants, according to the National Library of Medicine, sometimes through the child’s fifth year.

In contrast, Distal parenting was a signature of the well-to-do or even average Victorian family. Mothers handed over newborns to nannies and settled into a life of artistic and social pursuits. Fathers and mothers saw their children only once a day at planned meetings. Adults and children did not even eat together.

The caregivers were often women with no children of their own, older and frequently emotionally distant. Parental contact took place on a more intellectual plane, with adult expectations of behavior at an early stage. Children were taught to achieve academic and social goals. Boys were taught mathematics and reading as well as horsemanship and other “manly” pursuits. Girls learned to read, play instruments, and do decorative sewing. This was true to the extreme in wealthy homes, but also true in households of moderate income where the employ of nursemaids was common.

Pros and Cons of Proximal Parenting

There is a natural basis in proximal parenting. Science tells us that the brain of a newborn has only 25 percent of the functioning capacity of an adult brain. In fact, it says that humans do not reach the cognitive abilities of other animal babies until they are 18 months old. The concept of the “evolved nest” is based upon this truth. Every animal provides for its young an “environment” that is based upon the rate at which they develop. An article on Mental Floss.com asserts that human children need the first three months in close proximity to their mothers. Babies respond well to being wrapped tightly and like to be insulated from loud noises the way they would be in the womb. In short, the article says, the first three months serve as an additional trimester to allow for development.

Promoters of this style of parenting also stress the security of bodily warmth and the emotional bond that results from keeping a child close. Proponents also assert that the physical nearness of the mother leads to accelerated development because the child is more willing to listen to and accept the mother’s instruction.

The proximity of the mother and child lead to better communication between them, some say. Mothers learn to perceive the needs of their children, sometimes through only a shift in body position. A study indicated that this recognition on the part of the mother led to greater verbal comprehension and expressive language abilities in the child. The study also seemed to indicate a greater development of self-awareness and self-regulation for the same reasons.

However, some of those positive results are interpreted as negatives by those who disfavor this parenting technique. They say that the profound and prolonged attachment to the mother robs the child of the ability to form other attachments. It also, some say, leads to over-parenting, a concept known today as “helicopter parenting,” and this may lead to restrictions on a child’s curiosity and “exploration freedom.” In addition, opponents stress that the very reliance on the care and affection of the mother can create a dependency in the child.

Pros and Cons of Distal Parenting

Distal parenting, some assert, produces more intellectually engaged children, children with more curiosity and ability to function autonomously. They stress that eye contact, more than physical contact, encourages rapid development of the brain.

While that may be true in older babies and young children, opponents of this parenting tactic say infants lack the visual acuity to make eye contact with another individual until they are several months old. Researchers have also found that physical contact creates more interest in making eye contact during face-to-face play times.

Another positive result seen by some in distal learning is that children grow up with an independent spirit. Opponents say that kids see rules and regulations differently when there is no attachment to the authority behind it. That, in turn, could lead to irresponsible adult behavior.

Which Style is Best for Me?

That is the question to which this article has led. We have looked at proximal and distal parenting examples, and have defined the terms. We have explored the pros and cons and read the research materials. Still, all the scientific studies and psychological evaluations which have ever been performed do no good if they don’t help people make informed decisions. The first response may be that parents should do what feels natural to them. There is a reason that adults intuitively protect and nurture infants. It lies in the survival of the species. So, while an infant still smells new and sweet, perhaps parents are wise to cradle them and enjoy their nearness.

As to parenting older babies and young children, a bit of reading and thinking about the evidence might help. While “helicopter parenting” may lead to low self-confidence and the inability to think independently in some children, it has been shown to increase learning skills in others. Parenting is hard. It is subjective. It depends not only upon the child, but on the personality and nature of the parent.

Some subtypes of proximal parenting are the afore-mentioned helicopter parenting and authoritarian parenting. So, while some point out the negatives of hovering and issuing “proclamations,” others say this type of parenting builds responsibility into kids and helps them stay safe.

Free-Range parenting, which may correlate to the distal style, may improve social skills and increase self-confidence in some kids, but today’s global environment can be a dangerous place to let children distance themselves from parents.

An article in parentingsciencetoday.com says there are four components to a good parenting style. These are:

• Child centered. The nanny-based parenting of the Victorian period was founded on the supposition that the parents’ lives were the important element. Good parenting, however, realizes that the end product is a happy child who is emotionally and physically healthy.

• Mutual consent. This, of course, is important when children agree that they need the guidance of a parent and the parent agrees to lead, but a newborn build that trust necessary to accept guidance through physical contact with the parent.

• Discipline. Holding a tiny baby limits its movements. That can be crucial to calming them and to keeping them safe. Older children accept the role of the parent as the one who sets the limits to behavior. That, in turn, creates a self-regulated adult.

What is proximal and distal parenting? The truth is that the distant, cold parenting style of the Victorian period was replaced by the Behaviorism and strict structure of the 1920’s. That, in turn, fell victim to the relaxed proximal parenting of the 1950’s. Many people remember the always-present mother on ‘Leave it to Beaver‘ and the dad that came home to a drink and a “hello” after work. Then, in the 1960’s, parents took a hands-off approach to raising their little darlings. There was no time, nor any desire, to breastfeed babies. Mom and Dad filled up their spare time with demonstrations and causes, letting the kids follow along. Whatever “sparked their interest “was the key to raising them. Today, we are discussing the benefits and failures of helicopter parenting. That is the reality. As frightening as it may sound, there is no certain fool-proof way of parenting children. So, what can parents do?

