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Parenting Style - What's Yours?

Aug 17, 2007
The art of parenting has evolved over the years to the point where there are now no set styles which new parents need to adopt. However, this doesn't stop the continued debate about which parenting style is 'right' for children. Is it necessary to be a firm disciplinarian in order to teach your children respect? Or is a more cooperative style that allows children to develop their own inner discipline the better way to go? Or perhaps a more permissive style is better to allow children to be free spirits before the harsh realities of life descend as they hit adulthood? This debate raises other questions like whether a parent should be a friend or a distant disciplinarian? Is there such a thing as middle ground as a friendly disciplinarian?

If you are grappling with working out the best parenting style then its time to take a deep breathe and relax. There is no ideal parenting style, there is only the parenting style that works for you and your family. That's because you can't decide when you are pregnant which parenting style you will adopt and then rigidly stick to it throughout your child's life. Well, you can try doing that. But your child will test you in ways that you can't even imagine and so a hard and fast rule maybe quickly discarded because its inadequate from the circumstances you find yourself in.

The main principle of any parenting style should be about making sure that your child know from the first day of life that they have your unconditional love. Beyond that the other building blocks for your life together will gradually take shape as your child grows up and as you grow with them. You will, however, have to work at finding a consistent parenting style that sets limits for your offspring while still responding with flexibility.

In the first days, months and even years of your child's life you will be discovering both your and your child's strengths and weaknesses. You will also learn what you can tolerate and what you can't (and the things that you can't accept may not be what you thought they would be). Many parents expect themselves to be able to satisfy all their child's needs. However, this isn't realistic and no parent can be everything to a child nor should a parent be a child's total world. Children mature by gradually expanding beyond the boundaries their parents place around them for their protection. It is the parent's responsibility to set these boundaries and then be wise enough to move them as the child grows up.

Beside love, limits and flexibility another hallmark of an effective parenting style is communication. No parent child relationship will exist without stress, strain and at times arguments and pain. If a parent endeavors to establish strong open lines of communication from the very first days of the parent child dynamic then their relationship will survive the difficult days which accompany any child's growth into adulthood.

That communication may not always be sitting down and discussing life as this is often too intense for a child. Some parents find a common interest can provide a safe haven for getting along when times get rough. Other times it may just be making time for each other one on one. Something as simple as sharing a meal in a favorite restaurant or making time to read together can create that all important conduit for communication.

Whatever style of parenting you adopt, you would be wise to remember the one basic rule: Treat your child with the same love and respect with that you would like for yourself. Often the best way to teach is by modelling the behavior yourself.
About the Author
Jill Brennan is a mother of two boisterous boys and a business owner who has developed a number of parenting strategies which have transformed her parenting style. Learning from other parents is a key part of her approach. In order for parents to more easily share their experiences and learn from each other she has set up: www.practicalparentingtips.com
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