Parenting Styles: Are You Encouraging Growth or Hindering It?

Posted on May 28, 2019

Tyler and Nathan got into trouble at school. Being 14-years old and living in a body of fired hormones, it was bound to happen. Impulsive, impatient and impolite, both boys were imp-ing for trouble! They had it coming! All in one month, together, they had:

1. Hidden Careen’s backpack on the football field.

2. Snuck into the girls’ bathroom and planted a time-released cockroach jar explosion.

3. Reprogrammed the school bell 30 minutes ahead.

Surprise! Life catches up with you. They were busted and ended up in the Head Master’s office where they had another surprise waiting for them: their parents. Both were delivered their sentences of a three-day suspension. Wow! A reward of no school! But here’s what the home scene looked like:

TYLER:

On arrival at his home after a silent car ride, his father took the lead and asked:

“What prompted this behavior?”

“Just silly fun,” responded Tyler with his head hanging.

“Did you not realize where this would eventually lead to or did you just assume you’d get away with it?” nudged Dad firmly, yet calmly.

”I don’t know, I didn’t think about it.” replied Tyler, still avoiding eye contact.

“I know your brain is developed enough to know what happens when you do things without thinking. But I guess it’s up to you whether you choose to use it or not,” his father responded.

“I’m sorry, Dad. Are you also going to punish me?” Tyler asked in a low toned voice with his head still hanging and fingers interlocked.

“You’re going to type up a ten-page research paper on the two hemispheres of the brain and identify which one you used and why, and which one you should have used and why. Your verbal presentation of it will be due on Saturday morning right after breakfast. It’s Wednesday and since you’ll be home for the rest of the week, you have plenty of time.”

NATHAN:

In the car, both parents took turns screaming at Nathan:

“We were so embarrassed,” started the mom. “How dare you do stupid things like that and make all of us look like idiots!”

“What the &^*% were you thinking?” joined in the father. “I’m sick and tired of your behavior. In my day, a good beating could have fixed this.”

“I’m so sick of you guys talking down to me,” Nathan lashed back.

“No, we’re so sick of you behaving like a fool,” said the dad, “That’s it! You’re grounded for a month. No friends, no movies, no hanging out. To school and back you’ll go. That’s it! Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes,” muttered Nathan, mad and sad.

These are two completely different parenting styles. One encouraging intellectual resolution by using common sense reasoning, logic, and understanding as a “punishment,” contributing fully toward the teenager’s growth. Whereas the other left behind yet another trail of unresolved and senseless emotions hindering growth.

Through logic and reasoning, parents can teach children to understand themselves. And understanding one’s self is the most important step toward independence. Is that not what we all want for our children? To be independent and responsible?

“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” — Oscar Wilde.

Reasoning teaches our children to do just that: think for themselves. Reasoning helps children learn from their mistakes and grow. Now that’s a gift every parent should give their child every opportunity they get. Don’t you think?