Many authorities suggest a mixture of techniques. Parents might take their cues from the age of their child, the stage of development, the culture in which they are being raised and the needs of the parents themselves. A tiny baby will perhaps suffer no ill effects from being cuddled for hours by a content mother, and a toddler can probably benefit from some time away at preschool. In any case, the desire to adopt the best parenting style for a child comes from the need to care for him or her, and no baby was ever hurt by an overabundance of care.

Why not read up on multiple parenting styles and take the best elements for yourself? Maybe a hybrid style is the best style for you, as it is tailor made.

READER COMMENTS:

How does parenting style affect academic achievement?

by Best Case Expert- Updated July 23, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting. We have talked about a whole host of different parenting styles on this site, anything from lazy parenting to parallel parenting. Why do parents care so much about these styles? Probably because they want to find a style that will help them bring up their child in the best way they possibly can. How about academic achievement? Does parenting style affect this too? That’s what we hope to talk about today.

A good majority of parents see education as a key factor in their child’s upbringing. A lot of parents will go to great lengths to help their child get ahead in education. For example, moving their whole family to a new house just to get in the catchment area of a better school. Formal education plays a big part in a child’s academic progress, but it is not the only factor.

The number one role model in most children’s lives are their parents, either adoptive or biological. By nature, children are vulnerable beings who are highly dependent on the adult members in their lives, primarily needing parents to make decisions for them. Therefore, for a child to grow in an all-rounded way, it is clear that parental guidance will play a big part.

In this article, we hope to shine a brighter light on this issue. Mostly by talking about different parenting styles and how they may potentially affect your child academically. We hope that it will give you a good starting point when it comes to realizing the impact you might have on your child as one of the major adults in their life. Just remember that no one is perfect! There is no such thing as a perfect parent! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit these parenting ideals perfectly, they are just there for guidance purposes. If you do find a parenting style you wish to replicate, I suggest you go educate yourself further on the subject 🙂

Be aware that we will only go over some major parenting styles here today, if we went over all of them we would be here all day! However, this should give you a good insight into how your parenting could affect your child.

With all that said, let’s get into it.

What does an academic achievement entail?

First, one must understand what academic achievement entails. The education system constitutes a curriculum that each student is required to follow. While some students go through the education system with no clear goals, some have a clear set of goals that they want to attain. Academic achievement therefore entails meeting the set academic goals of a student at whatever level of their education.

What does research say?

A group of researchers headed by Debora Valcan did any interesting study in the Educational Psychology Review. After looking at 42 related studies published over a 16-year period, they concluded that “modest, naturally occurring associations exist between parental behaviours and future EFs (executive functions) and that early childhood may be a critical period during which cognitive parental behaviour is especially influential.” Not only did they find a link between parents’ behaviour and their child’s development, but also that this link is the strongest when the child is in their younger years.

You can’t call this conclusive, but it gives a good indication that your parenting style can have an affect over your child’s academic achievements.

Types of parenting styles

Now lets go over some of the main parenting styles that exist in modern parenting:

Authoritarian parenting

Through research, it has been established that children coming from authoritarian homes achieve academic excellence because for them excelling in school is similar to obeying the law. In an authoritarian set up, we have parents on one end as the formulators and enforcers of the law, and on the other end, we have the children who are conditioned to obey the set laws. Among the rules meant to be followed is meeting the set academic expectations of the parent, and children don’t have a chance to cite their reasons for failure. The effects of failure are usually punitive measures, which most times can be adverse. Such a parenting style can negatively affect a child, whereby children end up rebellious at some point in their lives. Authoritarian parenting is highly discouraged because it breeds children scared of expressing themselves because freedom of expression is heavily frowned upon within the home. Most children live their lives to satisfy family expectations, hence academic excellence achieved here is met through children putting as much pressure on them similar to the pressure they receive from home.

Authoritative or democratic parenting

Authoritative parenting, also known as democratic parenting, is whereby parent-child relationships are greatly embraced. As much as the parent sets the home rules just like in the authoritarian style, children here can question rules which are too harsh because they have a right to be heard. Punitive measures can only be taken where the mistakes of the child are apparent. The parents using this kind of parenting style often have high expectations of their children, more so in academic achievements. The children are made to understand the importance of good grades. The final decision on what the child does often lays with the parent, but the decision is made after thorough consultation with the child. In this regard, a parent might choose specific subjects for the child, but after thorough consultation, a consensus can be reached, allowing them to pursue those subjects they love the most. Also, children are highly encouraged to be independent, and this eventually helps them in their adulthood life. The academic achievements children from authoritative homes attain don’t just end at school since the results get to show even in other areas of life way after they have left school. You can read an interesting study that points to that outcome HERE.

Indulgent style

Indulgent style of parenting can be termed as freestyle type parenting. The children from such homes often have more influence on the parents’ decisions.

Parents can have household rules in place, but most times, the rules are not enforced. When it comes to academic achievements, most times, the child’s personal effort will push them to succeed more than parental guidelines will. Indulgent parenting focuses more on meeting the material and other luxurious needs of a child than teaching the importance of good grades. Research has shown that parents who tend to use the indulgent style of parenting often want to feed their childhood traumas. For example, parents who grew up in poverty would wish to to overcompensate through their children. Therefore, the parent will accord their child the freedom and material things they lacked growing up.

Uninvolved style

Uninvolved parenting is similar to absenteeism. Most parents using uninvolved parenting have no control over their children. A home with no rules might breed careless future citizens who don’t value any form of achievement in their life. At times, academic achievements might be driven by personal effort, but the parental influence is still significant even for the development of the child’s brain.

