In my previous blog article I suggested that parenting styles depend a lot on the language of parenting parents have been exposed to.
Beliefs etc also play an important role here.
'You can also reverse the order of causality here. I think that parents' intentions, their values and beliefs, determines how much they will respect their children, try to satisfy their needs, thus influencing t the kind of language they use.'
What is the relationship between beliefs and the language of parenting ?
Most parents share the same long term goals for their children - independent, caring, responsible, inquisitive, confident, happy, self –reliant, kind, thoughtful etc. The question is why parents adopt conditional and controlling strategies when they have negative effects on relationships, social and moral learning and intrinsic motivation. What is holding parents back?
Alfie Kohn talks about 4 ( overlapping ) categories - what we see and hear , what we believe ,what we feel and as a result of all those , what we fear.
What we hear and see - I call this the language of parenting that we pick up from our parents, how we were raised, their influence today calling on us to give children limits, boundaries and enforce them with firm discipline and consequences.
Most parenting books focus on how to get your kids to comply without you even asking them.
Doctors prescribe medication and tell you to treat the symptoms with behavior modification techniques.
The alternative to authoritarian parenting and punishments is called ' authoritative parenting – warm and loving with firm limits and boundaries. Dianne Baumrind has described 3 parenting styles – authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. Authoritarian and authoritative parenting is essentially the same ' doing to ' approach. Punishment is not so popular these days , so we use 'consequences' a nice euphemism for punishment , language which is more palatable, especially if they are natural or logical. 'Honey catches more flies than vinegar ' so use praise and rewards and not punishment.
' Doing to strategies are pretty easy and can be very effective in the short run in gaining compliance ( the negative impact in the long term – not do obvious )while ' working with children asks a lot from us.
Most parents believe they love their children unconditionally and behave towards them in a respectable way.
What about beliefs – how we regard children, their capabilities, and how they should be treated etc ?
'The immediate consequences , or surface appeal , of traditional approaches to raising children can explain a lot, as can the influence of people around us. But I think we also have to consider some widely shared beliefs and values that make people more rexeptive to those approaches. ' Alfie Kohn
The way I see it – what we hear and see provides us with the language of parents , our beliefs make us either comfortable or uncomfortable by how we parent.
Those parents who feel uncomfortable and then discover another language of parenting – collaborative problem solving, children do well if they can and not children do well if they want to , and children do well if their needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are met will be relieved and will embrace a different style of parenting.