I’ve been attending a Virtues Parenting course for the last three months and am really loving the concepts! This week we learned about parenting styles. The Squiggly parent, the Square parent and the Oval parent.
The Squiggly parent has few rules, is inconsistent and generally just tries to keep everyone happy by bending and working on an ‘ad hock’ basis. This leaves kids feeling overwhelmed, unsure of boundaries and like sometimes they will get away with murder and other times be punished for something trivial. Squiggly parents are generally struggling to get by and only have the time, energy and emotional resources to deal with the most urgent issues. We’ve all been there, it’s just not a very good place to stay!
The Square parent has plenty of rules and even more punishments to go with them. They are less interested in growth, education and development and more interested in conforming and controlling. Rules are fixed and completely inflexible and they are seen as dominating and demanding. A child growing up in this environment quickly learns to put their head down and shut up, as whatever they do or say will only get them in trouble, and no ones interested in their opinion anyway. Essentially the child is placed in a powerless situation often resulting in low self esteem and low motivation.
The Oval parent on the other hand is a loving and consistent approach to parenting. It provides children with firm boundaries, however can be flexible when the need arises and fosters an open relationship where children feel they can ask for help and will be acknowledged. The focus is on educating rather than control and the parent creates an environment where the child is supported to become responsible, independent and virtuous. A big key to the Oval parent is respect. They have earned the respect of the child with consistency and love and in turn respect the child and their individual needs and wishes. This is a strong foundation for a positive relationship and the development of a emotionally strong child.
There are days when I’m the ideal Oval parent, (Laura may not agree though) and there are days when I drift back into Squiggly mum or Square Mum. In those times I try to use self acceptance, acknowledge that I’m not perfect, in fact, no where near even close, but I am indeed a real live human being. I think it’s nice to remind ourselves of that on a regular basis!
Understanding what makes a good parent brings me a little closer to knowing what I need to work on, and I really the idea of raising children well!