Most reading and writing skills are best taught at home with firmness, but with lots of love. When such firmness and love are absent, then the chances of a child becoming an academic achiever become narrow. The question of how does parenting style affect academic achievement, therefore, can be best answered by stating that; parent behavior constitutes the energy from which most children draw their motivation. Additionally, the brain of a child develops best dependent on the relationship the child has with the parent. The main reason most schools give students homework is so that parents can get a chance to impact their children’s education. However, a child can only study best in a home with parents who are willing to assist in doing homework and even creating home timetables for their children. When children experience firsthand how much their parents value education, their motivation to be academic achievers will automatically grow.

How do parenting styles influence school achievement?

Schools are not just about academics because most education systems have adopted a holistic approach seeking to offer students all rounded growth. Therefore, school achievement can be curriculum or extra-curriculum achievement. A child who is not very gifted in the classroom might have other talents like in sports or music, which a school set up can help nature through various internal and external programs. A child’s achievements in a holistic education set up are highly dependent on the parental style used back at home because it is from the grassroots where most children draw their classroom confidence and even persona. Here are some of the ways of how parenting styles influence school achievement:

The authoritarian style limits the freedom of speech a child has because children are brought up not to question parental decisions but rather act accordingly. Self-expression is best developed at home through parent-child relationships, and the lack of it can spill over into the school life of a child. Children brought up in authoritative homes might find it hard to explore their talents if their up-bringing only points towards academic achievements as the only form of existing success. Therefore, such children are highly likely to sit on their talents and never pursue them.

When it comes to parenting styles that foster holistic achievements, then the authoritative parenting style takes the lead. Children brought up by parents exercising the authoritative kind of approach have proven to be achievers in the education system. In authoritative parenting, parents make the decisions, but children have the right to express their opinions on the decisions made on their behalf. Therefore, a child whose passion is in sport, music, and other extracurricular activities rather than academics can always express their desire to develop their talents while still pursuing their academics.

On the other hand, indulgent and uninvolved parenting are the worst parenting styles for any school-going child. Parents who seem disinterested in their child’s education give the child no reason to be aggressive in the classroom or outdoor sporting activities. On the flip side, children coming from an uninvolved parenting style might want better for themselves if they have friends coming from homes with good parenting styles. A child who wants better for themselves will always press on to achieve their life goals at any expense. Such children, if accorded just a tip of authoritative parenting, their achievements will be significantly better. Generally, any parent looking to have children who are great school achievers must understand one thing; being in a child’s life and positively impacting their education is the first door towards success a parent can open for a child.

How does parenting affect intelligence?

As much as parenting style is not the absolute determinant of intelligence (as genes play a big role) parenting style has a distinct effect on a child’s intellect. Research has linked borderline intelligence to parenting behavior. Most students and children found with borderline intelligence often come from uninvolved parenting backgrounds. A child’s full potential in school is best realized when a parent has a positive impact on the child’s life.

For example, children from authoritative parenting homes have an opinion about the decisions made for them. Through exercising their right to be heard, such children often tend to explore what is best for them in school while full knowing that they have the right support system. Even children born with a very low IQ happen to grow their intelligence along the way because of the right support system. To succeed in school, children require both emotional and social intelligence. Parents are the primary contributors to a child’s intelligence, both social and emotional.

Other factors that affect intelligence

 The economic status of the parents

 Nutrition

 Quality of family bonds

In general, intelligence can be developed right from a young age; hence even children with borderline intelligence are able to become better and go ahead to attain various achievements within the schools set up. As a parent, you should always be aware that academic success is not the only success that can lead to the child’s future success.

How does parenting style affect child development? 

The most significant influence on a child’s development is the daily stimuli they encounter as they go through life. Parents happen to be the constant factor in most children’s life’s unless circumstances dictate otherwise; therefore, most times, how a child develops is influenced by the parenting style.

Authoritarian style

Children with authoritarian parents grow up without experiencing parental warmth at any given point. Social skills, which are oftentimes developed from the family level, lack in such children. When a child from an authoritarian home excels in school, it often is because they have been conditioned to excel or otherwise face heavy punishment. In the end, the social skills of the child end up untapped, hence their development being one-sided. Also, because such children intend to impress their parents and evade punishment, they get to mature at a very early age, hence missing out on an opportunity to pursue things that children at a certain age pursue.

For example, it an expectation that the average ten year old would love some time out during the weekend playing with family and friends. Ten-year-olds rarely enjoy such freedoms from authoritarian homes; most of them spend what would be leisure time doing manual chores or studying dependent on the directions given by the parent on the given day.

Authoritative style

The authoritative style of parenting is more like a partnership between the parent and child. Most researchers have found that children brought up by authoritative parents get to experience holistic development. Instead of being conditioned to follow the rules, children here are taught the importance of following rules. If a child has issues with the rules set by a parent, they can always ask questions. The opinions of the children are often factored into the decisions made on their behalf by the parents. With such an environment, most children exhibit both cognitive and social development in all aspects of their lives.

Indulgent or permissive style

Children that exhibit the highest self-esteem are often from homes whereby the parents exercise indulgent parenting. Despite not being the highest academic achievers, indulgent parenting greatly helps in social development. Most children can make friends and develop meaningful relationships. The openness and friendship fostered from home allows children to discuss their hobbies and other interests. Therefore, a child who is less interested in academics can pursue other interests and succeed in life.

