Beliefnet
Parenting on Purpose

Active Baby Raised Hands Up And SmilingAuthoritarian parenting is an easy trap for anyone to fall into. For many people, it’s how they were raised and so it comes naturally to them. Even when you have the intention of being different from your parents, you will often hear your parents’ words coming out of your mouth — the very words you swore you would never say.

The problem with this parenting style is that it can foster dependence and lack of self-confidence in your children. Even though you want your children to obey you when it’s crucial for their safety, your role as a parent is to raise your children to be their own beings and to think and act independently from you.

Parents must remember that their children are their own unique individuals. They will and should do some things quite differently from how you would have. They will also do some things exactly as you would have done at their age. That doesn’t always feel good to you, but you must recognize that your child will make mistakes. That is part of growing up.

You can’t prevent your son or daughter from making mistakes, nor should you try. Mistakes are how they learn and develop. How you and your children feel about the mistake is much more important than the mistake itself. If your children handle situations differently than you would have liked, consider how they feel about it. Are they proud of how they handled the problem? Would they choose another tack if given the chance?

By teaching your children to trust their Internal Guidance Systems, they will be better equipped to make fewer mistakes and will recognize mistakes when they happen. If they can recognize the mistakes, they will also know how to rectify the situation.

The important lesson for a parent is to accept when a child feels good about the decision that he or she made rather than trying to control every aspect of their lives. When you criticize their decision rather than strengthen their IGS, you will sow seeds of doubt in them over their ability to make decisions.

Keep in mind that what seems important to you may not be important to your son or daughter. Take a step back and rather than demanding they precisely fit a mold you have built for them, try to look at the situation from their perspective. Are their lives in danger? Are they endangering the lives of others? If not, then perhaps they are figuring out their own path in life, which may be very different from your own.

When you have taught your children to listen to their own Internal Guidance Systems, you can break the habit of telling them what to do. Instead, you can allow them to develop into the unique, independent people they are meant to be.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

 

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