What type of parent are you? Are you a helicopter parent? Or perhaps you’re a drill sergeant? In their book, Parenting With Love and Logic, Foster Cline and Jim Fay, describe two very different parenting styles. Read on to see which type of parent you might be, according to their definitions.
A helicopter parent thinks that love means rotating their lives around their children. These parents hover over their children and rescue them whenever a problem arises. You might be a helicopter parent if:
you are forever taking forgotten lunches, homework and permission slips to school,
are always rescuing your kids from jams they’ve gotten in,
you find yourself on a daily basis protecting your kids from something, usually something that could have been a well-needed learning experience.
Helicopter parents are always on guard waiting to swoop in and protect their child from teachers, playmates and other “hostile” elements they may encounter. While helicopter parents may feel that they are being loving parents by easing their child’s pathway into adulthood, the authors point out that their kids are generally ill-equipped to handle college, work or adult life. By hovering and bailing their kids out, they fail to prepare their kids to meet the challenges of the real world.
Drill Sergeant Parents
These parents feel that the more they bark orders and control their kids the better behaved their kids will turn out. Drill sergeant parents demand that their kids act right and are constantly telling the kids what to do. When they talk to their kids their words are often filled with putdowns and I-told-you-so’s. These parents are power hungry and feel that if their kids don’t do what they want them to do, they will make them do it.
Like the kids of helicopter parents, these kids may also have trouble in the real world. The reason? They have been told what to do and never had to make a decision on their own.
Both parents styles send negative messages to the kids. The helicopter parent sends the message that their kids are fragile and can’t make it without them, while the drill sergeant parent sends the message that their kids can’t think for themselves.
One of the successful keys to raising good kids is responsibility. But the authors point out that responsibility cannot be taught, it must be caught. They claim the most responsible kids come from families who never use the word responsibility. What we have to do as parents is offer our kids opportunities to be responsible. We have to not spend so much time reminding kids to be responsible or worrying that they won’t be. Successful parents help their kids solve their own problems while still being sympathetic. Children who are responsible also have more self-esteem and self-confidence and are “better able to make it once the parental ties are cut.”
The authors also use a great analogy concerning the building of self-confidence in children. They say it’s like building a three-legged table. How? In part two I’ll tell you.
Read more about this topic in the follow up article Parenting with Love and Logic Part II.