Conscious or snow ploughing: What sort of parent are you?

Written by Publishing Team

Are you too involved, not involved enough, or just involved enough in your children’s lives?
Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu / © Gulf News

What is your strategy when you are a parent? You can tell you don’t have one and tripped over it the best you can, but considering all the pockets created, you might find yourself slipping into a definition just yet. It started as a set of four patterns in the 1900s, which psychologists still recognize decades after they were identified: bossy, permissive, uninvolved, and bossy. Over the years, there have been a number of ramifications and unofficial terms to define child management practices. Here’s a look at some of the terms that are circulating – which do you identify with?

Authoritarian: The “I say you do” parenting style may guarantee enslavement and instigate fear, but this is only for a while. In this kind of child rearing, the parent sets strict rules and asks the child to obey, no explanation needed. The US-based National Center for Biotechnology Information cites an article titled “Types of Parenting Styles and Effects on Children,” which explains, “They expect their children to meet these standards without making mistakes. Mistakes usually lead to punishment.

Authoritarian: This type of parenting could also be referred to as reactive parenting because like any good manager, parents tailor their style to whatever is right for the child. The American Psychological Association (APA) says, “In this parenting style, parents are attentive, responsive, and supportive, while setting firm limits for their children. They try to control children’s behavior by explaining rules, discussing and reasoning. They listen to a child’s point of view but don’t always accept it.

The result, he concludes, are young people who know their own minds, are friendly, successful and happy.

Permissive: All is well in this house, where the children seem to set the rules. Parents are warm, but they don’t set firm rules. These children tend to have more rights and impulsiveness, and have little autonomy, self-control and achievement.

Not involved: The distant parent is not there, even if he is physically present. This level of indifference breeds low self-esteem and a distorted self-image. The APA says, “Children raised with this parenting style tend to seek out other, sometimes inappropriate, role models to replace the neglectful parent.

Aware: Luz Maria Villagras S., UAE-based conscious parenting coach, hypnosis therapist and neurolinguistic programming practitioner, explains that this style of parenting is actually more about the parent than the child. It focuses on learning your own triggers and how to counter them; it is about breaking the patterns that have been established and passed down from generation to generation as a popular method of raising children. She says, “In conscious parenting, you say, okay, I brought you into this world; I take full responsibility for guiding you through my example. US-based WebMD states on its website that “Mindful parenting involves being intentional about the parenting decisions you make.”

Helicopter: Are you a hoverer? So you might be venturing into this territory. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, overly controlling parents tend to stunt mental and emotional growth, which leads to behavioral problems in children. “Our research has shown that children whose parents have helicopters may be less able to cope with the difficult demands of growing up, especially for navigating the complex school environment,” Nicole B. Perry, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, and lead author of the study, said at the time. “Children who cannot effectively regulate their emotions and behavior are more likely to act in class, have more difficulty making friends and have difficulty in school. “

Snow plow: A derivative – and perhaps worse – strategy is this type of parenting, which is also referred to as lawn mower parenting or bulldozer parenting. Essentially, the style is about removing all obstacles in the child’s path to save them from pain, failure or discomfort. There’s only one problem: these obstacles are character builders too. A child with this kind of parent falls into a difficult space. Web MD says, “Snowplough parenting will be different for every child. It usually starts out small and seemingly inconsequential, but normalizing the habit will set them up for severe failure later. “

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