Uninvolved style

Children with uninvolved parents often struggle through life. Their social development is most times untapped, hence making the child experience some level of awkwardness around people. The child’s cognitive development is also greatly affected because the child does not know what it entails to have an emotional connection with their parent.

Effects of parenting styles on the holistic development of children

Mental health is a subject that is widely spoken about in the modern day world. Most people who have been found to suffer from depression often can have the source of their problems traced back to the parenting style they were brought up under. Children who grew up experiencing good relationships with their parents often end up being outspoken adults. Therefore, they are able to speak out whenever they are battling stress. The end result is usually a more rounded human who knows the best way to find solutions to their problems. On the flip side, a child of an authoritarian parent may never share their problems, as they are scared of the consequences. This will put undue mental stress on the child, something that could weigh heavily on their future development.

In general, the parenting style practiced by a parent whilst raising their children is the greatest determinant of academic excellence, school achievements, intelligence of the child and development. Therefore, to raise up holistically ‘successful’ future adults, parents must affect the right parenting at the very early stages of bringing up their children.

This is, however, a very complex issue. If you have any of your own advice or input to give, please do so in the comments section below.

READER COMMENTS:

What is lazy Parenting? How does it work? Are there Benefits?

by Best Case Expert- Updated July 18, 2020

Welcome back! Today we are tackling another parenting style known as ‘lazy parenting’. No, this isn’t a parent sitting around eating donuts all day! It’s a bit more nuanced than that 🙂

What are the qualifications of the perfect parent? Is it someone who makes snacks for their kids’ soccer team? Is it the parents that stay up late taking temperatures and making soup when their kids are sick? Is it even possible to be a perfect parent?

The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all parenting technique. Parenting is a challenge despite the method you choose. With the advancements in modern technology and education, there are infinite ways to teach your children important life lessons.

With the large variety of available parenting tools, raising children comes with lots of pressure. Am I observant enough? Are my children learning enough? The overwhelming amount of parenting resources combined with wanting to be a perfect parent can be stressful and discouraging.

There’s been a lot of talk around parenting techniques. A recurring topic among the parenting community is a technique called lazy parenting. Based on its name, it’s a polarizing topic. Once you understand the premise behind being a lazy parent, it may even encourage you to adopt some of its practices.

What is Lazy-Style Parenting?

Lazy-style parenting is a concept that allows parents to be present for children without hovering. Rather than holding their hand through every minute of their lives, you allow your children to make their own decisions and intervene when they need assistance. Lazy-style parenting allows children to create their own identity, gain confidence, and learn problem-solving skills.

Children are naturally curious. In cases where their curiosity becomes harmful, it’s important for parents to get involved. It is, however, necessary for children to have the ability to explore. It’s essential to their overall growth.

When you think of the word lazy, it’s unlikely a positive thought comes to mind. In fact, you probably associate lazy parenting to neglect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Lazy-style parenting works as a healthier alternative to helicopter parenting, which involves watching your child’s every move. This Lazy-style is basically offers a potantially better balance of parenting.

How Exactly Do You “Lazy Parent”?

Some struggle with the concept of lazy parenting. Think of this method like running a restaurant. In every restaurant, there’s a chain of command. The person who oversees the restaurant is the manager.

Typically, the entry-level employees are responsible for handling the everyday store operations. Once they’re trained, the manager allows them to perform their jobs as they tend to higher-level restaurant tasks.

Now, imagine you’re the manager of a fast-food restaurant and a customer calls in a large delivery order. There’s also a line in the store waiting for service. Instead of taking care of managerial tasks, you decide to make the food, take orders, and deliver the food.

That scenario sounds odd, right? Well, that’s what helicopter parenting looks like. As a so-called lazy parent, you’d allow your children, which act as the entry-level employees, to handle the responsibilities of their ‘job’. If at any point your child is struggling or overwhelmed, you can intervene.

Now consider everything on your parenting plate. Of course, you have to feed, bathe, and clothe your children. This is in addition to maintaining your household. Your day-to-day tasks are tiring as it is. When you decide to obligate yourself to completing your responsibilities and hovering over your children, there are a few outcomes.

Either the quality of your tasks will suffer, you’ll try grooming your children into existing around your responsibilities, or even both. Most kids, however, do not enjoy following their parents around for the sake of being monitored.

Helicopter parenting is also a hindrance because your child builds a dependency on your approval. Over time, you’re training your child to wait for your rubber stamp to do tasks you believe to be within their range of development.

What are the Pros and Cons of Lazy Parenting Style?

If you’re still on the fence about utilizing this parenting style, simply weigh the pros and cons. Once you understand both the positive and negative aspects of being a lazy parent, you can make a decision on if it’s for you.

Lazy Parenting Style Pros

1. You can get things done.

One of the many benefits of being a lazy parent is productivity. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually true. Say, for example, you’re in your backyard. If you don’t see any visible threats, you can relax and read a book or write as your child does their own thing.

Of course, you’re constantly checking to make sure everything is okay. You can accomplish this at a distance, though. Once you’re ready to go in and complete another task, your child has already run out a great deal of their energy.

2. Your child will gain confidence.

Think back to the first time you did something on your own. Maybe you went to the bathroom or tied your shoe for the first time. Wasn’t it special because you accomplished something by yourself?

Imagine the confidence your child will build learning to do things on their own. Moreover, their first accomplishment will inspire many more, opposed of forcing their growth and development. When children lack confidence, their development falls behind. Show them you have confidence in them by allowing them to build their own.

3. It helps them tap into their creativity.

Have you ever been in class and gotten an assignment where you had complete creative control? Do you remember the excitement you felt expressing yourself? That’s the way your children feel when they get to be creative. There is nothing like the imagination of a child. When you give them room to express it, they can even teach you something.

