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What kind of Parent are you?


In Jennifer Wyatt’s book, Getting to Calm –  Cool -Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens, she describes four parenting styles that can help us on the journey to creating healthier relationships with our teens.

Are you a kibosher?

This style is heavy on control, power struggles, and about who is more “right”.  This can result in guilt tripping, shaming, and lecturing.

*Do you tend to find yourself making heavy-handed attempts to control your teen?

*Do you find yourself making statements like, “You are grounded for a month.”  “How dare you talk to me like that!”

*Do feel responsible to put an end to your teen’s rudeness right then and there by coming down too hard?

*Do you find yourself trying to manage your teen’s behavior and their thoughts and feelings, too?

*Do you tend to lean towards “right” and “wrong”, “black or white” thinking?

By the time a teen reaches the teen years, a parent that is intent on pure control of rudeness and bad attitude can be in for a nonstop power struggle.  Constantly focusing on and trying to control your teen’s bad attitude, and trying to get it to change can bring a lot of strife and struggle.

This style of parenting damages the relationship with your child.

“Children reared by intrusive parents who demonstrate this kind of ‘Psychological control’ are more likely to show patterns of guilt, dependency, aggression, alienation, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, and depressed feelings.”  The paradox is that this style of parenting leads to exactly what no one wants – loss of control.

The Romantics –

This style of parenting swings to the opposite extreme of the kibosher’s.

*Are you excessively indulgent and permissive, without adequate authority?

*Do you have idealized notions of trying to be the perfect parent?

*Do you hover and find yourself trying too hard to stay close to your children?

*If you are honest about it, do you find yourself feeling needy to be liked by your teen?

If you fall into this category of parenting style you will find yourself struggling to hold your ground against your mouthy and moody teen.

“Rules and consistency – ingredients of good parenting – fall by the wayside.”

The Bouncers – 

This parenting style is a combination of the kibosh and the romantic.   These parents often guilt trip and shame only to find themselves feeling guilty and then caving in.

*Do you find yourself swinging between ruling with an iron fist one day and permissiveness the next?

*Do you find yourself overcome with outrage at your teen’s obnoxious ways and rush in to ground him for life?

*At other times do you find yourself too tired to take on your teen and give in and let it go?

The Shrewd Choosers –  

This is the most effective parenting style.

These parents are clear in their authority and at the same time there is ongoing give and take with their teen.  They pick their battles, based on parenting rule number one:  Keep a mostly positive relationship.

A useful standard is five to one.  Each negative interaction needs to be balanced with five positive ones.

“Teens are moody by nature, and shrewd choosers accept that their children might have negative feelings about them, particularly during this “individuation” phase of life – and especially when teens don’t get what they want.”  Expect teens to express their upset.  Whether dealing with a smart mouth or making a parenting judgment call, these moms and dads walk a fine line – they hold the standards and values they put into place while being open to negotiate new privileges when appropriate.

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