A parenting style that you might think (mistakenly) is limited to California and communes, is the “child as parent” style of parenting. These parents believe that children innately know what they need and should therefore, be allowed to make all their own choices. These children eat whatever they want, whenever they want. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure. These children go to bed when they want and get up when they want. They also go to school only when they feel like it. These children are subconsciously taught that they are in charge and should always get their way. Their prospects for long-term relationships are exceedingly poor. With all parenting styles, there are very few parents that don’t fall into more than one style, with one or two being the main style and one or two being minor characteristics. “Child as parent” style parents are very often also “best friend” parents. “Best friend” parents don’t do anything, like discipline, that might affect their status as their child’s friend. They very often dress too young while allowing their child to dress much too maturely. Best friend parents are so worried about staying their child’s friend that they interfere with their child’s efforts to have relationships with peers. While “child as parent” parenting is rare and the long-term effects are easy to see, “best friend” parents are far too common and we have all seen the variety of consequences. From parents that engage in completely inappropriate behavior (alcohol, drugs, sex) with their child and their child’s peers, to young adults who are completely incapable of functioning with their same age peers.
Coming soon: All or none parenting, only child parenting and big family parenting.
Previously: Parenting styles part 1 & part 2