Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Are You, Were you, Will You Be, a “Bubble Wrap” or Invisible Parent?

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

I meet with many parents over the course of my practice. Some of these parents have babies and youngsters, others have teens, and some have adult children.  All of these parents have concerns.  Some are looking for consulting education on raising children so that they can be the best parents possible. Others want advice and remediation because their children, of whatever age, are not functioning as well as they should be at a particular developmental stage.

Parenting styles vary.  They vary over generations, economic classes, and diverse by way of race, religion, and culture. Balance in appropriate parenting is not easy to come by. Most people only know one way, the way they were raised. This model usually is followed or something very different is established.

TIME magazine recently presented a cover story on parenting.  The focus of the piece was on trying to “save” parents from “bubble wrapping” their children.  The “Bubble Wrap” kids are parented by “comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of moms and dads.”  Parents have become “so obsessed with their kids’ success that parenting has turned into a form of product development.”  The article cautions to “let go of perfectionism in all its tyranny. …The “harried life of the hovered child is stressful and causes anxiety and may contribute to depression.”

Over involved “bubble-wrapping” parents, also called “helicopter” parents, excessively hover, protect, invade, question, push, advise, and advocate.  They have trouble “letting go” in incremental ways as their child evolves toward maturity.  Oftentimes these same parents continue to be overly involved, including meddling, into their child’s life even when s/he is married and has children. Advice, criticism, unreasonable demand/expectations continue to invade the kids’ lives.

Having offices in north Atlanta and at Lake Oconee I have witnessed this phenomenon often by well intentioned parents who tend to go a bit overboard in raising their child(ren).  The good intention is admirable, but the parenting style may not be the best for a child in both the short and long term.

The other extreme from the over-involved hovering parents are the “Invisible” parents.  These people are rarely involved in their children’s lives.  The do not set up goals and expectations with reasonable positive and negative consequences.  They do not provide proper nurturance, structure, or consistency – the bedrock of effective parenting.

They do not talk to their children’s teachers, coaches, or counselors to be in the know of what is going on with their kids.  They are poor role models and mentors. They are all about their own lives, unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices and adjustments to be positively present to their children.

The intent of this blog, Respected Reader, is to ask you where you fit in with your particular parenting style.  What kind of parent are you respective to the particular age and stage of your child(ren). If your child is old enough to respond, you may well ask him or her what kind of parent you are or have been. I have done that and found it to be enlightening and impactful.

And remember: “THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILDREN IS TWO

PARENTS WHO LOVE EACH OTHER!”

What Kind of Parent Are/Were You? A Questionnaire for You and Your Kids

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Periodically students are given their report cards by the school system.  They are evaluated as to their achievement in various areas of the curriculum.  Some excel.   Others have not been as fortunate and have fallen short of the desired standard.  Reassessment is needed to steer a more successful course.

Just as students are evaluated on their performance, so, too, should parents.  Is the parent relationship with each other and with the kids as good as possible?  Parents are the leaders, the mentors, in the family.  Parents set the tone, establish the expectations, and evaluate accordingly.  It is appropriate for parents to be evaluated as well.  Perhaps, based on the information gathered, some reassessment and modification would be necessary.

The following questionnaires can be helpful in raising self awareness and engendering better communication within the family.  One questionnaire is for kids to evaluate parents and the other is for parents to rate themselves.  I have used these instruments in my practice and in workshop situations.  They have been effective in improving dialogue between parents, as well as parents with their kids.  Try to be as honest and objective as possible.  Help your child answer the questionnaire if needed.  Some of these questions may make you feel uncomfortable, but I assure you that they are relevant.

REPORT CARD FOR KIDS:  Circle the appropriate letter for Mom.  Put a square around the grade for Dad.

1.  Tells me regularly the he/she loves me.  A  B  C  D  F

2.  Respects me as a person.  A  B  C  D  F

3.  Understands my moods.  A  B  C  D  F

4.  Respects my privacy.   A  B  C  D  F

5.  Teaches me what I need to know.  A  B  C  D  F

6.  Listens to my problems. A  B  C  D  F

7.  Shares sexual information freely. A  B  C  D  F

8. Has a sense of humor. A  B  C  D  F

9.  Appreciates how hard I try at school. A  B  C  D  F

10.  Is consistent and fair with expectations and discipline. A  B  C  D  F

11.  Treats each child in the family fairly. A  B  C  D  F

12.  Accepts my friends. A  B  C  D  F

13.  Does not nag. A  B  C  D  F

14.  My parent’s marriage is a… A  B  C  D  F

15.  My dad shows love to my mother. A  B  C  D  F

16.  My mother shows love to my dad. A  B  C  D  F

17.  I am happy in this family. A  B  C  D  F

18.  I contribute my fair share in the family. A  B  C  D  F

19.  I show love to my parents. A  B  C  D  F

20.  I am being honest in this exercise. A  B  C  D  F

Things I wish were different in my family are….

FOR PARENTS:  For each item please grade yourself.  Mothers use a circle.  Dads use a square.

1.  I tell my child regularly that I love him/her. A  B  C  D  F

2.  I show respect for my child. A  B  C  D  F

3.  I am understanding of my child’s moods. A  B  C  D  F

4.  I respect my child’s privacy. A  B  C  D  F

5.  I teach my child what he/she needs to know. A  B  C  D  F

6.  I listen to my child’s problems. A  B  C  D  F

7.  I share sexual information freely with my child, appropriate to age. A  B  C  D  F

8.  I bring humor to the family. A  B  C  D  F

9.  I appreciate how hard my child works in school. A  B  C  D  F

10.  I accept my child’s friends . A  B  C  D  F

11.  I am consistent and fair with my expectations and discipline. A  B  C  D  F

12.  I treat each child in the family fairly. A  B  C  D  F

13.  I do not nag. A  B  C  D  F

14.  My marriage is a(n). A  B  C  D  F

15.  I show my love for my spouse. A  B  C  D  F

16.  My spouse shows his/her love for me. A  B  C  D  F

17.  I am happy in this family. A  B  C  D  F

18.  I contribute my fair share in this family. A  B  C  D  F

19.  My child experiences my love. A  B  C  D  F

20.  I am honest with these answers. A  B  C  D  F

Things I wish were different in our family:

What do the “REPORT CARDS” indicate?  Did you get further insight into the thoughts and feelings of various family members?  What are you going to do with that information?

Quality relationships between parents and kids are built on love, trust, respect, communication, consistency, and a willingness to adapt to the changing developmental needs of the family.  Your willingness to participate in an evaluative process indicates a desire to be the best parent you can be.  You can bet that this will have a positive pay-off for your children, personally and academically.  Your kids deserve your best efforts.