What's Your Parenting Personality?

Parenting Personality, p.5

4. Balanced

Elyse and Steven Keaton

The Keatons of Family Ties were rational and patient. ("Parents are conditioned to accept a few mishaps, Alex. A broken vase, some spilled milk on the floor… But there was a kangaroo in my living room!") They were confidants and wise advisers. ("Alex, $75,000 a year is a lot of money; it's very impressive. But don't forget to ask yourself this question: Will it bring you fulfillment?") Yet they were also disciplinarians. ("We're going to ground Mallory like she's never been grounded before. Ground her deep, ground her long, ground her hard.") In other words, they considered their children to be equals -- but only up to a point.

Runners-Up: Carol and Mike Brady

High Ratings: This popular parenting style combines the strengths of authoritarian and permissive while eliminating their weaknesses. There's negotiation, but Mom and Dad have the final say. You'll find a lot of affection and emotional nourishment in a family like this. In fact, children of balanced parents generally turn out the healthiest and happiest. These are the parents you wished you had.

Low Ratings: You won't find many disadvantages, except that, for lots of parents, such a style doesn't come easily.

Finale: Despite the fact that children raised under this style generally have high self-esteem and excel academically, it does not produce the perfect kid. Perfect kids -- and, for that matter, perfect parents -- simply don't exist. "What's important," points out Huxley, who has four children, "is having the courage to be imperfect."

Is this your style?

  • After allowing your child to voice his opinion, do you make the final call?
  • Is it vital for you to teach your child about responsibility and life?
  • Do you decide which issues are open for negotiation and which aren't?
  • Is it important to model the type of behavior you want from your child?
  • Did you ever want to be Florence Henderson when you grew up?

Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the May 2001 issue of Child magazine

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