Allowing them to express themselves can actually improve your relationship. When you let your children creatively take charge, there’s room for you to participate without taking over. Tag along for their secret missions or their visits to a fairy wonderland. Whatever you do, encourage them to express themselves.

Cons of the Lazy Parenting Style

1. Greater risk of injury.

Sometimes, it can get a bit risky allowing children to call the shots. While allowing them to make their own decisions gives them independence, it also makes them more susceptible to injuries. Even being within earshot can make it difficult to intervene before an injury occurs. Although, for me personally, I see this as not so bad. Your child will learn from their own mistakes. If they break a leg jumping from a tree, they probably will take more care next time. Risk is an inherent part of learning in my view.

2. It can take a bit of time for your children to find their groove.

Depending on how old your kids are, they’ll need a bit of practice being independent before they make good choices. This is normal. It just means you have to supervise for a while before allowing them to take the reins.

3. This style may hurt your reputation.

Although you consider your parenting style productive, other people may see it as, well, laziness. Allowing them to make their own decisions may be a cause of concern, especially for their safety. People who haven’t heard of this parenting technique may consider it irresponsible or even bordering on neglect. Keep this in mind when you’re in public.

Lazy Parenting Examples

Explaining this concept can get tricky. It’s easier to understand through lazy parenting examples.

Say you’re engaged in an important conversation and need to occupy your child until you’re finished. You can either turn on a movie or an interactive learning game. Once you’re finished with your call, you may even have time to complete another task as they’re engaged in the activity.

Another example is meal prep. In the morning, set out some breakfast options for them and allow them to prepare their own breakfast. Be sure to pre-portion each ingredient to control waste. If you plan to step away for a bit, make sure you put away anything that can burn or injure them.

Finally, if you go to a playground, take a seat and observe them from the bench. It’s okay if they venture out, as long as you can see them. Since you’re not following them throughout the park, take a few minutes to inspect the area for any hazardous materials. It’s also wise to develop signals your children understand. For example, to easily tell them to come back to you or that it’s time to leave.

Guide to Lazy Parenting

If you want to try this parenting style but don’t know where to begin, there are some basic rules to get into the swing of things. Follow this guide to lazy parenting and give both you and your children some much-needed freedom.

1. Set boundaries.

Like any successful parenting style, lazy parents must set guidelines. Start by setting boundaries for your children. Over time, grant them more freedoms based on their ability to operate within your rules.

2. Utilize the 3 T’s systems.

In the beginning stages, it’s smart to create a checklist to ensure you hit the basic lazy parent requirements. You can use a popular blueprint called the “3 T’s System”. This stands for teaching problem solving, thinking ahead, and taking your time.

When teaching problem solving, give your child a problem to solve every day. Start with little tasks and increase the difficulty as they get comfortable. Once completed, make sure you praise them for working it out (or if they fail for simply trying).

Thinking ahead involves calculating any potential risks and outcomes. Think about what your child will learn, even if they experience a challenge. For instance, they may catch a cold if they play in the rain without a hat, but next time they’ll use that lesson to remember one.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your parenting techniques. Don’t feel discouraged if your child doesn’t catch on quickly. This parenting style takes time for both you and your child to embrace.

3. Don’t let your fears hinder their independence.

As a parent, it’s your job to protect your children’s wellbeing. It’s unhealthy, however, to raise them based on your fears. Sure, there will be times to proceed with caution, however, put your fears aside and let your children find themselves. Accept the possibility of small injuries and issues that come along with giving your children freedom. A scrape or bruise fades, but their confidence will last.

4. Let them cry.

Kids cry. As a parent, it’s instinctual to comfort them when they’re upset. As they get older, it’s important to let them cry for a little while. This teaches them to self-soothe. If there’s an emergency situation, of course it’s okay to assess the situation and care for them. Otherwise, give them time to calm down on their own.

Find Your Parenting Groove!

Parenting, regardless of age, can be difficult. It’s natural to struggle with finding a parenting style. You don’t want to hover over them or constantly ignore them. A great and healthy way to raise your children is the lazy parent style. With your supervision, this gives your children the space to learn self-sufficiency, confidence, and troubleshooting.

Of course, lazy-style parenting isn’t perfected overnight. It takes time, patience, and confidence in your children to allow them to be a part of their personal development. In addition to giving them a sense of identity, being a lazy parent allows you to accomplish your duties outside of being a parent. Whether you need to make a phone call or do the dishes, this parenting technique allows you to complete necessary tasks without interfering with your children’s activity.

Parenting is a journey, and so is this style. It takes time to perfect anything, so don’t feel discouraged if your child isn’t immediately progressing. Throughout the process, remember to encourage and praise your children. Empowering them to make healthy decisions, strengthens your relationship as they continue to learn about themselves.

And you don’t have to follow one parenting style religiously, you can take elements from different ones that you like and suit your situation.

READER COMMENTS:

What Parenting Lessons Can We Learn from the Bible? [KEY SCRIPTURES]

by Best Case Expert- Updated July 18, 2020

Did you know that at the last time of asking (2019) 65% of Americans identified as being Christian? Although the number is falling, that is still a lot of Christian parents out there in America. So why not do an article talking about some important ideas from the bible and how they relate to parenting? If you are interested, please read on 🙂

For starters, the word “father” is mentioned over a thousand times in the Bible. God is often referred to as the father of Israel or the heavenly father. Jesus, in his final hours on earth, prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36) There’s something to be said about the way God describes his relationship with us as that of a parent, and certainly, we can learn much about parenting in the pages of the Bible.

