The Four Types of Parent – How Do You React? (Episode 250)
As a parent first and foremost, we want our children to learn and grow as much as possible. I’ve addressed how to raise life-long learners by not just being “teachers”, but “awakeners” already, so we know the term “teacher” is simply the traditional label we put on whomever our children are learning from. I want to go back to the core of this site for a minute, and a reminder:
We all learn differently. And, we all teach differently. Let’s move beyond the label of what we’re doing, what we’re learning, and what we’re calling it. Today, the most fundamentally important question is:
What kind of teacher are you?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is critical in determining how you will instill your all-knowing, all encompassing, and always right omnipresent knowledge of the world onto your little ones (riiiiiight. We all need a little ego boost now and then.)
You DO have wisdom and insights that will help your children, and they WILL learn them from you regardless of your agenda. What you don’t say with your words, they will pick up on by your actions.
How well do you know yourself and what triggers your reactive behavior? What keeps you motivated? What your sweet spots are and what tools to use to get you through the rough times?
If you want to truly show up for your child, know that the first and foremost task is to show up for yourself. Make sure you are coming to the relationship ready to give your best - not trapped in victimhood, overwhelm, or distraction.
Look At Your Environment
It's not just about creating the perfect game plan for your teaching agenda. It's fostering a "climate of possibility", as Sir Ken Robinson would say. Watch this four-minute video on the importance of creating this climate in your home - it's powerful.
He shared in another video how "the basics [of education] are about the realization of human talent and possibility" - I love how he keeps bringing us back to the fact that education is not an industrial process; it's a human process.
The Different Styles
So let's look at the default behaviors of us parents. When we aren't aware, how are we coming across to our family? Can you easily identify which one of these you best relate to?
- The Boss: This “all-about-the-end-result” parent doesn’t care about systems and algorithms. The point is, “did you finish it or not?” Accomplishments and achievements are key, and no lollygagging around! Leave the sob story at the door and get moving now. This parent is the ultra organizer who is the go-to for anything that needs to be managed and/or delegated. Word to the wise - force doesn't typically foster true learning and growth. The more you allow your children to experience their own autonomy and have control of their own actions, the more likely you are to have them receptive to learning.
- The Enthusiast: This minivan driving party of excitement is the proud owner of the house EVERY kid wants to be invited to for a sleepover. There is no law but this: Have tons of fun mixed with no regrets! (Preferably shaken, not stirred). With an open road to the world, the experience always trumps the inconvenience, as parent and child flutter from one learning enrichment field trip to another, soaking in the world as they go. Key to note - not everyone lives in overdrive all the time. Make sure you are allowing space for your family to rest and recharge, and respecting that not everyone may be an extrovert.
- The Peacemaker: This lovable teddy bear of a parent will hug and kiss all over those sweet little cherubs, going out of their way to make every experience a memorable one. Focused on comfort and ease, the learning process needs to go smoothly or shutdown can occur and the fabulous television babysitter may take precedence over one more battle. With an “after you” attitude, this parent tiptoes through this world experience with their child, hoping they didn’t leave a mess behind that someone else might have to clean up. Recognize that sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone is to stand your ground and say no. Saying no to one thing may be saying yes to something else, like your sanity.
- The Bookworm: This walking instruction manual will have a firm grip on the who, what, when, where and why before ever taking that first step. With a need to know attitude, this parent dives in the deep end of the education pool, leaving nothing to chance. This is a wild world that needs to be understood, defined, quantified and then re-checked to ensure validity. With a flutter of manuals and maps, this parent will have the facts checked, double-checked and backed up by research to ensure this is paramount to the learning process. If you want your child prepared, the bookworm will be ready to propel them toward success. And, the big caveat is that there is absolutely no way that everything in this world will be measured and planned for. Life is full of things out of our control that create unexpected changes in our world, and the best gift we can give ourselves and our children are the tools to navigate the unknown and flow as it goes. And remember, no task or thing is as important as the person and relationship.
I'm not a Teacher!
Now, these are extreme examples, but it lays out the fact that there are multiple ways to parent, and to teach your kids. No matter where you fall in this ramshackle list, know that there is no right or wrong way:
Make sure you are focused on creating an optimal learning environment that fits your child – NOT simply your teaching agenda!
Understanding yourself and your children is the fundamental foundation of connection.
When you recognize how you tend to teach your children, you can better identify what is working and what isn’t. When we become so intent on getting the message (or lesson) across, we can lose sight of the child in front of us and get lost in our own agendas. Recognize what your tendency is and how your children respond to it.
Your Challenge this week – get real with your behavioral style. If you aren't sure how to even start with what your strengths are and what may be triggering you, start with this. If you need to dig even deeper, let's have a talk. Get real with how to stay in your own sweet spot, so you're able to focus on how your child can find theirs.
What style is your child? How can they best learn?
- How to Create A Life You Don't Want to Escape From Eagles Webinar with Ashley and Nathan
- Why I Believe In Functional Education For Our Future…and what that even is
- Learning at Home The Socratic Way – Special Guest Samantha Jansky (Episode 158)
- On Boundaries: Your Children Are Not The Center Of The Universe!
- How To Parent – and Teach – Along the Way (Episode 244)
- Quarantine Boredom and Life Skills (Episode 140)
- True Parent Struggles: BOREDOM (Episode 91)
- Why Travel (even just outside your own door) is the Best Education (Episode 242)
- Have You Forgotten You’re A Parent? (What truly is “parenting done right?”) (Episode 229)
- Have Life Seasons Got You Stuck In A Funk? (Episode 179)
- The Seasons Of Life (Episode 3)
- Does Your LIFE Have Seasons?