Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parenting Styles...as in, I’m Stylish and You Can Be, Too

Stylish? Me? Nooo. But wait. Maybe...At least one person thinks so. My friend the Zany Housewife (she was a Parent of the Week- remember?) bestowed upon moi the ‘Stylish Blogger’ award! All I can say is that Zany is far more stylish than I will ever be, but a girl can dream...

Since we’re talking style, let’s talk parenting style. Did you know that there are different styles? Well, there are. An amazingly smart woman (that’s right, I said woman) researcher named Diana Baumrind classifies parents on two different aspects: control and warmth.

We’ve all seen the extremely controlling parent, right? Parents who direct each and every aspect of their child’s behavior? Warmth has to do with how accepting parents are of their children and also how sensitive and responsive they are to them.

How controlling and/or warm are you? How much of each should you be?

Fine. I’ll tell you. Research shows that parents who are very warm with their children but also exercise a fair amount of control have children who grow to be responsible, competent teenagers. Surprised? It makes sense if you think about it. My theory? Setting limits and boundaries with your child (control) in the context of a caring, supportive environment (warmth) teaches children that 1.they have a say, 2.their opinions matter, and 3.mutual respect between people leads to solutions.

So how do you do this in a real world situation? Let’s take computer time. Your child wants to stay up and play on the computer all night, but you know he needs to get to bed because he has preschool in the morning. Try something like this:

“It’s important for you to get sleep before school. I hear that you really want to stay up and play on the computer. Would you like to play for 4 or 5 more minutes before bed?”

He will probably choose 5.

“Okay! I’m going to set the egg timer for 5 minutes. Let’s see...that’s...300 seconds! Wow! Okay, when the timer goes off, I’ll carry you piggy back to bed!”

So what do you think? How warm and/are controlling are you?


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