What Does the Bible say About Parenting?

For Christians, the Bible is more than just a historical piece of literature; it is the living word, our instruction guide for life. Amazingly, the scriptures of the Bible have survived the test of time and remain relevant to Christians today, despite being written two-thousand years ago.

So what does the Bible say about parenting? Just as it tells us how to live, it tells us to teach our children what we have learned. It tells us to be loving and kind, but not to avoid discipline completely. It tells us to involve our children in learning the commandments and in caring for others.

What Scriptures Can We Find on Parenting?

Deuteronomy

The first two verses of Deuteronomy chapter eleven say, “Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God.” These commands can be found in chapter five, verses six through twenty-one. Following these in chapter six, verses five through nine, are scriptures about raising up a child. They say we should impress God’s commandments upon our children, talking about them as we sit at home, as we travel, and we should post them in our houses.

From this book alone, we obtain the very foundation for teaching our children morals, and we are told how to do it. Talk to them! Talk to them all the time. Every moment can be a teachable moment whether we are in our own homes or out in public. It even suggests daily times to study, when we lie down and when we wake up. We can teach them not only to memorize the scriptures, but to act on them as well.

Proverbs

The book of Proverbs was undoubtedly written by a parent, that parent being King Solomon. Some scholars dispute whether he was writing to his own sons or to young people in general, but either way, Proverbs is a wealth of information for parents.

If the previous verses from Deuteronomy showed us how to teach our children from the time they are small, Proverbs gives advice perfectly geared towards teens and young adults, especially those who have been raised with privilege. Young people are urged to listen to their parents (Proverbs 1:8), to heed wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33), to “lean not on their own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and to avoid being wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 3:7).

At the same time, parents are encouraged to discipline their children. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)How often do we feel mean when we have to discipline our kids? In this verse and other bible verses about parenting responsibilities, God reminds us that discipline is an act of love, and is necessary to bring our children up correctly.

Parents of teens often find this to be a difficult line to walk. They worry their children will hate them if they correct them or offer guidance. Our kids may say that they do, but as they grow and gain reason, they will thank us for all the times our guidance steered the maway from trouble.

Colossians

We can draw many great lessons for children from Colossians, but we will also find in it bible verses about parenting with love. Chapter three, verses eighteen through twenty-one offer rules for Christian households. The scripture paints a picture of wives who submit to their husbands, husbands who are loving to their wives, and children who listen and do as their parents say. Fathers are told not to make their children bitter.

Some Christians make the mistake of becoming incredibly strict, invoking the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality. It is true that we should not avoid disciplining our kids, but we must also remember to keep healthy, happy homes that are free of abuse. The husband can certainly be the head of the household, and his wife may defer to him, but neither should ever mistreat each other or their children.

This passage also reminds us to encourage our children positively. Children naturally want to please their parents from a young age, and we can use that to teach them. In Ephesians, we find more supporting bible verses about parenting with love. Once again, fathers are told not to overwhelm their children, but rather to train them patiently. (Eph 6:4) If we nag or constantly scold our children, they will become discouraged and may give up on doing anything right. The goal of a Christian household is to train our children in the way they should go, not to be so strict and harsh on them that they resent us and the Lord.

It’s important to also see from this verse how compromise has a role in keeping our households peaceful. Think of the popular phrase, “pick your battles”. There are big issues, and there are smaller ones. Ask yourself if a behavior is harming anyone. If it isn’t harmful and is merely a pet peeve of yours, you may let it slide in favor of correcting more important problems. However you choose to correct your children, this verse reminds us that parents should be a united front if we want our children to be obedient.

Hebrews

We find more scriptures on parenting in Hebrews, beginning with the third verse of chapter one, a description of Jesus:

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” If this is how God describes his son, can’t we say the same of our children? They are our future, after all, our joy. While we instill our values, the best of ourselves, in them, we also find ourselves disciplining the “us” out of them.

Hebrews 12:11 says that though discipline is painful, it creates a wealth of righteousness and rewards later on. If you don’t think your child understands exactly why he or she is in trouble, rest assured, he’ll understand when he is older, and will be better for it.

How Can the Bible Influence our Parenting?

In addition to the scriptures on parenting, bible verses about parenting responsibilities, and scriptures on raising up a child, the Bible teaches us to be patient, kind, and loving toward others and to treat every person as a dear brother. It teaches us to repress our more ugly qualities and become the best version of ourselves, even so far as to forget ourselves and take up the cross for others.

Our personal character development alone will ready us to become parents or to become better parents for our kids. We can take the scriptures about raising up a child and apply them to our daily lives, working them into our routines, to give our kids a good, stable start to life. We can even draw our comfort and resilience from them.

When you’re not going to tell them one more time: Proverbs 29:17

When you’re worried about their future: Matthew 6: 33-34

Phillipians 4:6-7

When you want to be a good example: 1 Peter 5:2-3

When you need to remember the joy: Psalms 127:3-5

The Bible tells us to teach our kids about our history so that they won’t repeat our mistakes. (Joshua 4:20-24) It tells us to watch our actions so that our children won’t suffer from them.

It also encourages us to live a rewarding life. When we chase after money and earthly riches, we sometimes lose out on quality time with our kids. Consider these verses:

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)

“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22)

The best thing we can do to leave a better world for our children and better children for our world, is to heed God’s advice on how to set an example for our children. When we do, we can live and love so much more abundant.

What do you think?

