What Subject Is Your Parenting?Posted: September 13, 2012
Schools across the nation are back into the swing of things. By now, most teachers and students have a handle on their daily routine, and they are beginning to optimize the school day for learning. When I think about being in school, I remember all the different subjects from which we drew to become our collective knowledge-math, science, literature, music, PE, and art. I find myself comparing these individual subjects to different parenting styles, and it makes me wonder, “Which subject am I?”
Am I a math parent? Do I add rewards when I’m pleased with my son, and subtract them when I’m displeased? Do I require a clear and straight result for each task my son performs? Two plus two certainly equals four, as does eating all your vegetables equals dessert. Do I count my blessings and add value to my children’s lives?
Am I a science parent? Do I make a hypothesis on the best ways to encourage my son and test the hypothesis repeatedly? It either becomes a household theory of success, or I take it back to the beginning with a new hypothesis. Is it about experimenting and trial and error? In the same way that modern science is constantly evolving and requiring fresh, innovative ways of thinking, such is the science of parenting. The successful theory of earning a sticker for going to the potty on time for a three-year-old no longer seems to hold up as significant for a five-year-old learning to get himself to bed on time. Stickers no longer work, so we must form a new hypothesis.
Am I a literature parent? Do I pour over the latest, trending parenting techniques through countless, credible sources? Do I read through articles, books, and parenting magazines, in search for the great classics of parenting, such as the importance of good ol’ quality time, or the more modern reading materials that support attachment parenting and “unschooling.” Do we choose our words wisely when speaking to our children, so that they, as our readers, can get the message that we are trying to convey?
Am I a music parent? Do I look for ways to help my child express his emotions with the words that we say and the rhythms of our body language? Do I hit high notes and low notes, and through dedicated practicing somehow come up with a wonderful harmony in our parent-child relationship?
Am I a PE parent? Am I parenting in a way that promotes healthy life choices, such as exercise and eating nutritiously? Do I parent in a way that we are always active and on the go? Am I competitive? Certainly, I want to be a “gold medal” parent, excelling in the sport of parenting.
Am I an art parent? Am I creative in my parenting style? Do I see parenting as both abstract and an opportunity for creative freedom? Do I see my child as a blank canvas, waiting to be given a brush and a dab of paint, letting him splash a bit of color here while I add a shade there, until the beautiful piece of art that we see before us is a unique, creative individual?
There are so many different parenting styles out there, that it can be overwhelming at times. Much like a child trying to learn about all of these subjects simultaneously in school, it can certainly be tough for us parents. And a bit confusing. I think you’ll agree with me that parenting is all of these subjects rolled into one, and there is no easy answer as to what works best for all parents or with all children. What I do know, is that parenting is a subject at which we can’t afford to fail, and that we are our children’s greatest teachers.
What is your parenting style?