Friday, November 5, 2010

What type of parent are you?

I love to people watch; I especially like to watch parents interact with their children. There are times that I've thought to myself, I hope I don't do that. I don't want to be "that" parent. I doubt I'm the only mother who's said something to their child and immediately regretted saying it, but I'd like to keep those moments to a minimum.

While watching parent-child interaction, I've noticed three basic types of parents. There is the absolute parent, the agreeable parent and the authentic parent.

The first type is harsh and unyielding. They seem to want to control their child's behavior through the use of authority. They want obedience and use physical punishment to obtain their goal. For example, you're standing in line waiting to check out and you see a small child reach for a candy bar. The absolute parent will slap the child's hand and say, "I told you, you can’t have any candy!" and put the screaming child in the shopping cart.

A second parent is indulgent. They use a minimal amount of control. The agreeable parent is indulgent of their child's every whelm. Take that same child waiting in line. When they reach out to pick up the candy bar, the parent says no, but when the child starts to whine, the parent give the child the candy even thought they had originally said “no.”

A confident parent tends to focus on the important issues of keeping their children safe without having to resort to physical punishment. However, they also appear to believe that the child has rights and needs that are important too. This parent is going to explain the rules and their importance to the child. Put yourself back in that same line. This time when the child reaches for the candy bar the parent says, "It's almost dinner time and you know we don't need candy before we eat." The child may fuss, but the parent is loving a firm and never resorts to physical force to make their point nor do they give in.

I want to be that authentic parent every time and never regret what I've said or done. But I know I've been a bit of each. Which parent are you?


Anonymous said...

All three, probably all at the same time.
I hope to be the third, strive to be.
Good post...

jayedee said...

bravo! i think if we're honest with ourselves, we'd all admit to having a bit of all three types within!

Pat said...

I try very hard to be the confident parent..authority is known and the child understands that a no from me means no not a time for a debate:) Doesnt mean I may have caved at one ppint or another soo.we are all flwed as my mother said "we all get the chance to screw will get yours"

LeAnne said...

For me...It depends... which child? which day? which line??? But I believe there is one more kind of parent - the transparent parent...the one that realizes when they screw up and try to make it right in the end. Great Blog Marye :o)

Mark said...

From what I've seenof yor offspring..your doing a darn good job. They interact wih adults which is huge in my book. Keep it up!

mike said...

this is a little off topic but you are the closest to what im looking for so i hope you could help me out. I went to a Be The Change thing at my daughters school. in there i learned that i could change the way i parent my kids and the issue im having is that i put my son in the box that they talk about in the event. what i would like to know is how do i empower my son without putting him in the box what kinds of things can i say to him to motivate him to try his hardest at what he does. i would love to hear from you and use the tools of parenting that you may have

marye~ said...

Mike, I am just a stay at home mother trying to do the best I can, not a professional. I am curious, what "box" are you putting your child in. Does he have a learning disability? A behavioral problem? I guess I'm just not sure what you're asking.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi