FAMILY VALUES: Danielle Vujovich shares quality time with her two children, Sonny and Charlie.
FAMILY VALUES: Danielle Vujovich shares quality time with her two children, Sonny and Charlie. Contributed

‘Yes’ could be the path to Brathood for today's children

"BECAUSE I said so" isn't a phrase heard around Danielle Vujovich's household too often.

The Yeppoon mother-of-two said a flat refusal was almost always a last resort when dealing with her four-year-old and two-year-old children.

"A short sharp no is an emotive reaction instead of a thought out response. It's very reactive," she said.

"Saying 'no' is okay, but providing an explanation allows children to process and understand consequences; for example, 'no you cannot have another lolly, too many lollies are not good for our bodies'.

"It promotes the opportunity for children to learn and also develop a more socially acceptable way of communicating and negotiating."

Danielle's negotiation-based parenting model echoes recommendations from a study released by James Cook University this week, titled How Not to Raise a Brat.

In it, researcher Dr Foo Koong Hean identified the technique as the "solution" to today's parenting problems as many struggled to make traditional parenting work.

Dr Foo reached his conclusions after studying how parents with up to three children raised their kids, and found many parents said yes too often.

"Children turn out self-centred, disrespectful, impatient, have unrealistic expectations, need instant gratification, and hold a sense of entitlement - these are the qualities of a brat," he said.

"Values and principles are not taught at home. For example, many children are told they don't need to do housework, they are served food at meal times that they need not help prepare, and they're provided with the latest electronic devices that they didn't have to work for."

While Danielle agreed, she said it was more important for children to see the dismantling of gender roles and ensuring children knew it was everybody's responsibility to maintain the household.

Studies like these, Danielle said, were important for mothers and fathers trying to navigate their way through modern parenting.

"It is incredibly important to have these studies," she said.

"As a complex needs youth worker and case manager for homeless youth, I see the direct results of children who are not emotionally intelligent and children who have been traumatised because of the way they have been raised.

"If we relied on what previous generations have done we don't evolve as parents and as people... we need to take some initiative and accept that the world is a different place and with each generation, and as society progresses, we need to adapt to that."

What is it?

Dr Foo says negotiation parenting involves using:

Philosophy

Business principles: use of facts in discussions

Family and culture: adherence to a set of values and virtues

Teaching/learning: parents ought to know their child's perception, thinking, attention and communication patterns before engaging



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