This is a revised version of my guest post at everythingisedible
Parenting Styles – Just do what you feel is right
Becoming a parent changes your life
in many ways, that there really is no genuine preparation we can do. If only we knew how sleep deprived and exhausted we would be, then maybe sleeping lots and lots prior and having a storing extra sleep button in our brains that we switch on once we become parents. Yes, there are many books on parenting so we can read about it, and experts and opinions. Yet until you are living in the world of parenthood, nothing can fully prepare you 100 % for the ups and the downs and the emotional ride we experience once we become a parent. As parents and especially mothers we are also constantly bombarded with what we should be doing, how we should be doing it and how often we should do it and what style of parenting is the best and right way. These are just some parenting styles
Prior to becoming a mother and as a teacher and even now through my behavioural studies, research and work, I have possibly read what feels like every book out there on parenting and child behaviour, on my book shelf alone there are over fifty books on this topic, not counting the pile by my bed, the dining table and yes the bathroom too.
What have I learnt from all these books ? What have I learnt from hours of studies and research ? Well fortunately I have learnt one important factor “There is no fool proof parenting style or technique, parenting is as individual as you are and as individual as your child.
I am sure we all as parents know this, but we do still search for the illusive answer, that does not exist in just one simple style or technique. There are different behavioral aids I use when I work with children and most of these are just visual aids, consisting of dodgy stick men drawings.
Parenting Styles – Don’t be confused
Parenting is an individual as you are and as unique as your child. There will be many days when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted beyond exhaustion, guilty, anxious and stressed and know this is totally normal this is parenting. Even the most perfect family imaginable feels this way at times. We all have moments which are great and downright rotten. We can have off days where everything is just too overwhelming and so can our children. What we experience as adults through our emotions our children experience too. Though children cannot exactly verbalise the emotion they are feeling.
As parents we are the biggest influence in your child’s life, we are helping create who they will be as an adult, that alone is a lot of pressure, but as long as there are more ups than downs, you are on the right path. Loving your child, with all your heart is what parenting is, being prepared to bring up your child to the best of your ability that is what parenting is. Yes there are battles along the way but there are also laughs, cuddles and precious moments that melt your heart.
Parenting Styles and Child Behaviour
Parenting styles and child behaviour are interlinked only in the way that there is no guaranteed style that works. Parenting styles are not the latest fashion on the catwalk ‘this is the newest style of parenting.’ Parenting is a continuous learning curve, we learn from our children and they learn from us.
Parents with more than one child, will admit that what worked for one child, does not work for the other due to different personalities, likes and dislikes, it is human nature. One child’s behaviour will thrive with a reward chart; another will not give two hoots about a reward chart. One child will eat whatever is served in front of them; another will refuse everything bar milk, cheese and pasta.
This is not dependant on your parenting style, this is a child exerting their choice and of course testing the world around them, imagine your child as a scientist and wanting to know everything right now.
This is what children do; children want to be independent, they want to know what everything does, they want to touch everything, they want to see what happens if they pour paint on the cat, shove a button up their nose and laugh hilariously at the words poo and fart. This is what being a child is.
The passion I have for children and how they see the world has always been with me, hence becoming a teacher and now as a child behaviour consultant, yet as a parent I still feel the exhaustion that parenting brings.
Parenting Styles: Do’s & Don’ts
Mums I know how hard its is to stop stressing and feeling guilty and some days are just like that, if you feel it don’t stress or feel guilty about feeling stressed or guilty - just go with it, it is a catch 22. It’s a mother’s emotional state it just comes with the mothering role.
- Don’t read too many parenting books; there is no parenting style that offers a guaranteed happy well -rounded child. Pick and choose what is right for you and your child. Go with your instinct, or throw your hands in the air and chase them round the garden, or have a glass of red.
- Don’t give your children very long explanations, they switch off. Children need to understand what you are saying at a level they can comprehend. Do not expect young children to internalize everything you say.
- Children respond amazingly well to visual aids: books, posters, drawings, and puppets.
- Parenting does have so many fantastic moments; try not to miss them, worrying because you have not folded the laundry.
- Children rarely do anything with thought-out intention or malice.
- Parents are as unique as their children. There is no style involved in teaching life skills and values: respect, trust and honesty. Throw in kindness and manners and love them to bits.
- Do not let the bad days make you feel like it’s the end of the world – it’s day that will pass and your children love you, you are their world. There is always tomorrow and what was a big issue today, is normally forgotten in a few days.
Parenting is becoming inundated with styles and techniques, adding yet more pressures to parenthood. Our parents and grandparents, parented their way, I certainly cannot remember seeing any parenting books on my mum’s bookshelf yet my parents, parented without any particular parenting style label or specific techniques, just good old traditional values,including respect, kindness and they taught me what was right and what was wrong.
“Parenting isn’t taught by reading books, parenting is taught through reading your child”
Or reading some fabulous mummy bloggers posts on parenting and keeping it real, some more here