We have three kids, ages 7 to 16, and sometimes you would never know they are siblings based on their personalities and the way they respond in different situations. With one child, all it takes is a stern look or word, while another child pretty much takes an old-school spanking. With one child there never seems to be silence, while with another child, you wonder if they’re still in the room.
I’ve learned over the years that a one-size fits-all-parenting style is not the most effective. Based on their personalities, I’ve needed to find the parenting style that works best for each child. Here are four types of kids and the types of parenting that work best for them.
Your strong-willed child needs an authoritative approach.
This is your child who may be adventurous, determined and very outspoken. You can bet clashes will happen. A more authoritative approach will work better with this child. An authoritative approach means you are assertive, not intrusive or restrictive. You need to balance your demands and authority by being more responsive to their needs, especially their need for self-expression.
Your imaginative child needs a patient and positive approach.
This is your child who is playful, sociable, lively and talkative. A permissive parenting style can lead to wanting to be this child’s buddy, and permit them to live as freely as the child desires. An uninvolved parenting style can lead a parent to let this child do their own thing because they seem to be fine without them. As a parent of an imaginative child, we need to use a lot of patience, especially if you aren’t the most talkative and social one. Positive reinforcement with guidance is needed.
Your deep child needs a thoughtful and attentive parenting approach.
This is your detailed child, your child who is orderly, persistent and very respectful. The words you say to this child will resonate, so choose them carefully. Our second child has this type of personality, and we frequently find him in deep thought. We also find him deeply hurt when we don’t choose our words carefully. An authoritarian parenting style can cause major havoc with this child and self-esteem. He or she will remember what you’ve said and when you didn’t honor your word but may not say anything about it. Be thoughtful in the words you say and be attentive to his or her words and actions, or even lack of action. It’s important to spend time alone with this child to allow him or her time to get the things in their minds out so you can have meaningful and even fun conversations.
Your diplomatic child needs a selfless and encouraging parenting approach.
This is your child who is thoughtful of others, measured or controlled, adaptable and attentive. You can bet he or she knows when you are happy, sad or angry. They pay attention to others and want to adapt or help when they feel others aren’t having the best experience. Sometimes they’ll do this at their own expense. A parent who practices self-sacrifice as well will make a great connection with this type of personality. You’ll also need to encourage them to step out and do some things out of their control or comfort zone as they tend to play it safe all the time. Getting them to step out will challenge them and allow for growth. Support them when they do.
No matter what type of personality your kids have or your primary parenting style, one of the most effective things you can do is be attentive to them and how they function. When we are uninvolved we lose connection, influence and the relationship. At the end of the day, our relationship with our kids is the most important. And at the end of the day, that is what they want most from us.
What parenting style is most effective in growing your relationship with your kids?