By Dr. Valerie Allen
The New Year brings added attention to the fact that children are in a constant state of growth and development. One day your daughter is interested in dolls and tea parties and the next she is experimenting with make-up and high heals. What happened to that lovable little boy who played so nicely with the puppy? This is the same boy who now thinks you are his private taxi service.
- In a matter of weeks or months, children’s needs and behaviors change and so must our style of parenting. What worked at three will not work as well at 13. The goal of parenting is to raise children who are independent of us. The job of a parent is to instill values and morals, so the child understands right from wrong and makes appropriate choices when on his own.
- The Authoritative Parent provides a loving, supportive, home environment. These parents hold high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior. They enforce household rules consistently and explain why some behaviors are acceptable and others are not. Children are included in family decision making.
- The Authoritarian Parent: holds high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior, however, they convey less emotional warmth directly toward their children. They establish rules of behavior, but they may not take the child’s needs into account. They tend to expect immediate obedience, without question by the children. Parents make “family decisions” without input from the children.
- The Permissive Parent: may provide a loving, supportive, home environment, however, hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They rarely discipline the child for inappropriate behavior and tend to make excuses for their child’s offenses. Children are allowed to make their own decisions about their life style without guidance or standards set by the parents.
- The Uninvolved Parent: provides little, if any, emotional support; even when they are home, they tend to be uninvolved with the children and family activities. They hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They have little interest in their children’s lives and seem overwhelmed or over involved in their own work or problems.
Resolve this new year to tell your child every day “I love you” with your words and by your actions. Take time to be involved in your child’s life at home, at school, and with friends. Your efforts will help create open communication, mutual respect, and a loving relationship with your child throughout the year ahead.