Raising kids in today’s world is no easy task. From warnings about too much screen time and too many food additives, to the pressure to help your child succeed in school and on the sports field, parenting has become more challenging than ever.
Parents are employing specific strategies and coping skills to deal with the challenges of the modern world. And as a psychotherapist, I see four main types of parents in my office:
1. Relaxed Rulers
Relaxed rulers give kids plenty of freedom to explore and try new things. They let kids solve their own problems and they make it a priority to “let kids be kids.”
Relaxed rulers are the opposite of the stereotypical “helicopter parent.” They want their kids to play hard, have fun, and learn from the natural consequences of their own behavior.
While their laid-back approach is sure not to stifle a child’s development, children of relaxed rulers might not receive enough guidance and hands-on training. As a result, kids may not learn all the skills they need to become their best.
2. No-Nonsense Commanders
No-nonsense commanders make sure kids have plenty of structure and plenty of rules. They have high expectations and they make many demands.
They worry that today’s kids are ‘too soft.’ They hand out serious consequences when their kids get out of line in hopes it will teach them a valuable life lesson.
Since no-nonsense commanders emphasize obedience over everything else, kids don’t always internalize the message parents are sending. They may follow the rules to avoid getting in trouble, rather than strive to reach their greatest potential.
3. Eager Advocates
Whether it’s a teacher with an unfair grading process or a coach who speaks too harsh, eager advocates are quick to speak up for their kids. They want to ensure that their kids are treated with kindness and fairness and they aren’t afraid to voice their concerns when they think their kids are getting a raw deal.
Eager advocates have their kids’ best interest in mind. They often worry that without their help, their kids will be cheated, bullied, or taken advantage of in some way, shape, or form.
By stepping in at the first hint of trouble, eager advocates may prevent their kids from experiencing uncomfortable emotions or from struggling with certain hardships. When parents err on the overprotective side, kids may not learn the emotional skills and problem-solving skills they need to become successful adults.
4. Mentally Strong Leaders
Mentally trong leaders strive to create a balance between giving kids enough freedom while also offering plenty of guidance. They have high expectations but they support kids in their efforts to reach their goals.
Mentally strong leaders aren’t trying to toughen their kids up. They’re interested in helping them grow strong. They aren’t afraid to ask for help when they need it.
They also lead by example. They work on building their own mental strength so kids recognize that there is always room for improvement. And most importantly, they refuse to engage in the popular parenting habits that are robbing kids of mental strength.
How to Give Your Kids the Skills They Need for Life
From the way you discipline your children to the way you solve parenting problems, your choices could have a lifelong effect on your kids. Studies consistently show that your parenting style affects everything from your child’s grades to her physical and mental health.
Becoming a mentally strong parent is the key to helping your kids reach their greatest potential. Mentally strong parents raise mentally strong kids who have the skills they need to tackle the challenges of life.