Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where do you fit on the scale between helicopter and drill Sargent?

There are 3 basic types of parents.
The first is the helicopter

The helicopter hovers over the child making sure their every move is correct. She worries and fusses over everything they eat, what they say, how they treat others to the point of being fused into the relationship with her child in an unhealthy way. It is hard for the child to have a separate identity and blossom and grow as an individual. The child can become anxious and as a teen rebel against the hovering parent. Or they may wait until they leave home and then let 'er rip. Or they could just become a neurotic worried person themselves.

The second is the drill Sargent parent.

The drill Sargent believes her children should do what she says when she says. There should be no disagreement, no variance, no friction. Orders are snapped out and their is little affection. Directions are given concisely and the house is run like a ship by a captain.

Last is the parent who has landed some where safely in the middle of those two extremes. This parent gives loving guidance but allows the child to make mistakes. Making mistakes while they are at home gives them the chance to learn from them and grow. They feel free to be themselves while the parent models, talks with them about choices and gives sensible consequences when necessary. Love and affection are given freely, but there are safe boundaries in which the child should stay. These boundaries expand as the child shows the ability to make safe choices and matures. The child will sometimes fail as we all do. The parent's will sometimes fail as we all do. But forgiveness and restoration are practiced.

None of us are perfect. We all are a work in progress. We keep on keeping on.

15 comments:

Corey said...

Or the one that goes.. crap.. I knew I should have put a helmet on that kid...

;-)

Life's Mom said...

This has been the subject of much conversation in our house. My older, emotionally healthy kids usually make very good decisions. It is easy to sit back and let them "drive" so to speak. Even when they were young, it was easy to let go because they earned our trust regularly. I never reminded them to wear a jacket (or whatever). If they forgot their jacket, then they were cold and remembered to not do that again tomorrow. Natural consequences worked beautifully.

My number one question is how do I not over parent a child who has no cause and affect thinking? When she makes poor decisions, natural consequences escape her. If she were to forget her jacket, she could lay on the floor at school and scream. Get sent out of class, go to a special class where she is not disruptive and refuse to do any work because "you people keep it way too cold in this school." It would never once occur to her that she is the one who didn't wear a jacket. It is hard to not over parent and make for dang sure this child is dressed appropriately for today's expected temperature. Her coat is just an example, she is like this on just about anything. So the question is, how do you parent with "love and logic" to a child who is not logical and never sees themself at fault.

Brenda said...

Life's mom I think you have to parent them where they are at in emotional age, not physical age. If that is not a decision she can make that she shouldn't have to make it. It is a much tougher subject with RAD in the picture.

Corey~ LOL. Unfortunately I can relate to that too : )

Life's Mom said...

But then trained helplessness comes into play. She enjoys being needy. Plus her emotional age changes with her mood. If she is in a foul mood, she can go back to 4 years old, or on a really good day, she will act her physical age - 9. So I have to figure out where she is at the moment without letting myself be manipulated to help train her to be needy. The real question is "can't" or "won't." Another blogger (Claudia) wrote about this very topic today. If only we could always discern the difference between can't or won't.

Brenda said...

It is a biggy. But you are focusing on symptoms. The real issue is attachment. Focus on that and trying to connect with her during good and bad times. I think when acts 4 and you treat her like 4 that she needs to know that you understand she needs to be little right now but that also means she gets 4 yo privileges.

Life's Mom said...

That is a good point. She often wants to be 4 but have the privileges of a 17 year old. :)

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

Ain't that the truth!(RE: the last two comments.)

peggysue said...

Good comments. We have this issue too. DD lost her umbrella so last time it rained we both walked tot eh bus stop in the rain and stood there getting wet. Many moms at the bus stop tried to shelter her under their umbrellas and I kept politely but firmly pushing them away.

Consequences . . . my DH and I are having a hard time figuring out some of those right now, because as Life's Mom said, my older kids learned from tehir mistakes and often natural consequences were enough for them. I flicker between helicopter and drill sargeant because there are days I have to make her wear a jacket, make her wear a hat . . . as LIfe's mom said, being cold doesn't seem to translate to the next time she's cold . . . and I can't let her wander outside when its 42 degrees without a coat, she's done it and she gets sick. So that's no good.

And the system they're using at school to encourage good behavior doesn't seem to be working either, she doesn't seem to be motivated to stay on 'green.' vis a vis a green, yellow red system. If she doesn't care about staying on green light for good behavior, what am I supposed to do?

I don't even know if this at all relates to the topic of hte blog post, but its been on my chest and now its off. :)

Brenda said...

Bruce Perry had some research on children with RAD and their body temperature. I will have to search for it. The whole lack of being able to tell the body temperature is an actual brain problem. And no behavior charts do not work with RAD behavior at all.

Life's Mom said...

PeggySue - Life's principal told me "we have a behavioral managment plan in place. But we have just never had a child that it did not affect one bit." I almost had to snicker as he was telling me this. :)

But we have found that behavior charts do work for us, but ONLY when she is properly motivated. Today's is "you cannot go to the football game tonight if you don't have ...." on her school chart. (We are going to moderate behavior - not perfect.) She loves football Friday nights, so she will likely be cooperative with her teachers today. We just don't always have something immediate like that to negotiate with. A reward for next week does not work at all - it must be immediate.

Brenda - that is interesting about temperature. I have read a lot of Dr. Perry's info, but have not seen that yet. I would be very interested to read about it.

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