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Every parent wants to be the best parent they can be and desires their children to be happy and successful in life.
You may not believe it, but our children want to please us and desire our approval, even if sometimes they act like they don’t care! They are looking to us to affirm that they are the greatest children!
So this is our window of opportunity to build that incredible bond with our children that would hopefully last for life. We will all make mistakes as parents, but let’s try not to fumble too much if we can help it.
An important starting point is self-awareness — learning what kind of parent you are and why you parent the way you do will help you parent more effectively and avoid hurting your child in the process.
Research# has identified four main parent types or parenting styles:
The (authoritarian) Directive Parent is great on structure and discipline, but can be a rather unfeeling rule master who barks out commands, and expects complete obedience and immediate compliance. This parent type often forgets that their child is but a child who is still developing in maturity, and does not allow room for negotiation or provide reasons for their requests (“…because I told you/ said so!). They can therefore be cold and punitive.
The (permissive) Freestyle Parent is highly adaptable, to the extent of allowing their child to make decisions that are beyond their level of maturity. For example, asking a preschooler what time they would like to go to bed – the answer to which is never! This parent type cares for their children but exercises little control over their behaviours and may relinquish authority prematurely.
The (absent) Distant Parent recognises their child needs space to grow and makes few demands, but in so doing becomes uninvolved and indifferent, and may respond in an uncaring and rejecting manner. This parent type may be physically present but emotionally absent, or both physically and emotionally distant. Other priorities appear to take centrestage and the attention-starved child will often resort to bad behaviour to get the parent’s attention.
The (authoritative) Parent-Coach seeks mature or thoughtful age-appropriate behaviour from their child in a warm and friendly manner that incorporates give-and-take, explanations for why rules need to be followed and respect for the child’s viewpoint. This parent type understands the importance of atmosphere and works hard at making home a loving and fun place. In summary, they are intentional in their parenting.
The Parent-Coach is the preferred and ideal parent type. They are firm yet flexible, informed yet balanced, involved in loving, and intentional in nurturing.
Parent-Coaches are calm, confident and in control, and exercise parenting strategies that help children act, think and feel right.
Childhood is when our children learn to differentiate right from wrong. Firm rules with reason will form the bedrock of their morals.
Being a Parent-Coach to a growing child allows us to remain a character guide to our child while building a strong relationship – both essential foundations for the future years.
Focus on the Family Singapore Limited is a local charity with Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status dedicated to helping families thrive by being a voice for Family. We partner individuals and organizations to nurture families at different life stages through transformational family life education, trusted resources, content placements and counseling.