Authoritative Parenting Works

This is a good article, but the title is deceiving. The title implies that helicopter parenting helps kids achieve more: an implication I disagree with. I think the problem is that the author does not fully understand what helicopter parenting actually means.

The author describes ‘helicoptering’ as a parent who is very involved with their child, insisting on hard work and achievement and who structures their child’s whole day, leaving no downtime. But that is not what the term ‘helicopter parent’ in fact refers to. A helicopter parent is one who over protects their child and tries to eliminate all the bumps in the road. A helicopter parent jumps in too quickly to fix a difficult situation and tries too hard to avoid situations that would make their child uneasy or uncomfortable. The problem with helicopter parenting is that it prevents the child from learning how to cope with challenging situations and developing resiliency. Once they are away from the care of their parent, they can’t manage well on their own. It is like the phrase, use it or lose it. A child who does not learn to manage when times are rough while they are young, ends up kind of handicapped when they have to make the transition to adult life.

So why do I say it is a good article? The article is actually about the value of being involved with your child and using an authoritative approach to parenting rather than an authoritarian approach: two claims I totally agree with. The point is there are some very good ideas buried underneath the helicopter.

(1) Being involved speaks for itself. Children don’t do well if their parents are too detached or too permissive. Being involved gives children a feeling connection and that someone cares.

(2) Being authoritative means that the parent is confident, feels ‘in charge’ and recognizes that a child needs guidance and limits, but also respects the child’s autonomy so they leave some wiggle room.  By contrast, an authoritarian parent is controlling, demands obedience, tends to be more rigid and usually will resort to some type of aggression when a child does not cooperate as expected.  It is the authoritative parent’s sense of confidence and competence, that enable’s the parent to guide and set limits without resorting to coercion, hostility, or aggression. Underlying the authoritarian approach is usually a parent who has difficulty not being in control or difficulty with the child being a separate person, with their own perspective on the world. Reflective Parenting is designed to help parents be more authoritative and less authoritarian. We do this by helping parents to self-reflect and get in touch with the underlying reasons that are leading them to be over-controlling and hostile.

(3) Parents who work hard, care about doing well and try to achieve their best tend to raise children who do the same. The reason is uncertain. It could be they are good role models for children. Or it could be something genetic.

What I don’t like about this article: It is a one size fits all approach. Everyone is different. I believe parents would be wise to adjust their parenting approach to the needs of their child.

Interview with Regina Pally

Posted by: reflectivecommunities Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Reflective parenting

January
8

Regina Pally, Co-Director of CRC was interviewed by Agnes Regeczkey of the New Center for Psycho-analysis. In the interview (click here to watch), Dr. Pally talks about Center for Reflective Communities and about her book, The Reflective Parent: How to do less and relate more with your kids.

The interview is about 1 hour. Here are some of the topics it covers: What it means to be reflective and why it is important; Why we misunderstand each other so often and what we can do about it; How to reduce stress as a parent; The tools for building and maintaining a strong relationship with your child, so that you can be both comforting and empathic, but also be able to firmly set limits.

Free Range Parenting

I was asked by a news magazine called ‘In My Area News Room’ to write something about Free Range Parenting and whether we need it or not. I was delighted to do it because they were interested in my ideas about Reflective Parenting, In brief what I say is that Free Range Parenting has a lot of positive elements and that its goal of promoting independence and resiliency are good ones. However, the Free Range approach is limited both in how it deals with parents and its unbalanced focus on independence. It is judgmental of parents and ignores the value of dependency. Read More

Turn the Heat Down this Holiday

Beloved relatives you rarely see.  Long hours of travel spent for short social stints. Harried cooking and last-minute prepping. Starched shirts and three-inch heels. Expectations for this day to be special, to result ipicture-perfectct memories, to taste delicious.

