The way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in. Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised. Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour. They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they have never encountered a different approach.
There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible. Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become. Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.
- POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments. They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom. They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them. Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way. They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
- PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want. There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent. They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves. This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion. Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
- RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people. They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable. They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example. They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth. Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.
Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children. Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships. They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme. Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love. Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly. Neither method works well.
The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting. The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship. Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.
It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method. There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems. When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail. Children are a lot smarter than we think they are. They will divide and conquer every time. Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible. And if you make a mistake? Well, you are human and nobody is perfect. Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!
So what kind of parent are you? And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?