One thing that I think is really important for parents to do is to reflect on their views, values and personality to find out why they do what they do. Research has shown that parents parent the way their parents did, unless a conscious effort is made for change (and it can be done.) These tendencies are mixed with your individual personality traits and life experiences to make up your individual parenting style. So, I came across a parenting style quiz on line at this site http://quiz.ivillage.com/parenting/tests/parent.htm . It is not the most user friendly site as every time you move to a new page you get a pop up, but it does allow you to take the quiz on-line, it isn’t very long and it will give you your results immediately. So, here is what I got:
Your Parenting Style:
This parenting style is often described as the “no-nonsense workaholic” who is best at “emergency-mode parenting” and providing discipline where it is needed. Too often, however, strong-willed children eventually rebel against this parenting style if the parent doesn’t learn to balance expressive warmth with the authoritative discipline.
Your parenting style is highly driven and task oriented, as opposed to relationship-centered. Relationship-centered people tend to focus on nurturing and caring for others; authoritative people tend to be more focused on “getting things done.” Although your authoritative parenting style may not be the most popular style, it typically produces respect and obedience from your children, at least until they become teenagers. At that point, there is a good chance that they will find ways to avoid your control. As long as you are consistent in the way you discipline your children and as long as you maintain strong personal values, your children will model your self-discipline and persistence, thus benefiting from this rather rigid parenting style. This style might not produce the results you hope it will, however, if you do not find ways to outwardly express your loving and caring emotions. Remember that your children’s self-esteem comes not only from their self-discipline but also from feelings of significance, love and acceptance they receive from their parents.
I know my kids would not be real surprised about this revelation. They often accused me of being a control freak. The thing that is important here, is that knowing this about myself I have been able to, as a parent, try to use the strengths of this parenting style to my advantage, while trying to make up for my weaknesses. I had to learn to show more love and compassion for my kids, and learn to be a bit more flexible and spontaneous. I can’t say I was always successful in this, but knowing my particular style has helped. I used this strength to help develop the organizational methods that I outline in my book.
To offset my tendencies my husband and I used a different mindset about our children’s activities. While many parents have the mindset that they do not allow their children to do anything ‘unless it helps them’ we had the mindset that unless it hurt them, and was a reasonable, safe and supervised activity, we let them participate. as a result our children had a wide range of experiences while learning to thrive under an organized system. The organization gave them a sense of security because they knew our expectations and limits.