What Parenting Style Do You Use?

Have you ever thought about your parenting style? Do you say I have had enough I can’t do this anymore? My children just don’t listen. I am so tired, I just want to go somewhere and hide. Well all these comments are very normal. I have said these myself when I was raising my children. I am briefly going to discuss the four parenting styles that I am familiar with. The first one is the Helicopter Parent. In this style parents think that love means revolving their lives around their children. They hover over and then rescue them whenever trouble arises. They are always pulling them out of jams. The message that the parents are sending their children is “you are fragile, I will do it for you.” When they leave home or go to college they spend the first eighteen months of their adult live flunking out of college or trying to get their heads together. Such children are unequipped for the challenges of life.

Second we have the Drill Sergeant. These parents feel that the more they bark and the more they control, the better their children will be in the long run. These children are constantly told what to do. The parents when talking to them use words that are often filled with put-downs and I-told-you-so. These types of parents are into power. The children will make horrendous decisions later on in life. They have never had to think for themselves. They have been ordered around all their lives. In their teen years they will be more susceptible to peer pressure because they have never been allowed to make their own decisions, so they become followers.

Third we have the Laissez-Faire Parent. These parents have decided to let their children raise themselves. Mainly because they don’t know what to do. They let their child do whatever they want. They feel that they will turn out alright since they themselves did. However, this is a cop-out or misunderstanding of parenting responsibilities.

The last one is the Consultant Parent. In this parenting style the parent sets limits based on the safety of the child and how the child’s behavior affects others. They maintain limits to help children understand they are responsible for their actions and will suffer reasonable consequences for actions that are inappropriate. When the child gets older, the parents adjusts the way they parent to meet the needs of the new process taking place in their adolescent years. Parents are advisors and counselors. They allow the child to make decisions for themselves and guide them to successfully navigate the consequences of their decisions. Parents ask the children questions and then offer choices. Just think of the letter V. The sides of the V represents firm limits within which the child may make decisions and live with the consequences. The bottom of the V represents birth, while the top represents the time when the child leaves home for adult life. In the V of Love we offer more freedom as the years go by. They get more privileges as time goes on the older they get.

Remember that their are 2 types of children. One with a poor self concept and the other with a good self concept. The child who has a poor self concept forgets to do homework, bullies other kids, argues with their teachers and parents. They steal and withdraw into themselves whenever things get rocky. They are irresponsible in all they do. Sometimes when a parent talks to their child, the conversation centers on what they are doing poorly and can’t do. They let them know their weaknesses continually. Therefore constantly eroding the child’s self esteem. On the other hand a child with a good self concept will have a lot of friends, will do chores regularly and don’t get into trouble at school. They take responsibility as a matter of course in their daily lives. Building a child’s concept begins at home and it begins from the moment of birth. Children can’t get better until we prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are good enough the way they are.

So my question to you is, “What type of parenting style do you use?” Just remember children are a gift from God.


Paula W. Thomas, BMHC

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