Today, I’m going to write about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Parenting.
There are many schools of thought in on parenting. Below is the two that I struggle with on a day by day basis.
- The Authoritarian Parent (“Micro Parenting“) – In the business world, we’ll equate this to “micro-managing” a child. In real life, this is the overbearing parent that is constantly molding, probing, prodding, and making the child in a possible self-image.
- The Permissive Parent (“Hands Off Parenting – In the business world, you can refer this to “no management direction at all”. In real life, this is a parent who just stays back and let’s the child make his/or her decisions of mistakes.
How do you establish the right balance between the two?
Now I don’t consider myself to be the best parent in the world, but I have always tried to guide my kids to “do the right thing” and “be an all-rounder”. In my house we have two kids that are not only 7 years apart but worlds apart in their DNA makeup and their outlook and perspectives.
- The younger one, is a go-getter, extremely sensitive and wants to succeed at any cost and does whatever is necessary to reach her still evolving goals, and she’s not even a teenager yet. This is the child that is harder to manage, because she’s all over the place and always challenging the Status Quo. In my house this is my “American Idol Child”. She even blogs!
- This child is a non-stop communicator and will not stop discussing till she gets her point across. This is more like me I guess. Of course my friends may think otherwise.
- My older one is a teenager in college and she’s on the opposite spectrum with DNA. She’s easy-going and really just wants to “go with the flow”. This child doesn’t have much of an outward desire to excel in anything much, but just wants to “be”. I could spend hours and hours talking to her for a stretch, but the channels of communication are uni-directional. From me to her.
- In my mind’s eye, this is a passive child who doesn’t directly interact with her environment, but treads water ever so slowly that there is not much year of year differences.
- At times she shows flashes of brilliance and may even be misunderstood to be a “selfish, self-centered child” for only being a go-getter for things she wants for herself.
How does a parent cultivate these two unique personalities and DNA composition? what is the right balance of parenting style match the child?
For my younger one, I must always raise the bar and challenge her to excel, whereas the older one, I need to constantly push her to find something that will interest/challenge her.
For my older one, I must always push her to establish “any” goal to work to. Otherwise, I’m not sure that she will ever set a goal which will interest/challenge her.
It’s as tough balance for any parent to follow. At least I struggle to balance the needs of each of these kids.
Here are some of the things I have to catch myself from not doing to maintain an equal footing as a parent:
- Compare the achievements of one to the other
- Use the classic line – “Why can’t you be like your sister, she doesn’t need any push in the right direction”.
- Punishing the one that is yet to establish or even vocalize an “attainable goal”. Of course for me this one is too easy. Just take away my child’s body attachment to social media (her blackberry, or her Mac)!
- Praising one over the other (in front of each other), because this obviously gives the older one a “complex”. What kind of complex you can figure that one out.
- Using the daily/weekly/monthly parent lectures, where the child will in minutes shut down and roll his/her eyes
There are many more bad “helicopter parenting” strategies that I can write about but I think you get the idea..
Now what are successful techniques that all of us a highly paid parents do use?:
- Rewarding positive behavior and success
- Being friends first and then parents. Even the first part is hard to do!
- Drawing the lines and boundaries for acceptable behavior and enforcing these boundaries
- Being clear, concise, honest and direct in what you expect from you child. For me, I always tell my kids this is directly associated with “doing the right thing” for any situation that the world throws at you.
- Constant Coaching and Communication – As a parent, the lines between the two of these things have always been blurred, as my coaching style can easily be perceived as “sarcastic encouragement”.
- Being involved with your child’s daily life, without being intrusive. Allow your child to experience success and failures in their relationships and activities as they grow up?
- I today’s Facebook age, how can you be your child’s friend without being overstepping the boundaries of being your child’s friend?
- For every failure there is always to successes!
- Trust but Verify: Now this is the hardest one for me. I trust my kids to do the right thing, but I how do I verify that the right thing has truly been done?
I could go on and ramble more and more, but as a parent what strategies work for you? As a dad who is constantly trying to balance his actions with some sense of positive reinforcement, I’d like to hear from you if you have any ideas..
- Parenting Style May Affect Child’s Mental Health (nlm.nih.gov)
- Did you know the authoritarian parenting style is the worst for your child (wiki.answers.com)
- Child a handful? Laid-back parenting can make matters worse (today.msnbc.msn.com)