It's really easy to get tied up in the 'parenting' of being a parent but then end up not paying attention to what you're actually doing as the parent.
In business there's a great phrase called 'fire-fighting' used to describe leaders who spend their whole time running around after problems there's never any time to sit back, plan & develop any solutions.
If businesses spend too much time 'fire-fighting' they go bankrupt.
If parents spend too much time 'fire-fighting' they fail and it can have some pretty damaging consequences for the child.
Children need 3 really basic things:
If these aren't met every day then things start to get super confusing for your child and the relationship between you will break down.
When psychologists and other professionals are talking about 'parenting styles' they're not talking about how well dressed they are.
Its a term used to refer to parenting effectiveness
There are four main parenting styles:
If you fall into this category then give yourself a giant pat on the back because it's the most effective and beneficial parenting style for children who are typically developing (i.e., they do not have any diagnosed or undiagnosed health complaints).
Authoritative parents have high expectations of what their child can achieve but, at the same time acknowledges that children need love, support and guidance to grow and develop.
The most important trait of this parenting style is the way in which parents communicate with their child. There's an open relationship which enables both the parent and the child to talk about things that are going on (the good, the bad, and the ugly if need be!)
This is one of the most harmful parenting styles and will have seriously detrimental effects on your child's development.
Often, parents I've worked with are not purposefully neglectful.
They just don't realise what they're doing is 'neglectful'.
Unfortunately in this case while intent can make it far worse, not meaning to be neglectful still damages both the relationship and the child.
If you're not regularly meeting all three of the child's needs listed above then you'll fall into this category.
Children who grow up in households where neglectful parenting takes place will struggle to develop meaningful relationships as they get older and to trust others.
While there was a trend to 'let children roam free' a few years ago this can also be extremely damaging for children.
When children have no 'structure' they do not understand the way in which the world works and as they grow into teenagers things get a whole lot worse...
Adolescents from permissive parenting households are 3 times as likely to binge on alcohol while underage than those from authoritative homes.
Plus, they develop very poor social skills, tend to clash a lot with authority figures (parents, teachers, police...) and struggle in schools due to a low internal motivation to succeed.
This is the complete opposite to permissive parenting.
Authoritarian parents are super strict.
With regards to the initial 'fire-fighting' analogy if you're this kind of parent you'll probably spend the majority of your time shouting, screaming and punishing your child. Which is never fun for anyone!
Do you remember the old phrase - children should be seen and not heard?
This is a great example of authoritarian parenting and as you can imagine it really isn't great for the child growing up in a house where there is no freedom to explore.
Children who live with authoritarian parents tend to have really low self-esteem, difficulties in social settings and tend to rebel outside the home!
As you can see - parenting is a minefield!
But basically if you are able to look at how you're raising your child and on the whole (because no one is perfect), you give your child love, safety, and structure (authoritative parenting) then you're onto a winner.
If however you fall into one of the other three categories I'm afraid you'll have to do a bit of adjusting to get your family back on track.
Don't worry - it is 100% possible & children are pretty resilient.
Happy parenting & I'll catch up with you soon.
Best wishes, Katie.
p.s. if you need a little help getting things back on track then why not check out the 'positive parenting community' where you can get help from Katie every week in live Q&A sessions, there's loads of resources and a whole host of other benefits. Click the button below to find out more:
Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.
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