Posts Tagged love

Bill Mitcham: Three models of parenting – dictator, wet clay, and authoritative teacher

June 10, 2009

There are three models the generations of the past have used to tackle the task of parenting.

The fist model, perhaps the traditional model, could be labeled “the dictator style“. This model promotes using parental power to “mould” children into shape, like a drill sergeant at a military training site. By the use of raw power or rewards, these “dictator parents” punish, threaten and many times use physical force on children. This may be slaps, punches or the use of belts and switches. Since parents are bigger than children, it is easy to overpower a child. Rewards are also used by dictator types. Since parents have access to money and goods, they attempt to bribe children into compliant behavior to get a reward for “good behavior.” This model can appear to work since the threat of being harmed, embarrassed or being yelled at forces children into fear and following orders.

Children raised by dictator parents tend to grow up as fearful, overly submissive, low-esteemed adults. The other response is to retaliate against parents as they get older and bigger, sometime becoming unmanageable when children strike back, using their power against their parents. These children feel unloved and rejected.

A second model could be called “the wet clay parents“. These are parents with no backbone — like wet clay, they can be molded and shaped by their children. These parents usually have little self- esteem themselves and desperately want their children to like and love them. They do everything they can to win their children’s favor. Permissiveness is the mode of operation and if the parents make a rule or express expectations for a child, the child gets angry, pitches a tantrum and the parents cave in and let the child do whatever the child wants to do. These children can become tyrants and dictators. As the kids get older and stronger, their parents may live in fear in their own home, like captives.

Children of wet clay parents often grow up selfish, uncooperative and demanding in all their relationships. They, too, feel unloved because there is no love in the parents who are victims. Parents feel no love but feel tons of resentment. When these children grow up, they can become violent to their spouses and children.

The third model, we will call “authoritative teacher style“. This is the parent who assumes parental power and uses her/his authority to set boundaries and expectations and models values that promote cooperation and shared power with children. Like a good teacher, the children know the parent is in charge, but is there to teach them, not to threaten or please them. Good teachers develop influential relationships with their students and set high standards and strict expectations. Authoritative parents do the same. When there is a problem, the authoritative parent sits down with the child and explores choices, allowing the child to express her or his thoughts and feelings, knowing that the parents have the final word. This model aims at mutual respect. Both the power of the parent and the child is utilized in the problem solving process.

Children of the authoritative teacher model grow up feeling loved, respected, have high self regard, and learn to be cooperative and respectful with others. This is a recipe for adult success.

Dr Bill Mitcham is the Director of The Marriage Maintenance Center in Davidson, North Carolina, USA.

From the mailbag 1

May 24, 2009

There is steady flow of incoming messages here at The Yes Vote headquarters. We are stoked by the support, mainly by people working at the coal face – Early Childhood Educators and people who work dealing with the consequences of family violence.  We’re also bemused by messages from some members of the lobby of people wanting to regain their right to hit their kids in the guise of correcting their behaviour.  We respect these people’s right to an alternative view, but reject the anger and misguided disregard for New Zealand’s awful record of child abuse and murder. Thankfully the love-to-hate ratio is very high, which reinforces our basic faith in humanity, and that the power of love and nurturing is much greater than the power of hate and violence.

Here is a sample of some of the messages:

I believe no person should be able to physically abuse a child, a smack of any type is not okay.  Child abuse in NZ is appalling, our children have rights and should be treated with respect.  Violence breeds violence.

I strongly support the no smacking legislation and  as a third year early childhood teaching student I will strongly enforce the ideals in my teaching practice.

We value the rights of each child to live free from all forms of violence.

I have always supported the deletion of Section 59 from the Crimes Act so that it cannot be used as a defence of “reasonable force” after using violence against a child. Assaulting an adult is not allowed by law, so why should it be legal to assault a small defenceless child? There are better ways of bringing up a child to be a peaceful and responsible citizen than hitting it.

We fully support existing legislation and believe that the Police are using thier discretion regarding the law appropriately. We believe that the law is helping to change behaviour about hwat is acceptable child rearing pracitce in terms of the use of physical violence.

We support the new law, and totally support the principle that every child has the right to be safe from violence. To return to the pre-2007 law would be a step backwards for New Zealand.

Thank you for your support, it means a lot to us!

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Parenting Tip: Love and warmth works wonders with kids

May 23, 2009

Love and warmth works wonders with kids.

Like all of us, kids naturally want to please those who love them.  Managing behaviour of children becomes lots less of an issue when the general feel in the home is one of love and warmth.

Of course we don’t get it right all the time and sometimes it’s right to be negative, but sincere praise and encouragement far outweigh any negative remarks. Aim for a split of around 6-8 positives to offset a single negative.

Children who know they have their parents’ support and love are much more keen to please them with their behaviour – they want to get it right.

Thanks to S.K.I.P. for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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