In the book, Kids are Worth it, there are three types of parents. Which one are you?
A brick wall is a nonliving thing, designed to resturic, to keep in and to keep out. Family structure is rigid and is used for control and power, both of which are in the hands of the parents. Kids are controlled, manipulated and made to mind. Parents direct, supervise, mini lecture, order, threaten, remind and worry over.
Examples: You will sit here all night if it takes you that long to finish your spinach. All the toys need to be put back exactly as you found them. I told you if you said that word again, I would wash your mouth out with soap. Eat those peas with your fork. You are such a crybaby. Touch that and you will be in your room for the rest of the day. Let’s see who can make the best cookies. If you wet your pants, you will go back to wearing diapers, just like a baby. Boys don’t cry. Put your coat on it is cold outside. You look better in the red one.
A jellyfish has no firm parts at all and reacts to every wave the comes along. Family structure is nonexistent, the need for it may not even be acknowledged or understood. Extremely lax in discipline, sets few limits, and tends to smother children. Anything the kids want, they get. Chaos surrounds bedtime, mealtime, chores, etc. Then the parents (in frustration and panic) tent to revert to threats, bribes and punishments.
Examples: Hold on, let me find a pencil in all this mess. The kids eat whatever they feel like. If they get fat, they get fat it is not my fault. You are such a sweet girl, I am going to buy you that pretty dress you say yesterday. You are such a klutz, I will set the table myself, I will pay this time, but next time you dent the car you will have to pay for it yourself. If you give me a hug, I will give you a cookie. I can’t make all the other kids be quiet while you study, what do you think this is, a library? He made me angry, so I hit him. I would love you more if you would cut your hair. If we don’t make a big deal of it, I am sure it will go away on it’s own. The teachers just don’t understand, I ditched school when I was young, it won’t hurt her to miss a few classes.
A backbone is a living, supple spine that gives form and movement to the whole body. Family structure is present and firm and flexible and functional.
Examples: When you walk in puddles, your sneakers will get wet. The car starts when everyones seat belt if buckled. You will need to replace your friends jacket that you borrowed and lost. You can do it, I know you can. It is okay to cry, son..I am sad too that we will not be neighbours with their family anymore…let’s think of something we can do that will make the move a little easier for him. Let’s figure out where we can bike this weekend…I will check the bikes this time, who wants to fill the water bottle and make a snack. I am here if you need me. When you have a gut feeling about something, trust your intuition. You will figure out a way to solve that problem, I know you can do it. I hear what you are saying. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Your red shoes are still wet, you can pick out another pair to wear to school.
Jenny is a Brick Wall
Scott is a Backbone
Jenny is constantly battling for control, and Scott is gently reminding her to cool it.