Are you Yeller, a Disciplinarian, a Softie, a Judge, a Soccer Mom, a Workaholic, an Over-Reactor, a Screen-aholic, a Sports-aholic or a Push-over?
What roles have you embraced as a parent?
If we asked your child/teen “What roles best describe your mom/dad?” What would they say?
The roles which parents embrace ultimately define the type of parent we are—so we must be thoughtful of how we want to be viewed by our children.
How our children perceive us is more significant than how we perceive ourselves.
For example, if you don’t see yourself as a Yeller or a Work-oholic, but your children see you as that, then the reality is that 1) You are likely out of touch with your own reality and 2) You are not doing enough to live out the role(s) that you desire to embrace.
Here are two essential roles to embrace and two to absolutely avoid:
1. A Warm Blanket. Did you know that over 50% of 6th graders say that communication with their parents is negative. This is a sad and alarming stat.
A warm blanket brings you intense physical comfort. The touch of the fabric surrounding the body can be so intense that it can slow our heart rate, calm our emotions, and help us feel protected from the outside world.
“My dad/mom is like a…cozy, safe, warm blanket.”
2. Cheerleader. The image of the cheerleader is one of pure positivity, joy, teamwork, and encouragement. Cheerleaders bring hope and inspiration. Whether the team is up or down, they cheer. They are consistent and safe. No matter how poorly the team is performing, the cheerleaders are there to lift us up.1.
The role of Warm Blanket and Cheerleader are important roles to embrace, yet they are the exact opposite of the roles that so many parents embrace.
In my 16 years of coaching adults two of the most common and destructive roles that I have seen parents embrace are:
The Horrible Sales Manager and The Movie Critic. For these two roles, the parenting theme and message is the same: You are not good enough.
1. The Horrible Sales Manager. I have a number of friends in the profession of sales. I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard about how their real life Horrible Sales Manager regularly criticizes them, scares them, degrades them, or manipulate them. Why? What is the purpose of these managerial tactics? Performance.
A Horrible Sales Manager believes that these tactics will increase sales performance.
Every parent wants their child to perform…and succeed. Whether it’s getting high grades at school, playing sports, doing chores, choosing friends, etc. Unfortunately, many parents use these same tactics to try to get their child to perform…and it doesn’t work.
2. The Movie Critic. This is similar to the parental role of being a Movie Critic. It is a Movie Critic’s job to be critical and point out shortcomings and faults. They are negative. We are parents, not Movie Critics.
Parents must be aware, if we embrace these two roles with our children, our children will notice and be negatively affected. These roles will hurt their self-esteem, their joy, their motivation—and will kill our ability to be close with them.
In our effort to be close to our children, let us instead embrace our role as a Warm Blanket and a Cheerleader.
These roles will become even more important when parents allow their children to reap what they sow, which is what I write about in my article “Mean, Spoiled and Entitled No More.”
How we help teens and parents:
Sean Donohue Family Coaching provides coaching and mentoring to hurting and defiant teenagers and we show parents how to restore love, order and communication to their family.
If your family is hurting or struggling with communication or defiance, we would love to partner with you and help you to restore love and communication in your home. We come to you. We don’t want or need “an office.” We connect with teens while doing activities they enjoy doing, and meet with families in their homes.