Most parents feel lost and against the wall at least some time in the parenting experience. If you haven’t, ever, I would like to know the secret or you are drowning in denial. Parenting is a no-win by design. We humans can make crazy links, especially as children, to a side-long look from a parent, taken as a negative reaction to behavior and it may have not even been meant for the child! Our susceptibility to negative input can be balanced by love and communication.
Parenting styles can range in a continuum from laissez-faire to hyper-rigid. The totally laissez-faire parent will have concerns about lessening their child’s creativity, worry about confrontation if they themselves are of a passive nature, or sometimes are just hoping that benign neglect will turn out okay. On the other end, hyper-rigid parents believe that the control they have over their children will protect them from the outside world, worry about how others view them as parents and people, or are repeating a rule-bound upbringing they experienced. There are a myriad of styles that fall in between these two extremes driven by the parent’s experiences, culture, fashion and circumstance, to name just a few factors.
No matter what your parenting style, the one key factor in enhancing your child’s growth and your parenting experience are boundaries. Now, all you rigid folks are probably jumping up and down thinking I am confirming you are right! These boundaries have to be movable depending on situations. Now, the laissez-faire bunch is thinking “Yes!” When boundaries are set as “in general”, it means that for certain situations, limits are changed on the merit of the argument. It opens discussion about the situation by the child, especially in teens. When a “no” is given, explain why to the child and maybe point out when a “yes” would be appropriate. Is it always that simple? I’m going to go with the middle-of-the-road answer here, too! Sometimes.