This is a fantastic book by Dr. Louise Hart with lots of solid advice for creating a peaceful and productive family life. You can see back posts regarding Chapters 1-10; today we are looking at Chapter 11, which is entitled, “Parenting Leadership Styles.” One of the very first blog posts I wrote in 2008 back when I started writing was about gentle discipline as authentic leadership, so I was excited to delve into this chapter.
The chapter begins with asking the basic question:
- Were you raised by tyrants?
- Were you raised by not being raised?
- Were you raised by leaders who balanced their powers with freedom and caring?
In an autocratic (tyrannical) parenting style, children often want to be told what to do because they are trying to avoid punishment and they want to please their parents. Children raised in this style often lack a sense of personal responsibility and distrust their own feelings. They may be compliant or they may become rebellious and defiant over time.
In a permissive parenting style, parents give up any power at all and may be checked out due to substance abuse problems, their own baggage and woundedness, illness, or disinterest. In these families, because there are no rules, children don’t learn any boundaries at all, have trouble with limits, feel they have the right to do whatever it is that they wish, or may take on a role reversal with the parents. They may eventually become violent toward their parents or seek out highly structured groups as an adult.
In a democractic leadership style, everyone’s needs in the family are considered important. Parents offer choices and treat their children as capable beings who can make decisions. They teach children how to take responsibility. They provide structure. Children learn to respect rules and become responsible, and how to become capable.
Some families have a mix of styles between parents – one may be very permissive and the other very autocratic and rigid. This happens frequently, but by realizing this and talking about this, even by employing family meetings, different choices can be made.
When children are small, we have to assume control and provide boundaries and as children grow, we can provide a framework for freedom with responsibiity and good choices at the forefront. We provide a sense of teamwork and empowerment. In Appendix C of this book there is a helpful table summarizing the information in this chapter.
More to come!
Blessings and love,