Parenting styles–Every parent has one, although most probably don’t stop to think about how they come across to their children. I’m not a fan of labels, but I believe it is helpful to understand what a parent’s tendencies are so that they can better understand themselves and work on connecting with their children more effectively.
As you communicate and relate to your children, which one of these styles sounds the most like you?
The Conflictive Style
If you have the conflictive communication style you may feel that you spend much of your parenting interactions in conflict with your child. Although you may have clear limits, you tend to react to your child’s misbehavior in angry or frustrated ways. Emotions may run high in your family with no one quite sure how to stop the constant conflict. Peaceful times seem few and far between. Often, behavioral skill-building doesn’t take place, but testing of boundaries and limits does.
This style of communicating encourages your family members to either avoid or provoke your reactions, and this style teaches your child how to negotiate, instead of accepting limits. It’s one thing to have a child who can calmly articulate their opinions and propose alternatives, but it’s another to have a child who argues against everything you ask them to do.
A conflictive parenting style encourages a conflictive family communication style. It’s a home where family members spend of their time in conflict instead of responding in a way that furthers cooperation and understanding.
If this style resonates with you, you are not a bad parent, but probably one who frequently gets frustrated.
The Wishy-Washy style Style
If you have the wishy-washy communication style, you may have set limits for your child, but are inconsistent about following through with them. Perhaps you do a lot of talking, and not a lot of following through on what you say you will do if your child does not cooperate. If so, your child will most likely push the limits because you are not consistent.
If you waver in your limit setting and follow through, your child learns that sometimes you mean what you say but often you don’t. This style of parenting encourages your child to test you because they never know what to expect from you.
If this sounds like you, I would venture to say that you are exhausted from the constant tug-of-war.
The Responsive Style
If you have the responsive communication style, you have firm, unmistakable family boundaries that are clearly conveyed to your children.
When misbehavior occurs, words are followed by appropriate action. Think of it like this: Having boundaries is like having a backyard surrounded by a sturdy fence. Your child can choose to run or swing or slide, but the boundaries of the yard are clear. When you communicate those boundaries and the consequences to your child, you teach them the skills they need to become responsible and motivated to behave on their own. Your child’s ability to accept limits and act in acceptable ways will help them handle the challenges they will face in life.
Do you see yourself in any of these styles?
The styles you and your spouse have will either facilitate working together or not. Are you both conflictive or wish-washy? If you are a single parent, find a trusted friend that will be your sounding board.
Here are some strategies for becoming more responsiive as a parent:
- Identify your style and talk it over with your spouse or friend.
- Decide what style you would like to be and think about what steps you can take to adopt that style.
- Determine what your family limits are. It will be impossible to convey them to your child if you are unclear yourself about what rules are non-negotiable to handle the problem.
If this is an area where you would like some help, please reach out and schedule a free consultation call.