Dec 14, 2011

Parenting Personas

First I should probably mention that I understand parenting is an ongoing battle.  I know that I will get a lot of "how would you know, you're not a parent" backlash--even if no one says that.  Let me tell you that while I don't have children I do parent. Daily.  Other peoples children.  The parents I know in my personal life are rarely like the parents I'm listing.  The system is a mess, we all know that--those using it for services, those providing services, those dividing services up, etc.  And it will never be a perfect system--there will always be some fool who has to go and ruin it for those who deserve it.   Although there are always exceptions for reasons children come into care, I feel most commonly it starts with one of (or a combination of) three parenting groups:

1) The "never had parents" or "my parents did it and I turned out alright" parent:  Fairly self explanatory.  Either they had parents who taught them ineffective ways to parent (ie violence, screaming, degrading, etc) or they never learned appropriate parenting because they didn't have parents around/parented themselves/moved out early/got pregnant young.

2) The "i'm too busy being friends to parent" parent:  This type of parent often bribes their children to do what they need, often resulting in a kid with respect issues/little work ethic/etc.   I get it, teenagers can be mouth--they are competing with their friends that have tons of cool things.. teach your child the value of the things they're requesting.  REWARD good behavior, not bad behavior.  It's called partial reinforcement. It's like the kid at the checkout who throws a fit for a candy bar.  You know he doesn't deserve that candy bar. 9 out of the 10 times you've refused the candy bar--but the tenth time your sisters friend/pastor/guy in uniform who's cute is looking at your child on the floor flailing, and you give in.  Your child will always remember that one time.  This works when you let them "out of a punishment" too.  Your child will learn to respect your authority. I promise.  If you're consistent, anyway.

3) The "dependent on the system don't know how to stop" parent:   This parent had some sort of life event where they started using services ... or maybe they came from a family who used services.  They become dependent on the system to provide for their medical, housing, food, child support, etc.  They have no way out of this sort of cycle.  These are the parents who rarely bring activities/snacks/etc to a visit, anticipating that service providers will in fact plan activities for them.   These parents often have a hard time having a conversation with their youth (during a supervised visit for example) because they rarely communicated effectively before the incident, let alone now.

I don't know whether I'll ever have my own kids--I think life has already blessed me with touching the lives of children daily, but even more it has blessed me with allowing them to touch my life.  They teach me daily about myself, about life, about resilience, about truthfully loving someone no matter what.    I am blessed with awesome parents in my personal life, with awesome kids.  They take time to really know their child.  The best thing you can give your child is knowledge, open communication, and the reassurance that you love them--even during the tough times.

Thanks for letting me rant <3

1 comment:

  1. Oooh Amanda, you are a great parent to those kids, I myself have a child, and everything you said about the whole good behavior bad behavior is definitely true. People are so worried about who is staring, and just want their kid to stop crying so they give them what they want and it annoys me. My child opened a candy bar in walmart, and I got so mad. I took it from her, paid for it, and stuck it in my pocket and she never got it. I wasnt going to leave it there since it was open, but my child definitely wasnt getting it, she didnt deserve it..She screamed and threw a fit, but I did NOT care I wanted her to know what she did was wrong...One time we were out eating, and she wanted to get down and run around and I said no, she started flipping out, I took her out to the car buckled her in her carseat and let her scream and cry and get it all out of her system we didnt go back in until she was done.