When practicing authoritative parenting as your parenting style of choice, the need for balance between it’s other two most common parenting styles, (authoritarian & permissive) becomes a challenge for parents. While listening to a trainer speak on the the topic of parenting, I heard her use a term from the classic movie Mary Poppins:
“A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down…”
As she quoted that line from the famous song and movie, I was struck that it truly describes what I am so desperately trying to point out to parents who want to try and find their way in parenting their children. If we took the song and broke it down, it would look like this:
1. The authoritarian parent would insist you take the medicine with no sugar. “Suck it up and choke the medicine down…”
2. The permissive parent would probably not make you take the medicine and would even allow you to substitute it with sugar. “But mom…I am feeling better and don’t need the medicine. Could I just have a spoonful of sugar instead?”
You see… authoritative parenting [http://www.authoritativeparenting.org] is truly that balance that we are looking for. “You have to take the medicine, but once you do, I’ll let you have a spoonful of sugar, to help get rid of the taste.”
It’s not based on being the hard-ass parent that many of us remember from our childhood (we all either had a parent in that role, or remember a friend’s parent who parented in that model) Likewise, it’s also not about giving in every time your child gets defensive about something.
Children need boundaries, rules and a parent who is there to parent and not be their friend. If you try practicing authoritative parenting, you’ll find the opportunities to work on a friendship of sorts…just based from a parent-child relationship!