A recent feature in Yahoo News describes the four parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved) and explains why authoritative parenting (which is firm and kind) is the most effective for instilling discipline. In my experience, the authoritative style is indeed the most effective discipline style largely because it takes a healthy measure of confidence in yourself as the parent to be firm and kind when correcting your child.
Consider the secure motive ascribed to authoritative parenting style below:
- Authoritative parent– “My goal is to help my child learn how to behave.”
However if you are dealing with rebellious, withdrawn or self-harm behavior and your child seems to be more connected to the device than to you and the family, your confidence can be deeply shaken and then the temptation is great to revert to less effective styles of parenting which involve a deep-seated, fearful desire to control the child which shut down communication.
Consider the insecure motives ascribed to parenting styles below:
- Authoritarian– “My goal is to be in control of my child’s conduct.”
- Permissive – “My goal is to avoid conflict with my child.”
- Uninvolved – “My goal is to be removed from my child’s issues.”
What’s your goal?
In responding to rebellious or outrageous conduct, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved styles send a lack of confidence in your relationship with your child in the following ways:
Worry. We worry and we call it caring, when in fact worrying is negative goal setting and sends the signal that it is not safe to bring disappointing or shame-inspiring news. Kids are more likely to keep risky secrets, such as a bully situation, sexual exploitation or drug use that can lead to addiction.
Punish. We punish and call it disciplined. The truth is that discipline involves consequences that can be punishing in order to give a child an instructive experience to learn self-control. HOWEVER, when you enforce a consequence with anger and rage, the signal the child receives is “I am outcast”. And people who feel outcast are more likely to maintain in a rebellious or hostile dynamic with the authority figure: you.
Insisting on your opinion as the only understanding (and call it wisdom)
This is a big deal and can shut down communication and a keep a child feeling outcast. Consider that your opinion is always limited human understanding of a situation or a circumstance or a person and usually carries judgment which can be perceived by your child as hostile or shame inspiring. Wisdom, on the other hand, involves opening your mind to thoughts that are eternal, empower self and others, and transcend religious dogma so that you can first connect with your child as a fellow human being having a human experience. This means that you cannot know what is really happening with your child, until they choose to tell you about it. Insisting on your opinion assumes you are not interested in your child’s experience and perspective. And without engaging them to honestly (without judgment or condemnation in your heart) share what happened and what they are thinking about it, you are powerless to help your child correct him or herself.
On being in charge of yourself: Parent and child
When a child is lying, swearing, yelling, hiding in their room, unwilling to be without the device, etc., how can you as the parent assert your authority when she is not willing to comply? The reality is that your child is in charge of herself and the defiance is evidence that your child is not aware that they already have power, don’t realize it yet, and are giving into emotion. This truth is more evident today because mobile connectivity has inspired a power crisis for kids who are still learning how to deal with strong emotion hyped in their social networks on and offline. The pedophiles and commercial interests understand this truth. They engage youth online as if our children are in charge of themselves and then convince them to engage in risky and or shame-inspiring activities.
Furthermore, mobile connectivity introduces an intensified level of strong-willed behavior for youth. I call this the “smarty-pants syndrome” which comes from knowing too much about anxiety and depression, addictions, bullying and sexual exploitation, and also lacking wisdom to understand how that information applies to them personally. Whether your child is experiencing or witnessing these adult issues, the pain inspires shame and hiding and their anti-social behavior that says: “I am outcast.” You cannot know what your child is thinking or how their life is going unless they choose to tell you about it.
- To schedule parent training or private coaching on a healthy response to defiance and anti-social behavior contact Joanna.
- To learn more about becoming a trusted resource for a child struggling with behavioral health issues (addiction, anxiety, rebellion), check out: The Role of a Parent in Healing a Suffering Child: Insights About Love and Suffering in the Family.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
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Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.
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