The Science of Successful Parenting . . . regardless of what country you live in

By Nita Talwar, Peak Experience Parenting,

Who are you going to listen to for parenting advice? Will you follow Amy Chua’s disciplined approach from her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?” Will you follow Pamela Druckerman’s approach from her book “Bringing Up Bebe?”

I have lived in Asia and Europe with my children and have witnessed the Asian and European approach to parenting. Both are interesting and have benefits. Why do we look to culture to give us parenting tips? We all share a common human nature and we are, in general, social beings. Culture is an important aspect of each an every one of us. Having had the global experience as well as being a first generation Asian brought up in the United States, I feel that the best approach for parenting advice may be turning to brain science.

There is much research in regards to brain development and growing children. How can we disregard how science plays into the role of raising children?

Science tells us that the brain’s number one function is survival. In order for our children to learn and grow, we must surround them with safe environments. Ask yourself, are we doing this? Are our homes, schools, parks and other environments safe? Are our children exposed to yelling, domestic violence, or worse? Let’s ensure our child’s environment is safe so that the brain can let go of its preoccupation for survival.

Once we do this, we can create an optimal environment for learning. This includes allowing our children to explore indoors and outdoors, allowing for creativity, and teaching good communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal.

Teaching self-regulation is also important and may be your child’s greatest predictor of academic and social success. Self-regulation is a person’s ability to regulate one’s thinking, emotions, and behavior.
Thinking: Children need down time so they can reflect and listen to their self-talk. Are you always hovering around your children or do you allow them time and space to be on their own, focus, and think? No two brains develop at the same rate. We must be careful that we do not put extreme expectations on our children. Extreme will be different for each child. The concern is not to put ‘stress’ on the brain so that it goes back to focusing only on survival.

Emotions: We need to model emotional regulation. What emotions are we comfortable with having and expressing? What emotions are we not comfortable with? Do you know your child’s emotional landscape? According to science, there is 20% chance you will have a child that is anxious or irritable. Behavior: We need to be firm in our discipline. Involving a child in rule making is empowering to the child and he or she will more likely follow the rule. Rules should be delivered in a warm, safe environment.

Regardless of what culture you grew up in and regardless of what culture you are raising your children in, creating an environment of safety and then creating an optimal environment for learning can happen anywhere.

In looking at parenting tips from the lens of brain development, what will be your next step?

Nita Talwar is a PCI-certified parent coach and the official workshop facilitator for Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby. The source for many of the views and facts expressed here come from the Parent Coaching Institute and Brain Rules for Baby as well as her own experience living on 3 continents.  Her website is at

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