An early childhood expert shares the biggest challenge parents face today – and it’s not time constraints

A big challenge for parents today, is not being exposed to different parenting styles and knowledge apart from that of their own parents.

Kids are a handful at any age, and that’s a fact that cannot be changed.

But what has evolved from the past, are the ways in which parents have learnt to deal with their child’s cheeky ways, and the methods used to groom them into becoming proper members of society.

Business Insider reached out to Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) fellow Ms Christine Soo to find out more about these changes, and how parenting styles today differ from that of previous generations.

Just as how the only constant is change, parenting styles have indeed adapted in accordance with trends that emerge in society.

One such trend, noted by Ms Soo, is that of Singaporeans having fewer children and allocating care-giving responsibilities to grandparents or domestic helpers.

As a result, parents today adopt a more laissez-faire parenting style, allowing their children the opportunity to make decisions compared to parents of the past who were stricter and left little room for the negotiation of boundaries.

Another trend brought up by Ms Soo, is that families today are likely to belong in the dual-income category where parents are more equipped with financial resources.

On the one hand, this allows them to provide children with better nutrition, paid learning experiences, enrichment programs and more toys or overseas trips.

On the flip-side, it also means that parents are faced with more time constraints when it comes to hands-on interaction with their kids due to work commitments.

More often than not, today’s parents toe the fine line between working and caring for their family, and one of the biggest challenges they face, is not being exposed to different parenting styles and knowledge apart from that of their own parents.

To mitigate such challenges, Ms Soo’s advice is for parents to build up relationships with some of the key figures around their children such as preschool educators, grandparents and other parents.

Ms Soo said: “Working closely with their children’s centre leader and teachers ensures that learning is complemented in school and at home.”

“Grandparents can step in to help parents when they are tied up at work, and building a support system with other parents can ensure they receive necessary support and exchange parenting tips,” she added.

For children to develop confidence, critical thinking and independence, Ms Soo advises parents to start when their kids are young, and “optimise the window of early brain development”.