If you are a Christian parent, we would love to hear your views too. The bible is open to different interpretations, and it’s important to let everyone have their say on the matter. The hope is that at least this article can be a solid starting point for any Christians looking to the bible for parenting inspiration.

READER COMMENTS:

What is Parallel Parenting? [+When To Choose it?]

by Best Case Expert- Updated July 18, 2020

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting. I swear there are new parenting styles coming out every day!! Or more like people are finally putting names to parenting styles that have been around a while. Today, we take a look at parallel parenting. If you ever wondered what parallel parenting is all about, read on……

You probably have heard the term before, but what is parallel parenting exactly? It is actually an interesting arrangement made between pairs of divorced or separated parents in which they are able to raise their children together while still having pretty restricted contact and basically communicating as little as possible. A lot of times, this may be the only way in which the former couple can co-parent. Prior situations may have demonstrated that they have been unable to respectfully have conversations in the recent past, and this can detrimental to their children’s well-being.

This can be a great remedy for divorcees who just cannot get along, yet want to spend quality time with their children without having to see or speak to one another. They may not connect with one another, but they each remain connected to their children.

Many times, a parallel agreement includes assigning decision-making to each parent for different areas of responsibility. A good example of this would be having the mother in charge of schooling decisions, and the father in charge of medical decisions. However, when it comes to everyday decisions, like bedtimes and curfews, each home will establish its own rules and the other parent cannot interfere until both former spouses are able to finally sit down and make even these menial decisions together.

Remember, parallel arrangements are many times the last resort for families after nothing else has worked due to the underlying hostility. However, many parents can, and do, add fuel to proverbial fire in other ways. If the parents refrain from speaking, yet still bring the children into the conflict, the arrangement means next to nothing. They must remember that it is all about protecting and doing the best for their kids. When all else fails, parallel parenting might be the last good option left!

If you think parallel parenting might be for you, here are some tips for how you can help this whole process run smoothly. If you are considering this, the likelihood is that the relationship you are in is already pretty volatile. You don’t want to make it even worth, to the point where any kind of agreement of parenting is impossible!

Don’t do these things when trying to parallel parent….

Attempting to Control the Other Parent’s Home

When each parent finally decides that it is time to move on from the divorce, they both need to learn to accept the circumstances that they cannot change. And, the fact that no one can change another human being is one of the basic tenets of therapy. How the other parent runs his or her home often goes straight to the top of the list of things that can’t be changed and must instead be accepted.

Criticizing your former partner’s home setup will only lead to further hostility and complications. Simply, learn to let go of what you can no longer control. We are all different, and parent in different ways!

The only time that one parent can criticize the other is if and when the children are in danger of an illness or an injury, mentally, emotionally, or physically. In any other circumstance, one parent has no right to butt into the private business of his or her ex.

While many parents believe that such consistency between households is best for the kids, attempting to enforce it may cause an argument and further complications.

Obsessing Over the Other Parent’s Faults

In a parallel arrangement, each ex needs to remember that it is all about the children. That means that while each parent may be angry or hurt about the circumstances behind the divorce, those thoughts have no place within parallel co-parenting.

Each ex’s best bet is to stop focusing obsessively on the other’s possible horrible traits, and shift towards fixing their own defects of character.

There is absolutely no way to force change on another person, so fixating on their former spouses’ problems is a waste of precious time that can be spent with their children.

Each parent can only change his or herself, and that is what they both should focus on. Any overly critical comments or thoughts towards one another are draining and further complicating an already difficult situation. Again, let it go! We are all different and parent in different ways. As with the above, the only situation where you can address these faults are if they are putting your child in danger. Otherwise, accept that you are beyond the point of having a say in your ex-partner’s lifestyle.

Talking Negatively About the Other Parent

Many believe this is a given, but it is easier said than done. Even when each parent sincerely means well, sometimes bitter words accidentally slip out. But, at the end of the day, this person is the children’s mother or father, not just a person that wronged their ex. If one of the children’s parents is doing this, it needs to stop immediately. Take the higher ground here!

If you are at the point of parallel parenting, such negative talk is only going to make the situation worse and close to the point of total breakdown. Try to focus on getting the best arrangement for your child and separate out the personal feelings you have for your ex-partner.

Triangulating the Children

According to parallel parenting resources, one of worse things a parent can do is question the kids about the other parent’s lifestyle and home. It is none of the former spouse’s business, and it places the child in a winner-takes-all game of tug-of-war. Other triangulation methods include encouraging the kids to call the other parent when they are displeased with the current household’s rules, or luring a child to a particular parent’s side by claiming to the child that his or her ex is unfit.

Triangulation is exactly what the name implies. Rather than just having a toxic two way relationship, a triangle is formed with the children equally pitted against each parent. Plus, the dysfunctional communication style will easily be adopted by the children witnessing it.

Simply put, you are causing emotional strain and possible damage to your child. It’s not worth it.

Interacting for Prolonged Periods with the Kids Present

This is the crux of the parallel parents’ plan. When the animosity is still potent, usually when feelings are still raw, children need to be protected from what could become a bad situation. So, children’s exposure to any potentially explosive situation must be limited by not having them around if and when the former spouses must speak.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by arranging different birthday and holiday plans, dropping children off at the curbside, planning separate school conferences, and even rotating pick up days.

How does a Parallel Arrangement Differ from Co-Parenting?

Put simply, parallel parenting is an agreement that has been reached to parent your child together, whilst not openly communicating on a regular basis. Co-parenting adds back the element of communication in the mix.

