Redesigning Your Role as a Parent
Research completed at the University of Minnesota by Ruth Thomas, Ph.D., and Betty Cooke, Ph.D., has found that the most effective parents, those I call emotion coaches, are:
They pick up the cues of their children and sense how they are feeling. They listen and empathize.
They respond in ways that fit their child's cues. If the child is frightened, they comfort him. If he's intense, they calm him. But they don't excuse disrespectful behavior. Their limits are clear and enforced.
There is give-and-take in the relationship. The parent respects the child's emotions and teaches him to consider thoughtfully the emotions of others.
Supportive and encouraging
They understand that learning to manage one's emotions takes time and effort. They support and encourage their child as he practices.
These actions enhance children's development, foster a positive sense of self-esteem, and, most important, build healthy relationships.
The least effective parents, those I call the intimidators, are:
They miss the cues of their children or misinterpret them.
They do not respond to their children's cues. Either they choose to ignore them or respond in ways that don't fit. What the child feels or needs doesn't matter. This parent might say something like, "I don't care if you're hot. I'm not, so leave your sweater on!"
Their actions are invasive. They talk too much, demand performances, invade the child's space, move too quickly, or hover over the child in a smothering way.
They tend to overpower rather than support their children.
Dr. Thomas and Dr. Cooke found that as a result of being raised by the least effective parents, the intimidators, the children suffer. Their development is slowed, their self-esteem is damaged, and they often become angry and hostile, refusing to cooperate with adults.
More on: Discipline Strategies
From the book KIDS, PARENTS, AND POWER STRUGGLES: Winning for a Lifetime by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, published by HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2000 by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. All rights reserved.
Buy the book at www.harpercollins.com.