Do your children ignore your instructions despite repeated warnings? Do they quickly lose interest in learning? Do they get agitated easily?
Facing children’s behavioural problems of this kind, many parents may resort to traditional wisdom, while others may consult their seniors and peers with parenting experience.
Parenting education has become an increasingly popular area of study in recent years. By bringing together experts from this field, The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has taken the lead in researching the secrets and myths behind healthy parent-children relationships.
In this connection, the Centre for Child and Family Science (CCFS) at EdUHK has launched the Take a SIP video series, which features fundamental principles of parenting that are supported by scientific research findings.
‘SIP’ (an acronym for ‘Science-Informed Parenting’) is a 13-episode video series, which gives mums and dads ‘sips’ of parenting techniques, one at a time. Covering three major areas – building the parent-child relationship, encouraging positive behaviour, and managing negative behaviour – the series aims to promote family harmony and healthy parent-child relationships.
Through various specifically designed scenarios, the series captures impromptu parent-child interactions of 18 families participating in the programme before and after parenting advice given by EdUHK academics. The episode ‘Reconnect’, for example, discusses the impact of parents’ excessive use of mobile phones on their children. The video finds that children develop more behavioural problems when parents are distracted by phones during their interaction. Dr Ian Lam Chun-bun, Co-Director of CCFS, suggests in the video that parents should have 20 to 30 minutes of ‘no-phone time’ every day with their children to mitigate the problem.
Another episode, entitled ‘Say the rules right’, examines the importance of giving clear and effective instructions. The show asks two children who are blindfolded to follow their parents’ instructions to perform a task and then the parents take turn afterward. Through putting themselves in their child’s shoes, the parents find that the daily instructions they give are not always clear enough to follow. In the video, Dr Eva Lau Yi-hung, Associate Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education, advises parents to give instructions that are as detailed and precise as possible and to avoid negative phrases, such as ‘do not’ and ‘never’ as much as is practicable.
“Many parents are overwhelmed by the huge amount of information available in the public domain,” said Dr Lam. “They get confused, as some of the information is conflicting. Through the video series, we offer a systematic pool of advice, which is reliable and supported by scientific findings.”
“Every family is unique, and there is no single recipe that can be applied across the board to address all problems,” said Dr Lau. “We hope the series will enlighten parents with some inspirational reflections on what parenthood is all about.”
In addition to the video series, a complimentary guidebook was launched by the Centre, for distribution to the parents of children in kindergarten. Entitled Science Informed Parenting, the book features strategies to enhance children’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical development through interactive games. Also discussed are popular topics such as cyberbullying and free play.
Watch Take a SIP now: