So It Begins…
I was enjoying a nice evening stroll with my kids and fam after some sightseeing in Casco Viejo, Panama. The air was thick with humidity. The mosquitoes were having a go at me like an all-you-can-drink-blood special. I was hangry.
We had 4 screaming excited kids running around like they accidentally each had a cup of coffee. Just strollin’… you know?
Then I heard it…. this small fairy mouse like voice…
“Puck” P a u s e… “Puck” P a u s e… “PUCK” P a u s e….
I look around, and there it is.
My sweet, precious, sometimes gangster (so I’ve been told), 3-year-old princess daughter holding onto some rusted metal bars leading into a dark alley and yelling “puck“… over and over. Such a proud moment for this mommy.
My sister in law and I look at each other. “what did she… you think she was saying… did she just say fuck…?“
I was soooo trying to act as surprised as she was… I mean, WHAT kind of mom would do what I did?
I started laughing. Yes……. I laughed.
I got myself together and called my daughter over and asked her what she was yelling. In that cute little 3-year-old voice she says “I was scweeming puck at the cat.“
She gave me that adorable smile that only a 3-year-old could give, swept her bangs to the side in a Proud swipe, then turned around and walked away.
Then I just stood there… looking at her cute little bounce-y walk… Just thinking…… ‘…..’
“WHAT DO I DO?”
Mommy Brain Fart Moment
Have you ever had those moments when you’re not quite sure how to respond to your child?
I literally stood there flipping through the index in my brain trying to figure out what my best approach was. What I didn’t want to do was act instinctively. Act out just to “show” my family I had this under control.
NOTE: Okay, just a little about that whole “show” thing. I was with my husbands family at that time. They always tell me that the only way to control a child like my daughter with gangster tendencies is by spanking. I like to call her “spirited.” My husbands grandma was brought up in rural China by this whole “spank if they sneeze” mentality and it sorta passed down.
As I stood there these were my 3 options:
1. Get Frantic: I yell bloody murder. HOW can you use that word. WHERE did you learn that word (You’ll soon find out…), put her in the corner between some buildings, give her a time out, tell her NEVER use that word again… or else.
2. Brush it off: Hey, she’s only 3. What does she know? She probably doesn’t even know what it means. Plus, if I tell her it’s not a nice word, she’ll most definitely use it again.
3. I calmly explain: I tell her that it’s unacceptable to use that word. It is not a nice word and if I find her saying that word again there will be clear consequences. But she’d probably still use it again.
So, I called her back. I got down on my knees, looked her in her twinkling little eyes and told her she was not allowed to use that word ever again. It is not a nice word. It’s a bad and mean word. The next time she uses that word she will not be allowed to play with her cousins for that weekend.
‘Cuz you know, not playing with cousins is FAR worse than taking away all her Halloween candy.
And in the most serious way possible she asks me “only you can say that wud mommy?” Yes, I know… #mommyfail
Hey… I never said I was a perfect mom.
So 2 weeks went by since the Puck episode. I’m enjoying a nice Mexican dinner with my family and fully taking advantage of the all-you-can-drink-margarita special when my sister in law tells me that her 7-year-old son had a few questions about that “Puck” night:
- Why didn’t “I” yell at my daughter when she said “Puck?”
- Why didn’t my daughter get in trouble by “me,” he could never get away with it with her?
- And the best for last… Why was “I” laughing?
Can’t answer the last one buddy… BUT, I did take it upon myself to figure out the rest and it has something to do with my parenting style.
After my partial OCD personality forced me to take at least 4 different parenting tests my results fell consistently under one parenting style, The Authoritative Parent.
According to Diane Braumind, the researcher who first identified Parenting Styles, the way you parent affects the way your child learns, socializes, and how they develop. And if there’s anything I’m interested in reading about, it’s about how my actions will effect my kids.
Every parent – child relationship is different and although they outline 4 types of parenting styles I’d bet heavily that most parents don’t parent consistently under just 1 style. Take this information and use it as a guide to see how you parent. What you can improve upon. And what you can eliminate or change from the way you parent.
Being flexible will ensure that you stay sane in this parenting journey that’s meant to be consistently inconsistent.
4 Different Parenting Styles
1. The Authoritarian: My way or the highway
- Authoritarian parents emphasize blind obedience. Also called, dictatorship parenting.
