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Sat, Apr 12, 2014
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Smart parenting: Reactive is not attractive
by Zaid Mohamad

Do you know anyone who likes to react to anything, usually negatively? How do you find their behaviour? I have one such Facebook friend. His postings are mostly negative reactions to news, events and stories.

It's not pleasurable to read his negative comments. I also can't help but think what kind of parent he is and if his children feel the way I do.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines reactive as actions "done in response to a problem or situation; reacting to problems when they occur instead of doing something to prevent them."

The is opposed to proactive defined by the same dictionary as "controlling a situation by making things happen or by preparing for possible future problems."

Going by the definition, I could feel which behaviour is more attractive and which one is not.


As humans, parents can flit between proactive and reactive at any given day. It all depends on the situation.

According to Christie Burnett, editor of the blog, typically parents become more reactive when we are tired, angry, frustrated or distracted. While it's okay to be reactive once in a while, it's not good to continue on the negative path for long.

Reactive parents are not very attractive to their kids. The negative energy is the fastest way to drive kids away. After all, who would want to listen to all the whining and complaining? I sure don't.

"It is when we find ourselves falling into a reactive position which is becoming all too familiar and achieving little, that we need to stop, take stock and make a conscious decision to change our reaction, our response, to try something new and to become more proactive in the situation," according to Christie.


But how can we be more in control of a situation and become a more proactive parent? It's about anticipating, understanding, taking action and preventing drama and problem at home.

Anticipating and understanding our kids' needs and issues go a long way towards creating a more harmonious home. They are innocent creatures and it's not that hard to anticipate and understand them.

Provide all those needs before they come asking and you will find them to be easy to manage. See the world from their perspective and you will understand why they behave the way they do.

In most cases, kids just want to play and explore their world. They have no real intention to give us headaches, difficulties and stress.

But in rare cases when they start to intentionally misbehave and become uncooperative, they may be signalling their want for our attention.

Then we must react quickly by giving them the undivided attention they are craving. But to prevent future difficult behaviour, parents must be more proactive.


Children love it when their parents do more and complain less. No one likes a nagging person, children included.

When parents take action, they become more proactive. Many benefits await such a family. The home suddenly becomes a haven again when things are calm and positive. Children can focus in their work and studies when the screaming and yelling stop.

Proactive parents definitely build stronger children and a happier home because they focus on the positive aspects on things. For example, they make learning a joyful and fun session.

They go beyond providing the basic needs. More importantly they build positive character by boosting their children's confidence and sense of responsibility. They value their children more than anything.

They encourage open communication. They also have regular positive routine such as having meals together and celebrating the success or occasion.

Children who grow up in such an environment are very fortunate indeed. They too would become positive, proactive and generally view the world as a happy place.


We all can be these positive and proactive parents. We can start - stop blaming others for anything happening to our family. If there's too much violence on TV, just turn it off. If our kids are spending too much time online, just be creative and create an "electronic-free" hour each day.

The list is endless. Whatever we do, we automatically become more proactive by taking action instead of reacting and complaining. At the end of the day, it's not that hard to be proactive but it does require a bit of effort and positive attitude.

However, the benefits are many. If nothing else we can be sure that our parenting journey will be more exciting, beautiful and attractive simply by becoming a more proactive parent.

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