“Look how she’s raising her child! I’ll never do this when I have my own child !!”
How many of us have criticized others on their parenting styles, including our own parents, yet when our turn came, we found ourselves doing the exact same things we promised ourselves we would never do?
How many of us have reacted Infront of our children’s imperfect behavior, and later on, we have tortured ourselves with guilt for impulsively reacting the way we did? Mothers know how it feels like going to bed at night struggling with the thought that they are not “good enough” mothers …
Parenting is one of the most rewarding yet challenging vocation there is. It’s a 24 hours job, pays no salary and offers no promotions or benefits. We are gifted with children yet they do not come with a manual of instructions.
The way we react to our children’s behavior has roots we might not be aware of. One of the major things that affects the way we parent our children is the way we were raised by our own parents. If we want to become the best version we can be for our offspring’s, the place we ought to look at is our own childhood. Triggers from our childhood shapes our approach as parents. Identifying those triggers is as important as understanding the different parenting styles that affected us in the past and those we unconsciously adopt in the present.
In 1960, Psychologist Diane Baumrind Identified 4 styles of parenting:
- Authorita-rian ( “Sergeant Major” or “brick wall” parents ) :
This style is characterized by strict rules with severe punishments for breaking or questioning those rules. Mistakes are not accepted, and obedience is highly expected. Children are not allowed to express themselves or to choose for themselves. Authoritarian parents control their children by inducing fear through yelling, punishing, threatening and sometimes through hitting. They demand respect from their children without ever modeling respect to the child.
This style Motto is “Because I said so”. Children raised with this style of parenting will grow up to become perfectionist, with very little tolerance to mistakes. They often lie and have a constant feeling of never being good enough, no matter what they do.
2. Permissive (“Helicopter” or “Jelly fish”)
This style is characterized by a lack of boundaries and limits. Parents may find themselves parenting this way because they were parented with the authoritarian style and want to avoid the aggressive atmosphere they suffered from. They want to avoid conflict, and will give into any of their children’s demands. Parents try hard to show respect for their children – but it seems that the child have the option as to whether or not they will return the respect.
This style Motto is “Whatever you want”. Children raised with this style of parenting have very little tolerance to frustration, they feel insecure and are overly dependent. They have low accountability for their actions, and they have low understanding or respect of other’s rights.
This style is characterized by a recurrent pattern of emotional distance between parent and child. Parents believe their only responsibility is to provide food on the table, cloth and shelter. They tend to focus on their own interest, desires and career path, and have a lack of interest in their children’s need for connection or life’s activities. They have no set rules or expectations for their children’s behavior.
This style famous Motto is “I don’t care”. Children raised with this style of parenting have low self-esteem, they believe they are not worthy of love, time and attention. They tend to become emotionally needy dependent in other relationships.
4. Authoritative (“parent coach” or “backbone parent”)
This style is characterized by setting clear expectations & natural consequences to the child’s actions. Instead of demanding and giving orders, they request and explain the “why” of their “requests”. They allow the child to question, to express and to make choices for themselves including mistakes. Authoritative parents are present, flexible, communicative and empathic. They parent from a place of love rather than fear; their child has a voice and their feelings are validated.
This style famous Motto is “Let’s discuss this”. Children raised with this style of parenting have confidence in themselves, they know how to communicate their needs clearly, they understand themselves, they are independent, responsible and take accountability for their own actions.
As parents of generation Z, we might be using a combination of different styles, yet there is one that is predominant, that we use instinctively more than the others. Becoming aware of it and becoming conscious of the “why” behind our actions is thecornerstone for transformation.
If we want to shift the dynamics of past generations and clear its influence over our children’s future…
If we want to build a relationship based on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones, we need to learn to become conscious parents.
Conscious parenting is about having an awareness of our family of origin, the imprints that it had on us and how it still affects us in the present. Then it is about choosing to create a new imprint that is unique to our family, our culture, our values and the vision we have for our children’s future. It uses the positives from the past, and it chooses to free from the negative that no longer serves us. Conscious parenting demands courage; it acknowledges and allows suppressed wounds from our own childhood – to surface again – in order to heal it and release its influence from our family’s system.
It’s important to remember that “learning” is a cyclical process that requires unlearning to re-learn again. While we all want to adopt the authoritative type, we must understand that conscious parenting demands intentionality, consistency, self-discipline, and presence. Transformation takes time, and that’s okay. Be gentle with yourself while choosing to become a conscious parent; It’s a long journey of self-discovery, and it is the most valuable gift you can offer your child.
While you may believe your most important challenge is to raise your children well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting; This task is to raise YOURSELF into the most awakened and present individual you can be.”
The Conscious Parent by Dr Shefali Tsabary