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Should We Care About How We Parent?

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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Let’s face it. Parenting is no walk in the park, especially in today’s world, with concerns about things like GMO’s, too much screen time, and pressure to push your child to head of the pack at school and on the sports field. Parents make use of certain strategies in order to cope with and handle these and other concerns. And, in so doing, place themselves into four, fundamental categories. I’m sure you’ve seen all of them and maybe you’re one of them.

Authoritarian parenting

1. Head Honchos

Head Honchos provide lots of rules and structure. They emphasize obedience and set high standards. These parents dole out harsh punishment when their children misbehave, believing this will teach them important life lessons they won’t forget. Unfortunately, children don’t always understand these lessons, because the emphasis has been on obedience, above all else. Instead of being inspired to reach their greatest potential, these children may only follow the rules to stay out of trouble.


2. Excessive Supervisors

These parents are eager to speak up on behalf of their children, whether it is another parent who has said something critical, a coach who was too harsh, or a teacher who gave a low grade. If they think their child is getting a bad rap or in danger of some sort of distress, they aren’t shy about getting involved on his behalf. Excessive Supervisors feel the need to always be on top of things, making sure their children aren’t bullied, cheated, or exploited in some way. Motivated by good intentions, these parents will always step in at the first inkling of trouble and their children are shielded from discomfort and difficult emotions. As a result, they are not given the opportunity to practice dealing with these on their own. This can create some real social and problem-solving dysfunction that can follow children into their adulthoods.

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3. Laid-back Leaders

Laid-back Leaders abdicate much of their leadership to their children. They give them plenty of freedom to try things out on their own and solve their own problems. They are the opposite of the Excessive Supervisors. They believe in "kids being kids" and that children learn best from the natural consequences of their own behaviors. Although some aspects of this free-range type of parenting is very valuable to a child’s development, if taken too far, can leave children short-changed in the parent interaction and guidance department. They could come out on the other side of childhood lacking the support they needed to learn necessary skills.


4. Managing Mentors

Managing Mentors strike a balance between providing enough guidance and a good deal of freedom. They will have high expectations that are appropriate and reasonable and will provide encouragement and support if their children fall short. They aren’t expecting children to learn the hard way or to toughen up. Instead, they are focused on helping them grow strong, secure, and independent. Managing Mentors are always seeking self-improvement and leading by example. They send a strong message about the value of lifelong learning and always striving to be better.

Research consistently indicates that how we parent affects our children across the board… how they do in school, how they relate to other people, how they feel about themselves. It affects both their physical and mental health. By supporting and guiding children appropriately, sensitively, and intelligently, children have the best chance of a successful and productive adulthood, full of promise and potential.


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Debra Pierce is professor of Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Ivy Tech is the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college systems, serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Her professional background has always involved children, over the past 40 years, having been a primary grades teacher in the Chicago Public School system, a teacher of 3 and 4 year-olds in a NAEYC accredited preschool for 15 years, and a certified Parent Educator for the National Parents as Teachers Program.

Debra is a certified Professional Development Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition. She has taught CDA courses to high school career/tech dual credit juniors and seniors in preparation for earning their CDA credentials. She also conducts CDA train-the-trainer events across the country and develops and teaches online CDA courses for several states, is a frequent presenter at national and state early childhood conferences, and is a Master Trainer for the states of Minnesota and Arizona. She was also awarded the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award by the University of Texas.

Debra is active in her community, supporting children's literacy and is on the board of directors of First Book in Indianapolis. Debra is a contributing author for Hamilton County Family Magazine and Indy's Child in Indianapolis.
She loves spending time with her two grandsons, Indy, who is 7 and Radley, 3.

Debra has spent the last 16 years dedicated to the success of those pursuing the CDA credential and is the author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential, now in its third edition (Redleaf Press), the only publication of its kind. She hosts a website providing help and support to CDA candidates and those who train them at http://www.easycda.com
The comments and views expressed are not in collaboration or affiliation with The Council for Professional Recognition or Ivy Tech Community College.
Follow me on Twitter at /easycda

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Guest Thursday, 18 July 2019