Accept different parenting styles in a family

Brangelina has cast the spotlight on another reason couples break up - different parenting philosophy (Splitting Over Parenting, Life, Sept 25).

This is an extremely emotive topic and couples have to agree to disagree or, if they are unable to come to terms, split up.

The dichotomy between strict and more relaxed parenting is fraught with tension.

Both parents want the best for their children, but differ in views on what is the best. The strict parent feels that his or her parenting style is superior as it instils more discipline, while the other parent may prefer a more encouraging method with more carrot and less stick.

Whose style is better? Even experts disagree.

My priority is to have well-adjusted and happy kids, even if it means that their grades are less than stellar and CCA (co-curricular activity) performance mediocre. My parenting style may be seen as lazy and not assertive enough and I used to agonise over this.


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It is true that we should set higher standards for our children and drive them to achieve their fullest potential. But I feel that life is already stressful enough without setting unreasonable targets for home and family as well.

There is no one-size-fits-all method to raising kids and the strict parenting style is not necessarily superior to a relaxed one.

Our parenting style is also influenced by our upbringing, religion and life experiences. Even within a loving marriage, a couple's views may be quite different. People should be reminded that this is normal and acceptable.

Lynne Tan Sok Hiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Accept different parenting styles in a family'. Print Edition | Subscribe