Sometimes as a parent, it’s important to look at how you parent and give yourself an honest assessment of how you are doing. I came across an excellent article on four types of parenting techniques and the messages they send. I HIGHLY encourage you to read the full article (it’s not long) to get all four, but I wanted to highlight two of the more common parenting approaches that I’ve seen.
The Boss Parent. I think this has been a common parenting technique for many, and truthfully, it’s one I’ve fallen back on as my default parenting mode. The Boss parent allows his or her child to ride bikes, perhaps even bigger than he can handle for his age. But when he meets the grill of the car he hears, “What were you thinking? You know the rules. Follow them. If you don’t listen, one of these days you’re going to get hit, and it’ll be your fault. You need to do better next time.”
The BFF Parent allows the child to bike wherever he wants through town because the backyard might limit his creativity or who he is to become. When he meets the grill of the car in the alley, this parent is writing down every detail the child can remember about the car to hunt down the person who dared drive on that alley while her son was riding his bike. The message the child receives is, “You can do it on your own. You’re amazing. When trouble comes, it’s the world’s fault, not yours. We’ll rescue you.”
According to the article, the one message your child NEEDS to hear is:
“You can explore safely within the boundaries, but when you stray and meet the grill of life, I’m here to help you learn from it. I love you unconditionally for who you are, but I love you enough to not leave you that way.”
I hope you find this as helpful as I did, and please don’t beat yourself up too hard as a parent. We all make mistakes. Just be willing to love your child the best you can, and learn from the times when you might fall short.