Parenting 101: Is there a Manual to Help Our Kids Become Well-Developed and Socially Responsible Adults? | Rice Psychology
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Parenting 101: Is there a Manual to Help Our Kids Become Well-Developed and Socially Responsible Adults?

Rice Psychology - Parenting 101

At some point, many parents have wanted a manual or instructions to help raise their children.

Is it your goal to help your children become resilient and socially responsible adults? If so, a set of instructions would sure make the job much easier, wouldn’t it? If you’ve ever tried finding a book on being a better parent, the amount of choices was likely overwhelming. In this piece, we’ll be going over a few factors that go into being a great parent.

Rice Psychology Group wants all parents to succeed in bringing up their children. If you’re unsure of how to go about doing this, then contact us today in Tampa.

The Four Styles of Parenting

One book I suggest to pick up is How to Raise an Adult – Break Free of the OverParenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, written by Julie Lythcott-Haims. She also has an amazing TED Talk online that you might enjoy.

At some point, many parents have wanted a manual or instructions to help raise their children. Click To Tweet

In her book, she describes the four styles of parenting by Diana Baumrind developed in 1967. They were slightly modified in 1983, but for the most part, we still use them today.

  • Authoritarian – This type of parent is demanding. They expect compliance without explanation. There is a “Because I’m the mom, that’s why…” type of thinking. With this type of parenting, there are strict rules, and when they’re broken, the child will be punished. The child has little freedom outside the home and gets very little input on how to manage his or her life.
  • Permissive/Indulgent – This type of parent makes few or no demands of their children at all. They place low expectations (rules) and in most cases, take care of every need. The child has no need to think or act on his or her own. Children of permissive or indulgent parents are rarely disciplined, and the parent works harder at being a friend than they do a parent.
  • “Neglectful” or the “Uninvolved” – This type of parent has few expectations and pays little attention to his or her child. They may have limited interaction with their kids and may sometimes be so caught up in their own “stuff” that they hardly even communicate with their children. This type of parent will (hopefully) meet the basic needs of the child when it comes to food and shelter, but not much else. In some extreme cases, even these most basic needs are not met.
  • “Authoritative” – These parents set healthy guidelines and rules for their children. They pay attention to their kids, are helpful, but don’t “do life” for them. They listen and answer questions to teach and guide their children on how to make sound decisions. The authoritative parent allows the child the room they need to succeed and fail as they are growing up on the path to becoming a socially responsible and resilient adult.

Which is Best?

Which parenting style is most suitable to raising a self-sufficient, psychologically healthy contributing member of society? It’s not about strict rules and inflexibly high expectations; it’s about healthy expectations, communication and unconditional love. It’s the balance of expectations, attention and communication that gives your child the right environment to grow up to be a true adult.

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I always say that the key to life is moderation and I am a strong believer in sensible flexibility, and parenting is no exception. Here’s a tip that can help you become an authoritative parent:

  • Create expectations (rules or guidelines) for your children that will matter in the long run. For example, being kind to other people, being truthful, putting forth a high level of effort in school and pitching in around the house all set the tone for growing up to be a responsible adult. When expectations are not met, sometimes life will offer “natural” consequences, such as other people being unkind in return, not being believed, not being allowed to participate in a reward day at school, etc.

At other times, parents will need to figure out their own consequences. Whenever possible, try to use logical and natural consequences, which means that there should ideally be some connection between a child’s misdeed and what happens afterward.

For instance, if a child refuses to pitch in at home by not bringing his or her laundry down (not due to being somehow unable), perhaps a sports uniform will not be clean for their next game. That would be disappointing on many levels but may make it more likely that the clothing will get to the laundry room next time. From there, I encourage parents to show some empathy to their disappointed child by saying in a sincere, non-sarcastic way, “It’s too bad that your uniform isn’t clean for today. Make sure it’s clean in time for your next game by getting it to the laundry in plenty of time.”

Communication is Key

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Use communication styles with your child to create a dialogue that includes teaching and growing. That doesn’t mean, however, making your home into a game show like Let’s Make a Deal. Beware of bartering with your child to get them to do what they are supposed to do. Simply listen to what he/she has to say and help them better understand the ‘how comes’ of life. Stay away from the “Because I said so” responses. Make the moment a teachable one.

Increase Their Level of Responsibility

With each passing year, your child can take increasing responsibility for themselves. As young as preschool, you can begin to teach them how to manage their life in ways that don’t include you telling them what they need to do every second of the day. The youngest kids can be picking out their clothes (with parental approval) and pouring their cereal. Elementary kids can learn to use an alarm clock and be responsible for their morning routines, such as remembering to brush their teeth and hair, and helping to pack their lunch. Create these expectations so your child starts to learn them on his or her own.

(Please note: if your child has a learning disability or a physically or neurodevelopmental disability, this may be easier said than done. These kids will need much more support by way of checklists, reminders and even physical assistance.)

When your children are young, it is expected for you to manage their day-to-day activities. However, as they start to grow older, change expectations to include daily activities that they can manage on their own as they move toward adulthood. These activities can include going to the grocery store, managing their school and/or sports schedules, helping make dinner one night a week and lending a hand with laundry.

With each passing year, your child can take increasing responsibility for themselves. Click To Tweet

Helping You Become Stronger Parents

Being a parent is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences anyone will go through. Rice Psychology Group in Tampa can help parents who are finding it difficult to discipline or make life a more teachable experience for their children. Our licensed psychologists invite you to sit down with us in a non-judgmental environment so we can work on making you a stronger parent. Get in touch with us today to start the process.

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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