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Expert Speaker Series Concludes with ‘Parenting the Demanding Generation’

Popular parenting talks confirm the need for boundaries

This week, child health education expert, Dr Aric Sigman returned to North Bridge House School to talk to parents and guests on ‘Parenting the Demanding Generation’. In the last of our Nursery and Pre-Prep series, “Worried about…”, which has explored issues known to cause real parent anxiety, Dr Sigman spoke about the need for boundaries in child development, assuring parents they can just say “no”.

Aligning the parent-child relationship

Referring to his book, ‘The Spoilt Generation’ and experience from worldwide travel, the psychologist explained why he believes that authoritative parenting leads to better-adjusted and more competent children. Having just returned from North Korea, where he found children happily respect their elders, Dr Sigman stressed the importance of being a parent rather than a friend and standing up to demanding children. In becoming conscious of child wellbeing and wanting to meet our children’s emotional needs, he feels we can sometimes be too lenient and actually neglect our positions of authority.

“Authority is a basic health requirement in children’s lives. It’s not negotiable,” he said.

Highlighting the difference between being warm and caring and trying to be best friends with our children, Dr Sigman told parents that compulsion and reprimand will not taint our love for them. In fact,

“whilst a child may scream in frustration, the boundaries we set provide security and reassurance during their growth and development.”

The expert explained that in re-aligning the adult-child relationship, children will develop key skills for the future such as patience, self-control and deferring their gratification – skills that become increasingly important during adolescence when the brain is more prone to risk-taking and thrill-seeking.

The need to see eye-to-eye

Further to his studies on screen time – an earlier topic in the “Worried about…” expert speaker programme, as well as sleepless nights and child body image – Dr Sigman reminded parents that:

“there’s no substitute for eye-to-eye contact and giving our undivided attention. Not only does this make our children feel loved, but it puts us in a much stronger position to influence their behaviour. They will also will be less likely to seek attention by acting out.”

Dr Sigman advised parents not to keep looking at iPhones or iPads when talking to our children, especially as our actions impact on their own. Now that “34% of three-year-olds have their own iPads or gaming devices,” children are becoming more and more engrossed in screens. Whilst screens emit blue light and affect sleep, science has proven that areas of the brain associated with compassion and empathy are not stimulated when surfing the net, concluded Dr Sigman.

Food for thought

Thank you to both NBH parents and external parents who attended the talk and to the many who have attended the whole series – we are delighted that you found them “inspirational” and “very helpful”. Mrs McLelland, Head Teacher of NBH Nursery & Pre-Prep Schools, said that:

“the concept of what makes ‘good parenting’ seems often to result in more questions than answers. Dr Sigman’s talk got to the heart of many of our shared concerns and provided parents with plenty of food for thought.”


North Bridge House Schools

North Bridge House Schools

North Bridge House Schools

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