- If kids question the rules the common parent response is “Because I said so.”
- Parents set the rules and the kids are expected to follow it without exception, questions, or negotiations.
- The parents usually use punishments instead of clear consequences.
According to empowering parents, punishments are disciplines to make your child suffer for not following your orders. It’s a think like me or else attitude. A consequence teaches the child that their behavior is their choice and responsibility, whether good or bad. Setting clear consequences nurtures their decision-making skills and develops responsibility in children.
Effect on children behavior: This parenting style usually produces kids that are obedient and well behaved. However, their social skills are generally inferior from lack of being able to make decisions and solve problems, and they are more likely to have anger issues that stem from being angry at their parents for their punishments.
2. The Uninvolved: I don’t care what you do
- Uninvolved parents are usually neglectful.
- They usually don’t meet their child’s basic needs and expect them to raise themselves.
- They may suffer from mental health issues or substance abuse problems, or just have a hard time dealing with the pressures of parenting financially and emotionally.
- These parents usually don’t know what their children is doing, have little to no rules or expectations, and usually don’t provide any nurturing or guidance.
- Parents may lack knowledge about general parenting and child care and development skills.
Effect on children behavior: This parenting style usually produces kids with the lowest self-esteem that have the biggest problems following any rules or laws. They are usually the gangsters, drug dealers, the bullies. Most of the juvenile offenders have uninvolved parents.
3. The Permissive: I trust you to make all of your own decisions
- Permissive parents offer lots of love and warmth with no discipline.
- There are generally few, if any, consequences for misbehavior.
- They think of themselves more as friends than a parent that offers guidance.
- They are very open to talking and listening without discouraging bad behavior.
Effect on children behavior: This parenting style usually produces kids with high self-esteem. However, since they were never taught to obey rules or have consequences, they usually display lots of behavioral problems such as drug use, fighting, and bullying.
4. The Authoritative: I trust you, but there are boundaries
- Authoritative parents are nurturing but also set standards for behavior
- Authoritative parents communicate the reasons for rules and allow children to make mistakes and take responsibility for their actions.
- Authoritative parents mostly use consequences over punishments.
- Authoritative parents encourage communication and explain consequences of good and bad behavior
Effect on children behavior: This parenting style usually produces kids that are the most successful, happy, and emotionally stable. They are usually well behaved and accomplished in school. They are good problem solvers, good at making decisions, and evaluate risks on their own.
What’s your parenting style?
Everyone parents differently. The relationship you have with your child is unique and beautiful… for the most part.
If you want to find out your own parenting style you can go here to take the test.
My Nephews Questions Answered
I’m an Authoritative Parent. So it makes sense why I acted the way I did, right?
- Question 1: Why didn’t “I” yell at my daughter when she said “Puck?”
Truth is, I’ve read a few positive parenting books so the concept of consequences was not new to me, and a strategy I’m completely aligned within my parenting. She’s 3. She doesn’t understand the meaning of the word, and I know that. This is the process in which I teach her what’s right or wrong vs outright consequence. How can she learn if she doesn’t even know what she did was wrong?
- Question 2: Why didn’t my daughter get in trouble by “me,” he could never get away with it with her?
She didn’t know she did anything wrong so disciplining her at that point was absurd.
My nephew is 7 years old, so I totally get why he couldn’t get away with it at his age. He understands that it’s unacceptable. There’s no question in his mind that it’s unacceptable.
I told her what she did was wrong and laid out a clear consequence, no playing with cousins next time she used that word. Now… it’s up to her to use that word or not. If she does, she’s very clear on what will happen. And I’m a firm (that’s a solid 90% of the time) consequence-upholder. I’ll share on a future post what I did to stop my little gangster from throwing her WWII tantrums… COLD!
And that whole 90% thing? I’m human. If I said 100% I’d just be bull shitting you. I’d bet my right hand that no human in this world does anything 100% of the time.
- And the best for last… Why was “I” laughing?
Still, don’t know. I really don’t. Have you ever heard a child say “puck?” Kids can get away with much more than adults…
Do the following to ensure you don’t raise a socially awkward gangster:
- Set clear consequences
- Avoid punishments
- Be involved
- Allow your children to have choices in their decisions
- Allow open communication with your children
- Love them
So what parenting style are you? We’d love to know! Share with us in the comments below.