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Parenting, a demanding skillset, separate from, but requiring love

Parenting, a demanding skillset separate from, but requiring love. And, however important and vital a role love plays in effective parenting, it, alone, is not enough. The absence of expectations and rules undermines our children’s sense of security. When they look to us and we do not appear to know how they are supposed to behave (no expectations or rules), how are they supposed to know how to behave?!  As well, how we treat our children influences strongly how they treat themselves and othersSee earlier article, Expectations, modeling, praise: other ways to say I love you .

Authoritative parenting is widely regarded as the most effective and beneficial parenting style for children. Authoritative parents have high expectations of their children tempered with understanding and supporting their children’s efforts to meet these expectations. This fosters a loving relationship that provides the most powerful combination of guiding, instructing, supporting, and serving a child.

Permissive parenting is a potentially harmful style of parenting. Permissive parents respond but do not demand (that is, have no or very low expectations). Permissive parenting tends toward leniency while working to avoid confrontation. This parenting style is usually very nurturing and loving; however, there are few rules set and are inconsistent when they do exist. This lack of structure (absence of expectations and rules) causes children to grow up with little self-discipline and self-control. As well, I truly believe that when our children look to us and we do not appear to have any expectations or rules for behavior, it undermines their sense of security and their ability to identify and set goals for themselves.

Authoritarian (“strict”) parenting refers to parents who are demanding but not responsive. Authoritarian parents allow for little open dialogue between parent and child and expect children to follow a strict set of rules and expectations. They usually rely on punishment to demand obedience or teach a lesson,

Structure and rules serve and are necessary for healthy child development.  Open communication must balance this structure (expectations, rules) so the children know why it is important for them to follow the rules placed in front of them. Children of authoritarian parents often have low self-esteem, being fearful or shy, associating obedience with love, having difficulty in social situations, and possibly misbehaving when outside of parental care. Punishment teaches what not to do and who not to do it in front of. As well, how we treat our children provides our children with a powerful model for how they treat others.


Former Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims offers us insight into the harm of overparentingHow to raise successful kids .

Katherine Reynolds Lewis’s book, The Good News About Bad Behavior, provides another resource towards the development of effective parenting.

Two rules to guide your parenting:  1) Treat your children the way you wish them to treat you, that is, with respect, recognition and appriciation, but don’t hold your breath; and 2) Treat yourself the way you wish your children to treat themselves.  See earlier article, Always respect, recognize & appreciate your kids.


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