Parenting Styles and Change of Times
Old Parenting versus New Parenting
For the last several years parents young and old have been told to not discipline their children in a way that could stifle their individuality and spirit. What does that mean exactly? When a child is naughty they need to be disciplined. This helps them understand how to be to fellow man. If the child is disrespectful and rude you discipline them and show them the right way to behave. This in turn creates a adult later in life that is courteous and kind to others rather than a ravenous snake that will tear down anyone for their own amusement.
This takes a new turn from how our parents were raised and even some of us. We have all heard the stories from our parents about getting the belt for beating up a kid or soap in the mouth for swearing among various other punishments. By the time our parents had kids they didn't want to impart that onto us so it went from the belt to a smack on the butt with their hand or standing in the corner or even my all time favorite loss of belongings. All with much prevail, most of those kids have respect for their elders and the things they earned. Then you get to the new generation of kids who are having kids with no idea what it takes to raise a child. If they manage to hit their 20's before they have their first child they still have a lot to learn. They read every book possible and follow the words of all these strangers and then wonder why their children are disrespectful and well, lack discipline.
Nobody wants to be the bad guy and especially be the reason you child is crying. How are they to learn if you don't show them? Kids will cry, they get over it, they look back at the moment and remember how bad they felt after getting disciplined from doing their naughty act and think twice about acting way again. This is something our new generation of parents are lacking, backbone. They are so afraid to be the parent and stand their ground. Parents of today spend more time being the friend and not the parent. How do you balance on that line?
Which is Better?
The age old question.... who is right? Is there really a right or wrong way to parent ones child? As with many things someone always has to have the answer and there are countless books and doctors who will tell you that yelling at your child or punishing them for a behavior is wrong. But who are they to tell you how to handle your child? They are not there, they do not see what the child did nor do they know your child and their demeanor so what gives them the right to flat out say your style is wrong?
When we were growing up, and by we i mean 30-35 year old people. We didn't get sat down and calmly explained why our actions were wrong. We knew what we did was wrong, probably tried to lie about it and when we got caught would get spanked or something of the sort. We learned to not do that again, or at least most of us. The fear of punishment kept most of us on the straight and arrow. You look around today at the kids and see them talking back, yelling, telling their parents what to do and overall acting like little butt heads. As a young parent these days you know that if you discipline your child in public most people will have their opinion and probably claim child abuse however if you don't people have their opinion on that as well. So what do you do?
There must be a means to and end. Honestly, if you are letting your kids run rampant in a store and just keep doing what you are doing some will call you lazy, if your children are acting up and you say stop but do noting to make them, again you are unfit and a bad parent right? Wrong, sure there should be punishment and there are some parents young and not young that just don't seem to care but there are others that when not in a public setting will in fact take matters into their own hands and show those kids what for. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't' happen. So what happened over the years to make this new 'parenting style' the norm?
Friend or Parent, Can't it be Both?
Here it is, the line that is never followed but often crossed. Parent or friend? Most think it is one or the other but in fact its both. It is just a balancing act. You can hang out with your kids and have fun and play no matter what age but you must keep that parental figure when the time calls for it. For example, if you are playing at a park with you children lets say age range 5-12 and you are all having fun and your older ones share stories you with and what not but it comes time to go. You need to have instilled in your child that even though now was fun friend time with mom or dad they are putting on the parent cap and say its time to go you know you need to listen. If you don't there will be consequence. As the child you don't lose respect or feel angry you just understand. You don't lose the want to share things with them and you know they won't judge you but you also know that when they say it is time to go that they mean business. That is balancing the line.
How do you do that? Sound hard right? Well it sure is not picnic and takes time to build but it can be done. Obviously you can be a sounding board for your child which makes them feel comfortable with you and you can share things about your day but when it comes to serious material like marital issues, money or anything that only an adult needs to handle that should be left on the back burner.
According to Psychology Today you don't have to choose between friend and parent however there do need to be boundaries. You won't dress and act like them giggling about boyfriend and girlish adventures but you also won't share your adult content with them. (Stern, j. 2011) You also do not want to be distant and aloof either. If you decide to have a tense and distant communication style you should be prepared for your relationship to be the same. At the same time you don't want to be controlling. A controlling parent causes rebellion which as time goes on will cause even more distance between you and your child. The only option you are left with is to be a parent who is a friend. Still have questions about how to that huh? Well lets take a closer look.
Being a parent does not mean cutting out personal bonding with your child. Setting boundaries is good but keeping things warm and open are important. When you are sharing moments with your child and they are telling you about how they feel about things or what they want to do you by all means can share too, it humanizes you as the parent but keep the sharing to things that will not stress out your child. (Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., 2016). Off limit topics are money, your personal marriage, deep feelings of sadness or any other adult things that round that. you can share things like; "I would love to go shopping as well but we just can afford that right now." But follow up by say that we will save to be able to go on a trip or something along that front. You can share things about your day and what you enjoyed about the day. Your child will likely appreciate that thus sharing their day. This is the safe friendship all the while holding you parental status. It lets your child know that you are open and it is safe to come to you but that if, as the child, you mess up the parent will step in and take charge.
Everyone has an opinion, a thought, something to say. When it all comes down to it you will do what you will do and with all the media out there saying one thing and others saying something else what are supposed to believe. All you can do is what feels right for you. Parenting is hard, tedious, grueling and tiresome to say the least. But it is also rewarding, fulfilling and warm.
There are so many questions to ask and answers to be given but in the grand scheme of things parenting is trial and error. If one technique is not working for you try another. The main thing to remember is discipline is important. It teaches our children respect, humility, and overall forces them to understand that there are consequences for their actions. Parenting doesn't stop there. Being there, supporting and listening to your child can help form a bond with them making them feel they can come to you for many things. They need to see that you are human too but do not need to know all the heartache that life brings, they will learn that in time. It is possible to be friend and parent by keeping boundaries of what, as the adult, you can share. Not only that but teaching them consequences for actions and helping them deal with hard situations, not running in and fixing them for them but helping them understand to deal with them their own way.
Parenting is not easy, it takes patients, stamina, strength and understanding. It is not for the faint of heart. It can be stressful but rewarding all at the same time. You can stand the line between parent and friend you can manage to create a well rounded individual but you have to put in the time, sweat and tears to get there. If one approach does not work try another. Take with grain of salt those that may 'know' a thing or two but they do not know you or your child. That is not to say that they don't know anything but take what they have with a grain of salt and if you find yourself referencing that moment while you are struggling with your child perhaps give it a try, you never know it could be the thing that works the best.
Dewar, G., PhD. (n.d.). Should parents be friends with their kids? Retrieved August 8, 2016, from http://www.parentingscience.com/parents-be-friends.html
Stern, J., Ph.D. (2011, March 7). Parent or Friend: Do I Have to Choose? Retrieved August 5, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/parenting-is-contact-sport/201103/parent-or-friend-do-i-have-choose