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Which Way Does Your Parenting Pendulum Swing?

June 8, 2017

Not uncommon, people who were raised in homes marked by abusive behavior have made a vow to themselves to not behave similarly. Indeed they loathe even imagining themselves acting similarly.

Because of this, some parents actually swing their parenting pendulum too far in the other direction, afraid of being perceived as controlling if seeking to hold their children accountable to expectations.

As such they resort to begging and cajoling as a means to manage behavior only to have it ignored and defied by the child. As the begging and cajoling escalates against the child ignoring and defying, the parent then gets angry. Out of anger, the parent then lashes out and next feels shameful for actually engaging in the behavior they loathe.

This is a terrible conundrum for these very well-intentioned parents.

The challenge is to come to terms with a few things including;

  1. Being in control as the parent is not the same as being controlling. Of course you have to be in control, you are the parent and you must set expectations such as eating meals, bedtimes, cleanliness, homework, etc.;
  2. You cannot have your self-worth determined by the reaction of your child when being directive or establishing boundaries, limits and expectations. Many children will say the parent doesn’t love them, or are mean as a means to get out of a task or expectation. This is just their way of getting what they want and not a true reflection of how they feel about you;
  3. Your are not a bad person for losing it, you just need to learn more effective parenting strategies to effect compliance. Rather than begging or cajoling, there are many other ways to gain compliance to expectations and without having to negotiate everything;
  4. Compliance is not a dirty word; it just means that your kids listen. Just as when the teacher says, “get out your books”, there is no blame or shame connected with the directive and compliance is of course expected.

If you are struggling with managing a child’s behavior, please do seek help. It may be connected to your experience of how you were parented as a child, even though you may not realize it.

Counseling can uncover those hidden unrealized issues and teach new strategies to help you achieve your goal of being a great parent.

I help parents with this regularly.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

  1. Also, those traumatized unconsciously recreate their trauma. This seems not often recognized. Such sadly difficult issues, su much hurt passed from generation to generation.

  2. It seems since the 1970s many parents have opted not to do things they felt were not good for them. Sometimes we can go over the top in the other direction. Mostly, I think parents have come a long way. There, unfortunately, are still many situations and families where abuse occurs.

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