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Oct 31, 2013

Healthy Living: What’s your Parenting Style?

Being a parent is easy, but being a good parent is a different proposition altogether. There is no manual and there are no bullet points to follow in sequence. While it’s not an exact science, there is help available to foster and enhance effective parenting. Psychologist Jenny Lovell offers parenting classes that are offered through the Ministry of Human Development Community and Parent Empowerment Programme or COMPAR program. Today Marleni Cuellar spoke to Lovell and found out a little more about different parenting styles.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

All parents need a little advice now and then. While, each child and parent will have their own unique relationship; there are similar patterns in parenting that can be identified.

 

Jenny Lovell, Mental Health Therapist/Psychologist

Jenny Lovell

“It comes all down to the parent and the way the parent is working on the child.  I would say most parents want to help to get their child through the different stages. They don’t understand it being stages but they want to help their children to succeed; they want their children to have better than they did. But a lot of times what they have and what they know can be improved upon.”

 

Psychologists have discovered convincing links between different parenting styles and the effect on a child’s development. When we talk about parenting, there are usually four main styles: The authoritarian, the authoritative, the laissez-faire & the non- involved.

 

Jenny Lovell

“There is the authoritarian parent. Just the word authoritarian, do as I say, don’t question.  I tell you jump you say how high.  Pretty much the child does what the parent says; it’s a very unhappy child, children who are going to very rebellious, because you’re not giving me opportunities to ask questions, opportunities to think. You can explain to child. It is very important that you have a dialogue with all children. There’s no manual yes, but have a dialogue with the child. The authoritative parent is involved with their children. They will come to school and find out how the child is doing; they will help with homework but they want the child to do the homework and they will correct it. Point out to child something’s wrong. Find out what they know and don’t know. They are involved. They accept their child and when I say accept, if the child comes home and says” I got into a fight today” they won’t say “why were you fighting? I told you not to fight.” That’s the authoritarian parent. No the authoritative parent will say “well what happened” they hear what happened and fight out what else the child could have done so that the child learns from the mistakes that they make. There is a lot of negotiation back and forth in the authoritative parent. It really is a great way to learn with kids because you teach them. These are skills that you learn for when they get older.”

 

Authoritarian parents may find their children to be more obedient but less happy. Authoritative parents on the other hand, their children tend to be happier and successful. The other two parenting styles are more hands-offish. The Laissez-Faire or permissive parent; has more of an “anything goes” type of approach. They often face children with poor school performance.  While, the uninvolved parents, well they’re simply – neglectful.

 

Jenny Lovell

“The other one is the one who is Laissez-Faire. This is the parent who is not negligent but they are pretty much just laid back. The child makes all the decisions or the parents ask the child what do you want to do?  They want to be friends with their kids. They say my teenage daughter is my best friend; they don’t want their child to be upset with them so they are friends with their children. But children, all children want limits. They want limits. The last one is the non involved parent. This is the parent who doesn’t care. This is the party girl, she has children but she locks them up in the house. We have parents who they play cards during the day and lock the kids in the house, sometimes they may find food sometimes they may let them out and tell them go find food and come back before I go out. No involvement and I mean no involvement. We call it neglect and that is child.”

 

Jenny stresses that the starting point of any good parent/child relationship is listening; open the lines of communication even when making family decisions. Also, setting boundaries; children not only need but also want limits.

 

Jenny Lovell

“We want to teach parents that it’s collaboration with the child. They are not little adults that you try to control; rather it’s talking to the child. let me just point out here – it is really important -  we want parents to understand that our children -  as  Kahlil Gibran says-  they are not really  our children, they are given to us for us to care for them and prepare them for adulthood on their own.”

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