What's Your Parenting Personality?

Parenting Personality, p.4

3. Rejecting/Neglecting

Marge and Homer Simpson

The Simpsons' jokes arise from this style of parenting, in which the adult may be authoritarian one minute ("Get me a beer!") and permissive the next ("Grab one for yourself!"). Bart is a budding juvenile delinquent, and baby Maggie is ignored. Middle-child Lisa is resilient because of her naturally high intellect, but underneath she has a cynical, depressed nature. Her favorite kind of music: saxophone blues. "Fatherhood isn't easy," said Homer in one episode, "but I wouldn't trade it for anything -- except for some mag wheels. Yeah, some mag wheels."

Runners-Up: Peg and Al Bundy, Roseanne and Dan Conner

High Ratings: It may make for funny television, but that's its sole advantage.

Low Ratings: The parent is frequently absent or preoccupied, so there's minimal supervision -- making it more likely that the child will get into trouble or hurt herself. And when the parent is around, the child is usually confused or even humiliated. The child feels like a nuisance and, in extreme situations, may not even receive adequate medical attention or nourishment. In most cases, though, the neglect is emotional. Without emotional connection to the parent, the child has no model for relationships with others.

Finale: This style results in an unhealthy, unhappy child. She feels deeply hurt that no one cares about her and may eventually become bitter and hostile. In just about every facet of life, she's an underachiever, and what's worse, she doesn't understand why. She may develop emotional disorders such as depression or substance-abuse problems.

Is this your style?

  • Do you let your child care for herself or allow older siblings to dress and feed her without any supervision from you?
  • Have you ever left your child's ear infection, dental problem, or other illness untreated?
  • Do you threaten, yell, or hit your child to gain her cooperation?
  • Have you ever left your young child at home by herself for several hours at a time?
  • Do you ever find yourself wishing that your child would watch more TV and videos?

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