A parallel arrangement is a process that jump-starts the healing process between the former spouses, which cannot be avoided, because it is the best outcome for the children. If you compare co parenting vs parallel parenting, you’ll know the former is the ideal choice, but the latter is the healing bridge that will lead you there.

That is why this type of parenting is a wonderful solution to what may seem like an impossible situation. Your relationship may be on the verge of total breakdown now, but through parallel parenting arrangements parents may be able to communicate in the future after enough time and ‘water under the bridge’ has passed. This means cooperative parenting, usually the ultimate goal, may be within reach after the dust settles. And, this initial disconnection allows it to happen. If these former partners are forced to engage before they are ready, this will only add to their animosity, and the children will be stuck in the crossfire.

However, with parallel arrangements, if both parties hold up their end of deal, the trust, at least regarding their common children, is restored. The parents are likely to put aside personal hostilities for the sake of the children. Meanwhile, if each side holds up their end of the agreement, the kids won’t lose any time with either parent, and they won’t be subject to disagreements and ill will between their trusted guardians.

When is Becoming Parallel Parents a Good Choice?

When parents cannot communicate respectfully in the presence of their kids, and they are not ready to agree yet on important decisions, parallel arrangements are a must. The children’s relationships with each parent will not be affected by the conflict between the sparring ex-partners. While the situation does not specifically quell the conflict, it does shield the children from witnessing parental feuds and verbal outbursts. After all, the kids have nothing to do with the reasons for the divorce. They just want relationships with both Mom and Dad, and these should be of equal importance.

Just remember, the existence of such conflict between the parents is not what hurts the children. It is the fact that many parents allow their children to see these arguments, or the court forces a parenting agreement in which the former couple must interact much earlier than they are ready to.

So many families that are struggling to make things work would seriously benefit from a parallel arrangement. And, the number of families included in this group is much higher than many would think. That said, it certainly does not include every high-conflict family.

There may be a strained relationship that lends itself to verbal disputes, but the term “high-conflict” can also refer to violence. When one or both of the parents have a tendency to be physical in the middle of a disagreement, parallel arrangements will not alleviate such an issue. The safety of the adults and the children is paramount. If this seems compromised, even parallel parenting won’t be the solution.

If a court-appointed monitor is involved, the family court may allow supervised visitation for a few hours. With that type of safety plan in place, the parallel mode of parenting could be a consideration down the road.

Violent parents may eventually disengage from their questionable behavior for their children’s benefit. That means that parallel co-parenting may work as long as some form of safeguard is in place and the abuse was confirmed to have stopped between the parents. Of course, child abuse is a different story and this type of parenting would not be an option. As a matter of fact, child services would likely be involved.

It’s important to remember that even currently married couples disagree about parenting techniques and rules. So, choosing to parallel parent is not a failure. It can be a crucial method utilized to continue to co-parent when all communication breaks down. It is about putting kids first. They will also learn how to manage conflict and respect the rights of others to do things differently than what they may be used to.

Many recent studies have identified just how important it is for children to maintain active relationships with both parents as they are already used to. Parallel parenting may be a way to achieve this faster, and to avoid the children involved witnessing too much animosity. This is why the non-communicative parallel approach can be vital at the start of a separation. Even family courts recommend the idea as a preferred method until something more permanent can be worked out down the road.

While the parallel variety of parenting may seem next to impossible for some divorcees, they just need to realize that their expectations of cooperation must be reasonable, and conflict in a divorce is far from an anomaly. However, this parallel form of parenting and time passing are likely to sooth most of the wounds. With the minimal amounts of co-operation, both parents will have access to their child, and the process of building bridges can re-start. This is the best result for the child, and when all else fails parallel parenting offers a way.

How Do You Start Parallel Parenting?

It starts with both parents and their attorneys drafting an agreement. It must be said that these types of arrangements must be extraordinarily specific when they are documented in the parenting plan. There cannot be any questions unanswered or concerns unaddressed, or it will be necessary for the parties to contact one another, which pretty much negates the arrangement. As a matter of fact, the more hostile the relationship is, the more exact the parenting plan should be.

Of course, in spite of the overall idea of disengagement, there still must be some communication when it comes to their children’s health and general welfare. Whilst this is certainly necessary, using less direct method (like texting and emailing) is the best way to accomplish this.

An alternative method is adopting a useful tool deemed a “parent communication notebook.” It similar to the notebooks used in the lower school grades, for communication between teachers and guardians. Each parent will summarize the important details of their time with the child in a note to the other parent. The notebook be passed routinely between the parents, and, ideally, this will be done each time the children pass hands.

This notebook should include health and school information, sleeping and eating issues, information about each child’s moods, including what upsets them and what calms them, and other specific information covering daily needs. The most important thing to remember about the notebook is that all entries should be made from a place of respect for the other parent reading them. Each must refrain from criticizing the other as well as demanding or strongly suggesting particular parenting instructions.

If it is feasible at a certain point, a parent to parent meeting, along with a neutral third person, can address more pressing issues or a slew of concerns that either parent may have. This is a stepping stone to a more collaborative parenting approach, where important decisions about school, choice of religion, and health and medical issues can be addressed and negotiated.

Where can I learn more about Parallel Parenting?

If reading this article has made you realize that parallel parenting could be for you, I would really recommend the book below titled ‘The High-Conflict Co-Parenting Survival Guide’ by Megan Hunter and Andrea LaRochelle. These ‘high conflict divorce experts’ will give you a lot of valuable tips and advice regarding parenting in a high conflict situation. If you are considering parallel parenting, this is most likely the situation you find yourself in.

Click the image to view this book over at Amazon.

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