My daughter has taken to me like Prince Harry because of my parenting style and voiced every grievance of the last 20 years of her life
It’s January, a time of year for rebirth, new beginnings and a good dose of introspection and self-loathing.
We feel like big, bloated pigs who can’t manage our money or our children. So what better time to rethink our parenting skills? I don’t mean finding out if you’re a good parent or a bad parent – nothing as complex as parenting can be judged in such a binary way, unless you’re judging other people’s parenting and then it’s really simple – but what style of parenting you employ.
In the pillar theory of developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, there are three archetypal parenting styles—authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Two other researchers, Macoby and Martin, expanded this to four by adding uninvolved or neglectful parenting.
Decisive are the fixed boundaries, the high standards; as might be expected, the strict are authoritarian; Permissive parents are the free-ranging laissez-faire parents, and the unconcerned, neglectful ones are the hitters.
I like to think that I’m a mix of everyone – sometimes I’m very involved and supportive, sometimes I’m very rigid and strict, sometimes I’m very liberal, and other times, like the Wanderer Lacey, I want to pack my bags and go through a few decades the streets until the children are grown. In perusing the qualities that make up the four classifications, it is difficult not to be guided by prejudice; As critical as we are of our parenting abilities, I think we all secretly think/hope we’re doing okay.
Luckily, there are plenty of click-through, multiple-choice tests on the internet that will tell you exactly what type of parent you are (all with the usual disclaimers about how inaccurate and unscientific they are).
It’s a bit like those funny trivia questions in magazines that tell you what Brookside character you are only to find out you are Trevor Jordache.
Soul-searching about my parenting style has been fueled not entirely by the late nights this time of year, but also by my daughter, who is taking an early childhood development module in college, telling me with clinical precision just how bad a parent I am.
I was faced with accusations by a coroner’s court that I was being too strict, not being strict enough, falling miles behind other more progressive parents, forcing her to come home earlier than other kids, not getting a phone at right age, and giving her a lifelong distrust of pies by forcing them to eat my awful shepherd’s pie.
She lashed out at me full of Prince Harry and voiced every grievance of the last 20 years of her life. But that’s okay – I remember being her age and thinking my parents got it all wrong, that they failed in a big way. I remember the kids I knew whose parents were super easygoing, who let their kids smoke and drink from about 14, the kids I was incredibly jealous of as I went to mass every Sunday and confession once a month was taken away until I left home at 6pm.
Three decades later you have a better understanding of your parents and what they were trying to do; how what you considered terrible mistakes then are actions you appreciate now, and how you do more or less the same things with your children now because, in your experience, it’s the right thing to do. But you still worry that you are making mistakes and that those mistakes will cast a long shadow over your children’s lives.
I worry that I’m being too laissez faire, that the fear of crossing the line from encouraging to urging means I’m too distant. Various 20-question quizzes online tell me that I’m fine, that I’m going along with the authoritative style, a kind of Goldilocks approach – not too strict, not too relaxed, but hopefully just right. But you just don’t know, and you may never know, because the only people who can really judge my upbringing, whatever style, will be my children, and possibly only if they are parents themselves and I am long gone am more.
Hopefully they’ll wait until that day before they release their memoir and talk to Oprah about what a lousy childhood they had.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/my-daughter-has-gone-full-prince-harry-on-me-over-my-parenting-style-airing-every-grievance-of-the-last-20-years-of-her-life-42277104.html My daughter has taken to me like Prince Harry because of my parenting style and voiced every grievance of the last 20 years of her life