Ever wonder whether your style of parenting is hurting or helping your kids?
I think most of us do. I do as a parent.
As part of our Starve the Monster (Battling Entitlement in You and Your Kids) series at Connexus, we’re going to dig into how kids develop an entitlement attitude. And sometimes, as parents, we make it worse.
Ted Cunningham, author of Trophy Child, identifies 7 styles of modern parenting that can have an adverse impact on kids:
1. The Vanity Parent
Vanity parents look to a child’s achievement to give them status in the world. Classic examples are a child’s academic or athletic performance. A vanity parent uses a child’s performance to embellish their own.
2. The Perfection Parent
The perfection can’t stand to see their child make a mistake. But it’s not really about the child, it’s about the parent’s need for their child to be perfect. A bad report card can easily become more about a parent’s disappointment than a child’s.
3. The Competitive Parent
The competitive parent can’t bear the thought of others thinking their family might have struggles. Carefully edited Facebook status updates, too-good-to-be-true Instagrams and a desire for their child to be ‘the best’ marks a competitive parent.
4. The ROI Parent
Some parents say all they want is a better Return On Investment (ROI). This kind of parent pushes their kids to complete something even when the child has no interest, heart, passion or gifting for it, simply to get the return on their investment. Perseverance is a virtue, but this style pushes past perseverance.
5. The Gifted Parent
The gifted parent is convinced their child is ‘gifted’ and a ‘great kid’, even when all the evidence points to deep trouble. Their son simply ‘got into the wrong crowd’ but is somehow still ‘special’ and ‘different’ from all the other kids. A tell tale sign is when the school, the police or others are always ‘wrong’ about their assessment of a child.
6. The Companion Parent
This companion parent is looking to befriend a child, not parent a child. Often this surfaces in a home with a lot of tension or after a break up, when a parent is looking for a friend and decides to find one in their child. Parents need to parent, and in that leadership comes a safety and security for a child or teen.
7. The Rescue Parent
The rescue parent fills in the gap between irresponsibility and consequences. Daughter didn’t do her homework? The parent does it. The room’s a mess? The parent will clean it up. Trouble at school? The parent will straighten the principal out. Child blows some money? No worries, the parent offers more.
And all along, the child or teen (or adult child) is insulated from cause and effect and from the natural consequences of their action. They will never learn the lessons they need to learn to function as an adult.
All of these approaches to parenting happens with great intentions. But the results actually harm a child. They don’t help. And before you think I’m judging, I struggle with a few of these on the list too. It’s a regular battle to give a child or teen what they need, not what you think they need.
And bottom line? Each of these approaches to parenting feeds into a child’s sense of entitlement.
Not sure church is for you? At Connexus, our vision is to be a church that unchurched people love to attend. We meet at the Galaxy Cinemas in Barrie and Orillia at 8:30 and 10:00 Sunday mornings. You’re more than welcome.
Hopefully this helps all of us parents do family better!