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