A couple of weeks ago, I published part 1 of this article. It was initially designed as a stand-alone, but one of my friends asked for me to do a follow up with examples of what we are talking about.
In the first article, I detailed the 4 generally accepted parenting styles that modern psychology touts and an addition that my wife and I have found to be helpful in raising our 3 young-uns.
Parent: Go clean your room.
Child: But dad, I am right in the middle of this battle on my game.
Parent: I said NOW!
Child: Ok, yes sir! Can I get to a save point?
Parent: I am not going to tell you again.(Parent turns off the game.) When I tell you to do something, you do it immediately!
**Parent’s Mindset: “I am the boss. What I say goes. If you choose not to, you will have to face my wrath. I only want what is best for them so they will grow up right.”
**Child’s Mindset: “I will try to do what I am told, because I am afraid not to. I know that I can’t meet the expectations perfectly and I feel dejected.”
Parent: I guess you should probably go clean your room, sweetheart.
Child: Ok dad, I am right in the middle of this battle on my game.
Parent: Ok, well we are working on cleaning the house.
Child: Yep…uh huh…. (Keeps playing the game)
Parent: Well, I thought you wanted your room clean, but it’s your room and your choice.
**Parent’s Mindset: “I wish that my child would take more responsibility for their stuff. I know they need to be responsible, but I have vowed to be less authoritarian than my parents were. I want to make sure they have the freedom to make their own decisions so they can develop their own identity.”
**Child’s Mindset: “I can pretty much do what I want to do when I want to and my parents are cool with it.” Unconsciously, this child would like more clear direction and boundaries for making wise choices.
Child: Hey dad, check out this awesome battle on my game.
Parent: That’s cool. I never really cared much about video games.
Child: Hey dad, hey, hey dad.I’m kind of hungry.
Parent: You know where the kitchen is. Now leave me alone. I am trying to work.
Child: Hey dad, dad, dad, I cleaned my room. Do you want to see?
Parent: What do you want? Can’t you see dad is busy?
**Parent’s Mindset: “I have a lot of things on my plate. I have to be responsible for me and my child has to be responsible for themselves. All of the interruptions are inconvenient, and it is such a pain in the butt. Plus, it is good for them to figure things out on their own.”
**Child’s Mindset: “I long for my parent’s attention, affection, and warmth. I usually don’t feel like my parent cares about me much and I wonder if I will ever be good enough to be seen by them.”
Parent: I need for you to go clean your room.
Child: Yes sir, I am right in the middle of a battle on my video game.Can I get to a save point?
Parent: You have 5 minutes.
Child: Okay. Thanks.
Parent: (3 minutes later) You have two minutes, and then I need you cleaning your room.
Child: Alright, I am almost done.
Parent: We are going to turn it off in two minutes so you can get your room clean.
Child: Yes sir.
Parent: Thank you for your cooperation.
Child: (Still playing at the end of the 5 minutes) Just 1 more minute.
Parent: I am sorry. Your time is up. Turn it off now or you will be grounded from the game tomorrow.
Child: Turns off the game.
**Parent’s Mindset: “I love and care for my child. I want them to be respectful of their things and responsible for cleaning up after themselves. I also understand that it is hard work to get through that part of the video game and my child’s request was reasonable. After the 5 minutes that I promised to give is over, my child is still responsible for the task that I need them to do. If they choose to disobey, I have to carry out consequences to teach them the necessity of taking responsibilities seriously.”
**Child’s Mindset: “I feel loved and cared about. I don’t always like what my parents ask me to do. However, when I feel respected, I feel more motivated to respect them.”
Disclaimer: Parenting is not easy. I have had moments in my parenting career that have looked a lot like each of these parenting styles. Over time, we had learned that a consistent authoritative style seems to work best for us.
Goals: When it comes to parenting, we have to have a destination in mind. Otherwise, we find ourselves wandering aimlessly. Our goals for our children tend to be around character building, but your goals for your children may be a lot of things. We tend to fall back on our family mission statement as a guide.
With this being said, we find that love, respect, integrity, and dignity are communicated through our modeling. Let’s take the dialogue you read in the Authoritative section of this post as an example. Let’s pretend that the child fights and argues or flat disobeys with turning off the video game. The consequence takes place. Modeling happens in the recovery. My wife and I call this collaborative parenting.
Child: (Whining) It’s not fair.I am almost to the next level.5 more minutes is all I need.
Parent: It sounds like you are disappointed that you weren’t quite able to get to the next level. That makes a lot of sense. I am sorry it worked out that way. Unfortunately, you are now grounded from the game through the end of tomorrow.
Child: But Dad...!!
Parent: I am sorry sweetheart. I told you what was going to happen if you chose to disobey. Can we talk about what happened here?
Child: I know. I was playing the game and you wanted me to clean my room, but I wanted to keep playing the game.
Parent: That’s right. Taking care of our things is one way that we can show thankfulness and respect for what we have. I understand that you enjoy playing the game and I want you to be able to do so. However, playing the video game is a privilege. We will not allow this to get in the way of our responsibilities. This is why you will not have the opportunity to play tomorrow. How do you want to handle this kind of situation next time?
Child: I understand. I will try to do a little better next time and do what you ask.
Parent: That sounds like a great idea. Thank you for discussing this with me.
If needed, we can refer back to this conversation next time.
If you are struggling in your relationship with your kids, that makes sense. Parenting is one of the hardest human experiences that I know of. Please contact me and we will set up a 15 minute free consult to talk about how we can help you establish stronger bonds with your children.