There are three types of parents in my opinion.
Those who want to control their children.
Those who want to be equal with their children.
Those who want to be best buddies with their children.
I strive to be a parent who is equal to their children. By this I mean, giving my children the power to make their own decisions. To treat them as an individual, not as someone who is lesser than me, or someone who is ‘under my control’.
Parents who want to control their children will quite often be heard telling their children what they can and can’t do. They’ll often use lines such as ‘because I’m your mum/dad, that’s why’ or ‘I’m your mum/dad and you’ll do as I say’ etc.
Parents who want to be equal with their children, as I try to be, will often be heard asking for their children’s opinions on decisions such as what they want to wear, dress or do that day etc. Instead of giving orders such as ‘you’ll do this because I’m telling you too’, they’ll be heard saying, ‘can you help me cook dinner?’, ‘can you help me clean up’, ‘we can’t do that today because (insert reason here), but we can do it tomorrow if that’s ok?’ etc.
Parents who want to be their child’s best friend, often give in to their children’s needs no matter how trivial or demanding they may be. This often puts the child in a position of power, which can lead to problems later on when you try to encourage your child to do something or go somewhere they may not want to do/go.
You see, to me, it’s all about compromise. About teaching your children that they’re equal to you. I really dislike the idea of parents being the ‘ones in charge’ and ‘children doing as the parent says’.
By involving your children in these decisions, you’re not only treating them as an equal, but you’re also showing them that you trust them and their decision. This not only gives them confidence and makes them feel involved, it can also help with their social and decision making skills.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What kind of parent are you?