Your Parenting Style Is Your Relationship with Your Child
Parenting with love, anger, fear? Everything you do and say is forming the type of relationship you have and will have with your child. Are you in a dictator relationship where they do what you say no questions asked? Are you in a manipulative relationship where they will say and do what they know you want to hear in fear that perhaps you won’t approve of them or love them if they have their own opinions? Or, are you in a conscious relationship where your child can have their own likes and dislikes, their own opinions, and come to you easily with their needs and problems? Perhaps it’s a combination of the above or something different entirely. Either way, you have the awesome opportunity to be the person your child trusts and loves enough to go to with their joys, fears, successes, failures, embarrassments, needs, worries and more throughout their life.
Parenting Style of My Childhood
For some reason, I grew up feeling like I was never good enough… like I had to be perfect… I couldn’t make mistakes… and that I just wasn’t worthy. My parents were good parents, but we never talked about emotions and we were shown conditional love… meaning if we had bad behavior, they would get angry with us. Thing is, I got the message that it was not ok to mess up, and when I mess up they get mad. So, when I did have struggles and even messed up as a young adult more than once, I didn’t know who to turn to. I could have really used a loving parent to lean on, but I was too ashamed and afraid of the judgement I would receive if I opened up… probably more a result of religious dogma and fear, but nonetheless, my truth at the time.
Your Parenting Style and Your Kids
My son is now 6, and I love him no matter what. I am sure to tell him that all the time. I do also make a point to always validate his feelings and set limits on his behavior. Interesting enough, that is not the norm. I was at a back-to-school orientation night, and the director was asking us in the audience to list some qualities that we value in our homes. And, I raised my hand and said “unconditional love”. She disagreed in front of the entire auditorium and went on to say that it’s pretty hard to love a kid when they are doing the wrong thing. I was shocked at the matter of fact way she discounted what I said. I had truly learned to love my son even though he doesn’t always do the right thing… I had to… my son was just that kid who did the wrong thing often, and I hated the person I was becoming, getting mad and reacting to unwanted behavior rather than responding to it. It was not working for either of us. I’m happy I had the opportunity to learn how to love my son even when he’s not doing the right thing. Besides constantly helping him to identify his own emotions, I feel like I am constantly reassuring him it’s ok to have emotions and make mistakes while teaching him appropriate ways to handle them both.
Love Based Parenting Style Could Change the World
What would happen if all kids got the message that they were loved no matter what? If kids knew they were loved even if they got bad grades, or tried drugs, or had sex or got pregnant? I’m not saying you have to like what they did, I’m just presenting what it would be like if kids who got themselves into a mess actually had an unconditionally loving parent to turn to for help. Perhaps that kid wouldn’t even get into a mess… they’d talk to you about their struggle with their teacher or that subject in school and they would come talk to you about wanting to have sex or about how they may be feeling pressured to have sex. Then, these secure kids would grow into adults knowing they are loved even though they are not perfect, so they can skip the many years of having to learn to love and accept themselves as they are (because they already do) and get right to making a contribution to our world.
Conscious Parenting Can Begin Early
Do you love your kids unconditionally? Really? Can they be who they want and still get your attention? How often does your child come to you with an embarrassing situation or an intimate feeling or thought? How often do you share either with them? I was recently talking with a friend whose husband is a good guy but is sadly distancing himself from his daughter. He had taking her on a hike but decided not to bring water. He talked about how he spent many hours as a kid helping out his family and didn’t have water… and he was proud of how tough it made him. Problem was, in talking to her daughter, my friend finds out that she was really thirsty on the hike, but she didn’t say anything to her father. Was she embarrassed that she needed water… did she think he wouldn’t approve since he could go without water? Whatever the case… this little girl was unable to acknowledge one of her most basic primary needs and communicate that to a person she is supposed to love and trust. What is this teaching her about her needs? That her needs are not important… to not speak up… to comply so that others will love her! Wow, this is so dangerous. All because a father wants to teach their child something. Note to this father and other parents like him: Your child will NOT be coming to you when they are being pressured into sex or drugs if they can’t even express that they are thirsty!
Parenting Made Simple
Love is the answer. Don’t worry so much about what you want to teach your kid. Worry more about modeling how to think constructively, plan ahead, and love with your whole heart. Model how to handle your emotions eloquently. Model how to have fun in a safe way and how to say no when you want to. If you want to teach them something, then ask them how they are feeling? Ask them to check in with their bodies to see if they are hungry or thirsty or feeling like some exercise. Ask them, before the hike, if they’d like to bring water or a snack? (Then when they take a friend for a hike, they’ll consider their friend’s needs and ask them if they would like to bring water, etc.) Empower them with the tools of how to be prepared, how to love, how to understand what they are feeling, and of how to use their voice. Do this by modeling it for them and talking with them about it on a daily basis. Your kids are our future!
Love yourself and your kids enough to be the person they turn to when they need someone most.
Lots of Light,
Candice T . Aguirre
I wouldn’t say my parents are perfect, but I can’t ask for any other parent than them! You see, my mother’s a conservative while my father’s kinda liberal. They compliment each other in parenting. They’re strict, but there’s enough space for us to breathe. They don’t put a lot of pressure to us, so that as children, we would trust them and don’t feel scared of them. I like the way all of us are learning from each other, both parents and children, and we kinda change over the years. Now, I feel more open to them than I used to, and I feel that they’re now more willing to listen to us and give us a chance to decide for ourselves. I believe I have a healthy relationship with them (though I admit, I tend to be rude to them at times, but they don’t deserve it)
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you really love your parents, and it’s a good fit for you all. I loved my parents and my childhood so much too! Everyone would have said it was the perfect childhood, even me. But as an adult, I can see now how I lacked the skills to notice what I was feeling and how to talk about it. All kids are “rude” from time to time, but there’s more happening than that. In today’s parenting, they say to respond to the emotions… not the behavior. So, if you find yourself being rude to your parents, they might just ask you if everything is ok… recognizing something may be going on and you might need them to talk something out. Or perhaps they just instinctively give you a bit more space. Everyone needs some space from time to time or has underlying feelings that cause them to distance themselves from loved ones in this way. It’s completely normal. I have found that I can sometimes see my needs coming a mile away, and I choose to satisfy my need for space first, so that I don’t say something or act in a way I end up feeling bad about. If parents know one thing, it’s not to take anything personally. They know we love them no matter what we say and do; and it’s because they love us no matter what we say and do. It’s how we feel that makes us so uncomfortable, and it’s our feelings we need to learn to recognize and talk about. And, by the sound of it, you’re ahead of the curve and in a great place with your family and the way you are relating to one another. That’s awesome!
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Well, even if I say that my relationship with my parents is a healthy one, there are still some things that make me anxious. This concerns my rudeness to my parents. It is said that one will never know what a parent feels until he becomes a parent himself. I believe in that. Back then, whenever I answer back rudely to my mother, she would tell me that when I become a parent, my children would do the same (or worse) to me. That made me fear thinking about becoming a parent someday, and until now, I fear it. I think it kinda affected my love life as well, ‘coz I tend to back off to dating at times ‘coz I’m not ready to become a parent yet? This is further supported by real life events, as in the case of my relatives and neighbors. Those children who defied (or did something GOOD to their parents) experience the same thing with their children. It’s a chain reaction. I myself believe I’m a bad kid, and I don’t want to become a bad parent ‘coz that’ll make my child a bad kid as well. I still don’t know what kind of parent I will become, but for the mean time, I do my best to be a good daughter to my parents so that I become a model to my future children. (I kinda envy my mother ‘coz she cares a lot to her mother).