Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Know Your Parenting Style

Two Basic Styles
There are two basic styles of parenting.  One is "firm edge" and the other is "soft touch".  It's useful to know which style comes naturally to you and which style is more difficult for you to master.  You will have the most trouble with your kids when they need the style of parenting that is the most uncomfortable for you.

Firm Edge Style
When you are strong in the firm edge style, you're really good at knowing how to set limits.  You will have an ease with setting up consequences for bad behavior, teaching responsibility and discipline to your children.  Kids feel protected when they know what is expected of them and know the boundaries that keep them safe.

Soft Touch Style
Parents strong in the soft touch style of parenting are usually comfortable with feelings, messiness and flexible limits.  If you're good at listening and creating a safe place for self-expression, you're probably strong in soft touch.  This style of parenting gives children lots of room and lets them know that who they are deep, down is lovable and acceptable.  Children can feel comfortable in their own skin when they are given soft touch parenting.

Which is Better?
Some children do better with one style over the other.  It depends on the personality of the child.  Also there will be times or different ages when on child will need more of one style than the other.  Still, life works best for all when we have an adequate blend of both styles in our interactions with others.

Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Where are you strong in your parenting style?  What are the difficulties that you run into with your kids?  Do they know just how to push your buttons?  Then look at your parenting style.  Grow into the style that is least comfortable for you and you might see a difference in your relationship to your child.

2007 Allison Gilbert, M.A., L.M.F.T.; Free Tips

If you want to read more about this topic, I have a longer article on my Parenting page.  Also, I'd recommend the book, "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" if you need some guidance on strengthening your firm edge style of parenting.  If you need help with the soft touch, I recommend, "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen."  Both of these books can be purchased through this website on my Books page.

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