Parenting is one of the most important jobs a person can ever have, and performing that job well is no easy task. One effective parenting strategy is to create balance. This balance needs to be a mix of firmness and kindness, drawing from the benefits of both. While some people might tend to naturally be more controlling and strict, others might come into parenthood with few boundaries and even fewer rules or expectations. Striking a balance can be difficult, but doing so will provide an atmosphere where children can thrive and succeed.
One of the first steps when seeking an effective parenting strategy based on balance is to assess which type of parenting style is most often used naturally. Parents can do a self-assessment of how they see themselves as leaders for their children. Are they generally passive and permissive or constantly struggling to control situations and circumstances? Parents should also set goals for which type of parenting style they wish to provide more of for their children and the reasons why that style would benefit not only the children, but the entire family.
A controlling or strict parent often fears that if he or she relaxes even momentarily that the child will not learn responsibilities or boundaries, and be unable to function successfully in life. However, children often see controlling parents as oppressive dictators who are only trying to keep them down. The children could also interpret this parenting strategy to mean that the parents don’t really like them, or that they don’t value the individuality of the child. It is OK for parents to allow their children to learn from their own mistakes. It does not mean that the parents are too permissive, but that they care enough about their children to see them grow to be independent individuals who can realize their own dreams.
Parents who are too permissive risk raising children who have no respect for authority. While it might be fun to be the child who gets away with everything, the results could be risky behaviors and unrealized potentials. Kids also tend to ignore most of what permissive parents say because they have learned that the rules are not really rules at all and that with enough pushing, the boundaries don’t even have to exist at all. Children in these situations might decide that their parents won’t really do anything about their behaviors anyway. This can actually leave children feeling unloved and of low priority. When it comes to a time where following instructions or directions is paramount, the chances are low that this will happen, risking the safety or success of the child.
The key to all of this is balance. With the right amount of firmness and allowance, parents can support and guide their children into successful lives. This delicate balance is not achieved overnight and it will take practice and patience. It is also a fluid balance, needed to be adjusted according to the life circumstances of the child and family. The positive effects of working to achieve balance in parenting strategies will have life lasting positive impacts.
Your friend and fellow parent,
Parenting Coach, Author & Speaker