Firm Parent? Fun Parent? Can You Be Both?
Firm parents are aware of their values. They create limits and rules based on those values and communicate them clearly to their children. Firm parents are consistent so their children know what to expect and are less likely to act or feel out of control. Firm parents’ children learn to see them as reliable, trustworthy, dependable and stable; they can predict what their parents will say and do. Firm parents know that their children will feel safe and secure as a result of their actions. A firm parent knows that children will test the limits and push the rules but they are able to say “no” with confidence. Rules are not reinforced in an angry or harsh manner but with love and empathy. A firm parent understands that their children may be upset, disappointed or angry when they cannot have what they desire. Firm parents are okay with children’s negative or uncomfortable feelings; they know their children can handle the discomfort and that feelings will pass. A firm parent makes occasional exceptions but does so consciously. Firm parents have clear vision for themselves and their family.
Fun parents are playful, joyful and able to relax and enjoy the moment with their children. Fun parents value being emotionally present and connected with their child in play. Fun parents know that children love to play. Play, laughter and connection make their children feel good. Fun parents are mindful of their child’s developmental age and aware of their child’s interests, passions and what makes that particular child happy. Fun parents can put aside their “to do” list, unplug, let go of their personal agenda and tune into their child. Fun parents can be spontaneous. Fun parents can laugh at themselves. They know that joining with children in play, laughter, creativity, spontaneity, silliness and relaxation fosters a special sense of closeness, connectedness and security. Fun parents know that their children feel valued, loved and special when they share in their fun and play.
Children need parents who can be both firm and fun. Striking this balance does not come naturally to most parents. Most of us were not so fortunate to grow up in homes with consciousness about parenting. Most of us parent in the same way that our parents raised us or we attempt to do the opposite. But even then, most of us end up reverting to the familiar. Parents often find themselves yelling, punishing or being overly harsh to make sure their children know who is “boss”, or they find it impossible to set limits and get their children to listen to them. They feel endlessly frustrated, ineffective or guilty. The world is changing and more than ever many parents desire new, more effective and loving ways to raise children. We can choose something different.
For more information about our online parenting course or parent coaching, contact Karen Jacobson, MA, LCPC, LMFT at 312-330-3194, Karen@parentingperspectives.com or Lauren Bondy, LCSW at 847-562-9503, Lauren@parentingperspectives.com. Or, visit www.parentingperspectives.com.