What Kind of Parent Are You?

authentic-parentingWhat Kind of Parent Are You?

by Dr. Marta


My parents didn’t show much encouragement for my interests. When my father worked with wood, he wouldn’t let me hammer nails. Neither parent indulged my love for horses, and they hardly ever attended my gymnastics events or field hockey games. I felt like they didn’t really know me.
I conceptualize three kinds of parents. Mine typified what I would call uninvolved. This type doesn’t spend much time talking or doing things with their children. The children stop expecting parental involvement in their lives. They can easily become discouraged and may suffer from emotional issues of abandonment and low self-esteem.

Another type of parent I call over-involved. They make decisions for a child based on pre-conceived notions of who and what they want that child to do and be. Regardless of his feelings, these parents pressure him into activities they choose. They force him into sports when he wants to play chess. They make her play the violin when she wants to play drums. They hush their loud, social extravert because they want a quiet, compliant introvert. These parents don’t allow their child’s worldview to differ from their own. They make little effort to understand life from the child’s point of view.

The third type, the supportively involved parents, delight in their children’s strengths and interests. They exhibit these distinct characteristics:
Supportively involved parents hold an attitude of appreciation and wonder at their children’s evolving personalities and talents. They see how the path toward success for their children lies in encouraging them to follow their heart. They make them feel cherished and appreciated for who they are, independent from their performance in school, sports, music, etc. These parents allow Life to live their children, knowing that happiness and fulfillment, as well as financial success, are likely to come through doing what they love.

Supportively involved parents respect their children’s emotions. They connect through listening deeply and non-judgmentally to the child’s feelings. They celebrate achievements and give encouragement when the child fails. Instead of sheltering them from emotional pain, supportive parents allow their children to learn from anger, sadness, etc., offering love and support as the child works through her emotions.

These parents support their children through their physical presence. Through attending events and helping them gain mastery in a skill the child wants to learn, they show support by being there. Parents’ physical presence provides an underpinning of support and security as the child experiences the highs and lows of life. Susan Stiffelman, in Parenting Without Power Struggles, wrote about an important kind of physical presence and support: joyful and authentic children catch glimpses of their mother or father looking at them with wonder and love just because they exist.

When you celebrate and marvel at their uniqueness, you bestow on your children the greatest gift you could possibly give.

Dr. Marta practices in the Verde Valley of Arizona as a Life Coach in Communication & Spiritual Consciousness. She coaches individuals, couples and parents to be more awake and aware. Email: drmartacoach@gmail.com, phone: 928-451-9482.

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