- Lauren Dungy
- Shaunti Feldhahn
- Tim and Darcy Kimmel
- Betsy Landers
- Dr. Walt Larimore
- Mark Merrill
- Joanne Miller
- Dr. Gary J. Oliver
- Kathy Peel
- Dr. Greg Smalley
- Dr. Scott Turansky
- Jill Savage
Articles by Dr. Greg Smalley
- Winning Your Husband Back
- Why Teenagers Like to Argue
- Ways to Communicate Effectively
- Watch What You Say or Later You’ll Pay
- The Secret To Protecting Your Marriage From Infidelity
- The Secret to Becoming a Balanced Parent
- The Meaning of Leaving and Cleaving
- The Heart of Marriage
- The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Children is a Strong Marriage
- The Danger of Negative Expectations
- Talking Through the Touchy Subjects
- Six Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child
- Six Adolescent Needs….Meet Them or Else!
- Protecting Fun Activities from Conflict
- Men and Intimacy
- Is Your Heart Open to Love?
- I Wish My Daddy Was A Dog
- I Feel Loved When You...
- I Don't Love My Husband Anymore
- I Believe in You!
- How to Make Wise Decisions...And Stay in Harmony
- How to Heal a Wounded Heart
- How do my thoughts affect my view of my spouse?
- Home: The Safest Place on Earth
- Helping Teenagers Resist Peer Pressure
- Forget the Weeds in Your Life, Focus on the Flowers
- For The Love of Hannah
- Do I deserve time for myself?
- Communication: 5 Harmful Marriage Communication Habits
- Communication That Can Cause Further Distance
- Becoming a Better Listener
- Become a student of your husband
- A Small Act of Kindness
- 6 Tips for Marital Conflicts Without Casualties
- 5 Ways to Stop Sibling Rivalry
- 4 Parenting Styles
Dr. Greg SmalleyDr. Smalley also helps lead marriage seminars around the world and helps train pastors, professionals and lay leaders how to effectively work with married couples. read bio
4 Parenting Styles
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
We first need to understand our parenting style before we can train up our children according to their unique bent. What's important is that you will react to your child's behavior, thoughts and feelings according to a natural, parenting style. If you want to maximize your parenting then you need to understand how to balance your strengths and weaknesses.
As we examine four parenting styles, it's important not only to examine the kind of parents we are and would like to be, but also to evaluate our lives in light of how we were parented.
1. The “Rules” Parent
The "rules" parent is decisive, purposeful and great at conquering nearly any challenge. As with the other parenting styles, however, if their strengths get pushed out of balance, those traits can become their greatest weaknesses. These parents are born leaders and feel more comfortable if they're the ones calling the shots. They tend to be self-motivated and feel strongly that life is a series of problems they need to solve or challenges they need to meet now. They are also able to make quick decisions. Unfortunately, the decision might be made with or without facts, and often without asking the family for advice. For the "rules" parent, meaningful communication usually equals short sentences, sticking to the point. Their natural desire for efficient conversation must be balanced with the time needed to generate relational communication. That means listening closely and with acceptance, not jumping in with a lecture or solution.
"Rules" parents need to learn that relaxation is needed to recharge their emotional batteries. Times of relaxation can also provide an opportunity to spend leisurely time with their family.
Furthermore, they need to remember not to elevate projects or things ahead of people. Their intensity, if pushed out of balance, may give the appearance that they are mad at others, even if they aren't. They can also be so strong that they win every verbal battle yet end up losing the war for their family's hearts. These parents usually demand unquestioned allegiance and expect others to follow their orders immediately. Every family needs the strengths of a "rules" parent but they also need sensitivity, unconditional love and acceptance.
2. The “Easy-Going” Parent
The easy-going parent enjoys doing things the fun way. The water slide incident, unfortunately is only one example of how all the Smalley men fit into this category. Easy-going parents are great at motivating the family into action. They usually tend to focus on the future and are incredibly optimistic. These parents enjoy being around others and they have a deep need to be liked by everyone. Mix in their impulsive, creative tendencies with their love of excitement and adventure--and you've got the perfect recipe for vulnerability towards peer pressure.
Easy-going parents tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. If their natural strengths are pushed out of balance the easy-going parent may lose the respect of their family and friends. They need to make sure that they build strong friendships with their children to help them deal with peer pressure later on. They must remember that their family is more important than the number or friends they have or how well they're liked. Finally, although it's easy to be soft on people, it's not so easy to be hard on problems. Limits and discipline when kept in balance are needed in the lives of our children. Therefore, the dangers of being a people pleaser should be kept in mind amidst the fun, energy and excitement easy-going parents create.
3. The “Little Rules” Parent
The "little rules" parent wants to please others. They tend to be warm, supporting people, but weak in establishing and enforcing rules and limits for their children. These parents tend to be loyal and compassionate. They have a strong need for close relationships and friendships. They often react to sudden changes and hold stubbornly to what they feel is right. This was the type of parent that I (Gary) had. My mother was especially loving and accepting of me. But as far as I can remember, there were very few rules in our home. She usually gave in to my demands. Even when I was in trouble, she would not spank or discipline me. My mother said she never spanked because her first child died of blood poisoning and she had spanked her two weeks before she died. She made my father promise to never spank any one of their five remaining children.
One of the major reasons why some parents are too permissive is an inner fear that they may damage their children if they are too strict. That fear of confronting their children may actually produce the very things they fear. Over-permissiveness can cause a child to sense that he is in the driver's seat and can play the parent accordingly. Likewise, a child might develop a feeling of insecurity, like leaning against a wall that appears to be firm, but falls over. Finally, a child may learn that because standards are not firm, he can manipulate around the rules.
4. The “Let’s Do It Right” Parent
This fourth type of parent is like the young boy at church who was looking at the pictures of former senior pastors. The new pastor walked up to him and told him that these are the pictures of the men who have died in the service of the Lord. Looking rather upset the young boy asked, "Was that the nine o'clock or the eleven o'clock service?"
Like this young boy, the "let’s do it right" parent tends to view things in a very literal manner. They make much effort to see that things are done right. They live by the motto: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." They also take the time by slowing down to make careful decisions. They thrive on being able to use their problem solving skills to deal with family problems. But it's important to learn that most of the time their families want them to listen and understand instead of trying to solve the problem.
These parents appear reserved, cautious and controlled when it comes to displaying emotions and affection. It's not that these parents have a difficult time loving their families. Their commitment can be just as strong as the other styles. However, they often have difficulty communicating that warmth to their family.
Since this type of parent wants things done right, they can get so wrapped up in the results of a project that they fail to see how dramatically they affect their family. They need to make sure the details don't become so important that they miss the people behind them. "Let’s do it right" parents tend to turn anger inward. Some need to learn that it's all right to fail and that it's healthy to call for help when they're struggling. Finally, they may need to guard against assuming that their family will see the same problem or in the same manner as they do.
This article was compiled from material in the book, The Two Sides Of Love by Gary Smalley & John Trent's and Gary Smalley's book, The Key To Your Child's Heart. Refer to these two books for more information on parenting styles and other related topics.blog comments powered by Disqus