Unless we’ve consciously thought about it beforehand, we’ll tend to switch to ‘default mode’ in challenging situations and mimic our parents’ behaviour; we’ll parent as we were parented unless we decide otherwise.
So before your children start pushing the boundaries, it’s helpful to take a step back and ask yourself: what kind of parent do I want to be? This is known as ‘Conscious Parenting’.
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1. There are three ways people parent.
2. At one end of the continuum is ‘The Rock’ parent AKA the authoritarian.
3. Rock parents are super strict, give lots of orders and have heaps of rules with very little room for negotiation.
4. They try to demand respect and their method of discipline tends to be harsh.
5. At the other end of the continuum is ‘The Paper’ parent.
6. Paper parents are permissive and often lack limits and boundaries. If parents do set limits they have trouble sticking to them.
7. Paper parents prefer to rescue their children at the first sign of a challenge and try to do their thinking for them. They void conflict and will often back down and give in to their children’s demands to keep the peace.
8. The optimum parenting style is the firm and fair ‘Tree’, sometimes called authoritative.
9. Solid and grounded, a Tree parent sets limits and has clear expectations for behaviour but they will listen to their children’s views, and are flexible and open to negotiation.
10. Research shows that children of Tree parents are self-motivated, have developed internal discipline, communicate clearly, have good self-esteem and respect others.