Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Toward More Powerful Parenting

Traditional parenting focuses on fear and force to gain compliance for the purpose of controlling behavior in the present without regard to future repercussions. It leads to insecure parent-child relationships and children with low self esteem and shame who grow up to be angry adults who are more likely to use power and control with their children. By contrast, powerful parenting means effective parenting; real adults who are aware of themselves and their children in a way that results in long lasting life lessons and secure relationships with children who have healthy self esteem who become well rounded and effective parents themselves. Effective parenting splits the two parts of parenting in two. First, joining and attuning with a child in such a way that the child feels acknowledged and understood despite his/her behavior, mistake or success. Then, second, and only when necessary, and separated by time and space, the thoughful application of a teaching consequence that is commensurate with the mistake or lesson to be learned, a value added experience that builds self esteem and self efficacy. The second without the first will not be effective and can be damaging. The first, with or without the second, is essential to maintaining and improving the parent-child relationship and may teach as much.