Jul 31 , 2020
One of the leading causes of stress in the home is disagreements between parents and their children. I’m sure all of you had either said it or heard it from your parents the phrase “it’s my way or the highway”. Normally parents say this out of pure frustration. However, suggesting to your children ultimatums may end the argument, but no one will be happy with the ending. I’m going to show you how you can avoid these situations by being a flexible parent!
There are parenting experts who loosely classify parents into three broad categories: authoritarian, permissive and flexible.
An authoritarian parent sets the rules and boundaries and stays rigid with them. Although this adds structure, too much, can turn you into something of a dictator, leaving no participation in the decision-making process.
A permissive parent sets few rules and boundaries. This is not good either, as your child will need you as the parent to help them know the difference from right and wrong. Rules and boundaries are the tools in helping your child to make decisions and understand the consequences of them.
A flexible parent sets rules but is more flexible with them. Being flexible means, in part, being able to adjust to new circumstances. I like to call it going with the flow. With every new baby comes new circumstances and experiences, and every baby will react differently to the same situation, For example, you won’t know how your baby will behave in a restaurant until you experience it, and you can’t always assume his/her behavior will always be the same.You can also apply that to eating at home as well. One day your baby likes the strained carrots, the next day he doesn’t. You want him to have a vegetable, (rule) but he/she is not cooperating with you. What do you do?
An authoritarian parent would force the baby to eat the strained carrots, causing the baby to cry and turning what was once a quiet home into a stressful environment for both baby, parent and anyone else in the house. A permissive parent may just allow it and skip the vegetable all together. Sometimes when one is tired it is easier to just give in, but that is not good either as you want your baby to have a vegetable during the meal.
A flexible parent allows for a measure of flexibility within the rules and offers an alternative. In the above example, acting like a flexible parent, you would offer your baby a choice of vegetables, giving he/she the opportunity to decide. Now the rule has been followed by operating as a team!
Right from the start, even as a baby, your child seeks a measure of independence. You’ll see this very early on. But your baby also needs security, structure and a routine. Again, as a flexible parent, you can offer the best of both worlds, allowing your child to grow, explore and discover within the appropriate boundaries you set. When you’re a flexible parent, your child knows that she or he has a voice, and this is vital for your child’s self-confidence, even very early in life.
So, the next time you have a circumstance or a situation, where you are getting resistance to your rules, try the flexible approach. You may be happily surprised at the outcome, resulting you and your family being less stressed, and therefore have a happier home!