Psychologist Diana Baumrind writes in her research about two vital qualities for parenting. Good parenting, and for that matter good leadership, is improved by a balance of these two vital qualities. The first is responsiveness - to display acceptance, support, and belief; to be attentive. The second is demanding - to establish standards and hold people accountable to them. The combinations look like this:
Permissive - too much responsiveness with too few demands.
Authoritarian - too many demands with too little responsiveness.
Uninvolved - virtually no responsiveness or any demands.
Authoritative - responsiveness matched with appropriate demands.
So how do we achieve the balance? Ask yourself, do I totally pay attention to my child when he or she is speaking? Am I checking my email while he or she is still talking? Do I listen carefully and understand exactly what he or she is trying to communicate? Likewise ask yourself these questions. Have I established appropriate rules and procedures in our home that require children to pitch in and do work? Are these rules too lenient or too much? Do I enforce them consistently?
A balance of the above will lead to that authoritative style. That's the sweet spot where responsiveness is matched with appropriate demands. It's hard to do, but the house is blessed where parents give work toward that goal.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal