What kind of parent are you

After the discussion on “Provocative Fashion Trends and Teens” which continues I thought that it would be an appropriate time to share this post.

What kind of parent are you?

It’s said that children do not come with an instruction manual. Wouldn’t it be much easier if they did. Sure there are many resources out there and self help books, but what style of parenting is the right method to use.

Parenting speaker and author of best-selling books on parenting, Nancy Samalin, divides parenting styles into three categories: permissive, too strict(Authoritarian) and authoritative, Nancy who has been leading parenting workshops for the past 25 years, explains the relationship between parent and child as one of mutual respect. Her philosophy is one of the importance of teaching kids right from wrong. Nancy Samalin believes in positive discipline and the ability to set limits while at the same time treat children with respect and dignity.

Authoritarian Parenting: The parents want to hold all the power and what they say goes.

Permissiveness Parenting: Permissive parents are laid back. They believe that their children should make their own choices, and that a parent should be there to support the choices. These are the parents who fail to enforce appropriate rules.

Does permissive parenting work?

Nancy states “Permissiveness may feel loving in the moment, but it breeds insecurity.” Nancy approach to discipline is the authoritative approach.

The authoritative parent: Sets limits, shows respect for children as independent, and expects maturity and cooperation. An authoritative parent emphasize the reasons for rules and explain the consequences of their actions.

In her book, ‘Loving without Spoiling, ‘ Nancy gave several options, and ways to be an authoritative parent, instead of an authoritarian one.

The authoritative approach encourages children to accept responsibility for what they do. As Nancy says “It’s a parent who sees the need for limits and is willing to be unpopular.” Nancy advices parents that they should let children take responsibility for themselves. Children need to be raised to know the consequences of their actions.

Nancy discipline strategies sound reasonable and having raised two teens I used many of her parenting strategies.

I have always encouraged my children to be independent. I’ve tried hard to listen to their point of view especially during these teenage years as they struggle to find themselves. We have engaged in many discussions around the family table, where I have explained my reason for certain rules and handed down suitable restriction.

I can be over protective and at times too hovering, even controlling when it comes to my daughter. With my daughter I was that helicopter mom that Nancy talks about in her book- loving without spoiling.

(Though Kristin of  Borderline Families would tell me ” Don’t confuse your deep concern for your daughter’s welfare with being a helicopter parent.”)

When my daughter was 18 she rebelled a lot against authority. Much of it to do with the fact she did suffer from a mental illness. Some of the rebellion was just typical teen rebellion.  I recall one time she left home for two weeks. It wasn’t on good terms. On returning home, we sat down and had a discussion. I asked her what she wanted from us. In what areas did we need to change as a parent? After this conversation we gave her the freedom she was longing for, but explain to her that we had certain rules within the house we still wanted to her to follow. When those rules could no longer be respected by her then we told her it was time for her to move out and get her own apartment.

Today, my daughter is 20 years old and lives on her own with her boyfriend. We still have our debates. Parenting has changed from being the parent of a teenage girl to the parent of a young adult.

I still show a deep concern for her safety and sometimes my husband still likes to lecture.  I admit I sometimes too open my mouth when I shouldn’t. Just tonight she told us that we were not to be blamed for her Borderline Disorder. Two days ago she told me  she was lucky to have concerned parent’s.

I still have a 16 1/2 teenage son at home and I’d like to think I have set healthy boundaries with him giving him the freedom to grow and develop into an adult. I try to teach him that with freedom comes responsibility.

I realize that opinions on parenting will always differ. I’m far from a perfect parent and I have no problem admitting that. I’m also no expert on parenting. There will be times when a parent is permissive, too strict and authoritative. I know I certainly have been all three. . Do not be afraid to be a parent. Do your best. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Adapted from my 2008 “Nurturing Healthy Children Culminating” activity for parenting class.


Be an Authoritative Parent
Are today’s parents enabling their kids to be self-centered?
Loving Without Spoiling: And 100 Other Timeless Tips for Raising Terrific Kids

Revised from my 2008 school essay on parenting.

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Loving without Spoiling: And 100 Other Timeless Tips for Raising Terrific Kids

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