All of these factors put heat on parents – pressure to perform for others and make Hallmark moments for their families. What will Uncle Roger think of my family? What will Grandma Irene think of my parenting? Read More

Reflective Parenting Helps When Your Best Intentions Backfire

Here is a common scenario that occurs in many families. Parents to try to have a discussion with their child about a topic that they assume will be helpful for the child. But the child balks at engaging in the discussion. The parents, feeling armed with good intentions try even harder to have the discussion, because as they say, “We are only trying to be helpful”. The parents end up being frustrated when the child continues to refuse to talk or listen. The topic differs in each family, but the underlying issue remains the same. Read More

Social Emotional Learning is the natural way for children to succeed

Social skills are what children need to succeed. That’s because social skills contain all the necessary elements that children require in order to regulate their behavior, have emotional well-being, achieve in school, and use later on to do well in the workplace. In a sense, social skills can be thought of as an ‘all-purpose’ learning tool. This idea is catching on in schools, in the form of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs. Read More

Chores are so good for children, it’s worth all the effort parents have to make to get their child to do them.

I realize the issue of chores for children is controversial. Some parents are in favor and some parents believe kids have more important things to do, such as homework and extracurricular activities. I come down on side of childhood chores because a growing body of research indicates just how beneficial they are for children. In fact, these benefits are exactly what Reflective Parenting aims to help parents provide for their child.

  • Having chores as a child leads to children who have greater success and better life skills in the long run
  • Children develop a healthy balance between achievement and caring about others
  • By being a part of the task of taking care of the household a child becomes aware of the needs of others
  • When children see themselves as necessary to the family, it fills that deep desire we all have to feel needed
  • Children who help with family chores have a greater sense of obligation and connectedness to their parents
  • This connection to parents enables them to deal better with life’s stressful moments

Read More

Children need more time to play. That means parents need to schedule them less.

Play is a natural way that children learn critical thinking, resilience, and social skills. Play also enhances creativity, problem solving and cooperation. The play can be with other children or with you the parent. But it must be ‘free’ play, meaning it is play where children have the chance to make things up as they go, and adults are not telling them what to do. There are so many different kinds of play: including rough and tumble physical play, outdoor running around play, playing with toys, such as blocks or pretend play. Any type will provide benefits, as long as the children are free to choose on their own what they want to do.According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “play is not frivolous.” Play teaches children the kinds of life skills we want them to have as adults: collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, decision-making, and leadership. Play even reduces stress and can help protect kids from growing up with toxic levels of stress due to poverty and other sources of childhood adversity. Read More

Teen Brain Growth Surges Can Help Explain Adolescent Behavior

Wondering why your teen is so emotional and risk-taking?
Your teenager is neither crazy nor stupid. No matter how emotional they are; No matter how much they seem to be making poor choices, there is a very good reason why teens are the way they are. It is not their fault or yours. It’s biology. Adolescence brings about a surge in brain growth. But the dilemma is that different brain areas grow at different rates. The novelty and fear region (Amygdala) and the reward region (Nucleus Accumbens), in the adolescent brain, mature earlier than the region involved in calming and self-control (Prefrontal cortex). Eventually, the Prefrontal Cortex does come on board, but it is a slowly occurring process that continues on into your child’s 20’s.

Teens can get really anxious as a result of their overactive amygdala
It is perfectly normal when in a new situation to have a bit of a fear response. That’s because the Amygdala gives a spurt of adrenaline when we are in unfamiliar circumstances; such as meeting a group of new people or going to a new place. Read More

Family Meals Promote Healthy Child Development

Parents and kids are super busy these days, making it particularly hard to have the time to eat meals together. However, evidence now shows that it is really worth putting in the effort to have more family meals. According to researchers at the University of Montreal, children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term benefits, physically, emotionally and socially. The family meal serves as a relationship-based learning environment for children. This research supports Reflective Parenting’s emphasis on the importance of the parent-child relationship.

I am very enthusiastic about family meals. However, I want to reassure you. Family meals are good. But family meals are not a should.  Reflective Parenting always emphasizes that there is never just one right way.  So, if family meals are simply not possible for you and your children, don’t panic. Read More