Christian Parenting in Modern Culture

OCYM Dallas Area conducted their first conference at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church on November 3, 2012 from 1400-1700. The key note speakers were Rev. Fr. Mathews George, OCYM South West Diocese Vice President, Rev Fr. James Cheriyan,, Asst Vicar, St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Detroit, and Dr. Benji Kurien, Asst Professor in Psychiatry, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.
The conference was inaugurated by  Rev. Fr. C.G. Thomas.
Fr. Mathews George emphasized in his speech that parents should be aware of their responsibilities, authorities and greatness that God has given to them in the parenting process.
Fr. James Cheriyan conducted his class based on parenting.  The first and foremost formula of parenting is a “spiritual calling.”  He talked about the shift that happened in parenting in our culture. He talked about his personal experience of parenting he had from his parents who were immigrants from Kerala. He compared it with the parenting in the present day that is going on with the children in our culture that are born and raised in USA.
Fr. James explained about the main three types of parenting. They are survival parenting, default parenting, and intentional parenting. The difference is explained in the chart.
The Motive: “If I can just make it through the child-rearing years, I can get my life back.”
The Goal: “Getting the kids out of the house.”
The Method: “Doing whatever is easiest for me.”
The Gifts: Bribes, Threats, TV as a babysitter
The Motive: “I don’t want my child to miss out on what all the other kids have.”
The Goal: “Making my child happy.”
The Method: “Giving my child whatever is popular.”
The Gifts: Hectic Activity Schedules, Indecent fashions, Inappropriate Media
The Motive: “I want to give my child what will be best and most helpful for him.”
The Goal: “Preparing my child for life as a productive adult.””Developing my child’s God-given mind and abilities.””Protecting my child’s heart.”
The Method: “Purposely spending time with the child and building a relationship so he will learn by watching and interacting with me.”
The Gifts: The Bible, Enjoyable pastimes, Academics, Character, Home skills
Among these three types of parenting, the one that is widely chosen in this country and is found beneficial for the children is intentional parenting. The seven steps of intentional parenting are

  1. Use of every opportunity to create memories for the children, and teaching them the traditions in the family and culture
  2. Helping them find a role model in their life
  3. Indulge in kid’s world
  4. Do not impose anything to them, explain it to them
  5. Help them set goals in their life
  6. Find activities that engage their brains
  7. Make home a free place for them to share their thoughts and feelings

Achen explained these points in detail.
Dr. Benji Kurien talked about “Raising Kids in America”
He focused the first part of the class in identifying signs of depression among kids, which may be slightly different than in adults. The factors which the parents should notice is their change in their interests, sleep pattern, level of guilt, their energy levels, concentration patterns, appetite, and suicidal ideations on higher levels such as teenagers.
He explained the level of depression among Asian-American kids, the gender differences in depressive kids, and age levels of depression. Dr. Benji also explained the child development stages, and the role of parents in different levels of child development. He concluded the class by explaining the various psychological issues faced by teenagers and the parent’s role in helping them overcome it.
After the two sessions, there was a question hour, where everyone in the dais was allowed to ask questions they had related to parenting and psychological issues. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), depression through heredity, and implementing restrictions were discussed in detail. Rev Fr. Mathews George also gave his ideas on these topics. Behavioral therapy and its implementation in these situations were discussed in detail.
The conference was concluded with a photo session and a business meeting where the office bearers of the Dallas Area OCYM were elected. Mr. Shibu Mathew – Coordinator,  Mr. Johnson Jacob -  Secretary, and Mrs. Diana Shinoy – Joint Secretary for the year 2013.
The conference was blessed with the presence of Rev. Fr. John Kunnathusseril, Rev Fr. Raju Daniel, Rev Fr. C.G. Thomas, Rev Fr. Rajesh John &  Rev Fr. Matt Alexander