Ten Characteristics of the Mature Parent
The ADULT Parent
The true purpose of parenting is to guide a child and help him/her develop into the best person he/she could be. Parenting is supposed to be an exercise of responsibility. Responsibility to the child's physical, emotional, and psychological well being. Responsibility to respect and nurture the child's integrity and to ingrain a sense of positivity in his/her life.
Parenting is not playing power games with a child. Many parents inadvertently view parenthood as power play between them and their children. They believe that it is more important for a child to submit to their parental authority whatever it may be. They are of the attitude that because they are parents, they have the MIGHT & RIGHT to do whatever they will to their children.
Many parents are of the opinion that their children are to respect them but they do not necessarily have to respect their children. They often view their children as appendages to bend to their specific will and agenda instead of recognizing them as unique individuals in their own right. They usually consider their children to be lesser persons than they are. This parenting strategy is called immature parenting.
Clearly, immature parents do not value their children. To such parents, their children will never be equal to them because of rigid parent-child roles. Their main emphasis of parenting is the assertion of their parental authority and their emphasis on blind and unquestioning obedience of their children. Such parents are threatened if their children manifest any form of self-assertion. Immature parents always want to be in charge as parents even though they are wrong. Now there is the mature parent. There are ten important characteristics of the mature parent.
(1) Mature parents treat their children as individuals. They subscribe to the notion that their children have their own needs and desires. They contend that their children should follow their own lifepath whatever it may be. They find it to be totally abhorrent to force their children into a prescribed lifepath. To them, that would be considered the worst type of child abuse. To them, a child's individuality is preordained and sacrosanct and should be respected.
(2) Mature parents believe that the role of parent is that of guider and educator. They believe that children have their own paths and their duty is to guide to them to achieve their own specific goals. They want their children to be constantly searching, learning, and exploring because these avenues are the ways that the latter will learn. They establish rules and structures as a constructive measure to guide their children and to protect them from harm.
(3) Mature parents do not advocate blind obedience. They contend that in order for children to become fully functioning individuals, they must always question authority and think for themselves. Such parents inform their children that rules are not etched in stone and mostly are circumstantial and situational. They teach their children to have an inner ethical system. They portend that the worst thing for children is to be raised to be unquestioningly obedient. For such parents, these children will be timid and overly dependent who will be unthinking automatonic followers, instead of intelligent thinking leaders.
(4) Mature parents are not afraid to be friends with their children. They see nothing wrong and disrespectful with being friends with their children. They have an open relationship with their children. It is their assertion that their children should be able to discuss anything with them without any fear. They do not believe that there should be a strict boundary between parent and child. They are of the school that if their children are not free with them, it is a dire situation indeed.
(5) Mature parents are not threatened if their children express a different opinion and/or elect a different lifestyle. They contend that because their children are individuals, they are entitled to their own individuality. In their opinion, children should be allowed to experiment and try on different hats so to speak as long as it is not harmful. They further believe that children should be exposed to myriad cultures and lifestyles in order to become a totally broadminded, educated, and renaissance person.
(6) Mature parents love their children unconditionally. They maintain that their children are not what they do, they just are. They accept their children's so-called imperfections. In fact, they contend that these so-called imperfections are totally immaterial as to the innate value of their children. To them, their children are quite valuable the way they are. So what if their children fail a test this time, there will always be a next time to do better.
(7) Mature parents do view mistakes as grievous and mortal sins. They maintain that mistakes are an integral part of life. To such parents, mistakes are simply lessons in disguise and should not be feared but embraced. One makes a mistake, learn, and move on. Mistakes are not the end of the world but a natural process in the continuum of life. After all, mistakes and failures are just as valid as success.
(8) Mature parents do not use corporal punishment in disciplining their children. They portend that the use of corporal punishment only instills fear and resentment in their children. They believe that the purpose of punishment is to teach and educate their children in addition to preventing the recurrence of such negative behavior in the future. They assert that there are ways to discipline children rather than to use physical force and violence. They use intellectual and constructive forms of discipline because it is more effective than the use of physical punishment which usually have more negative connotations.
(9) Mature parents have their own individual lives, separate from that of their children. They are happy with their individual lives. If not, they implement steps to live the life of their dreams. They do not believe in putting their lives on hold. They embrace their lives with all its foibles. Even though they are parents, they are also lovers, friends, and associates. They have a life outside of that of their children. They staunchly do not believe in living through their children as to them, this is totally egregious to them as their children have their own individual agenda that they must fulfill. They believe that each party should live their own individual lives i.e. a happy, fulfilled parent makes a happy, fulfilled child. Straight, no chaser.
(10) Mature parents are not fearful. They raise their children to be totally fearless and to embrace life. They also have an extremely positive attitude towards life. They are of the school that life is what one makes of it. They further inculcate their children that the world is their oyster and not a forbidden place. They teach their children intelligent caution; however, they add that this should never be a detriment to them fully savoring life in all its juiciness.
In summation, the mature parent treat their children as thinking individuals. They do not believe in using power plays and/or other manipulative games with their children. They love and respect their children and value their uniqueness and individuality. All parents should be this way!
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams