Over the years I have witnessed two types of parenting styles among parents of students.
Preventative Maintenance Parenting
>Parents begin preparing their child for the teen years at an early age
>Parents engaging in discussion with their child about expectations
>Parents who clearly define expectations
>Parents who clearly define consequences
>Parents who work together with their child on a contract
>Parents who have a plan and their child knows the plan
>Parents who attend parenting seminars and small group studies on parenting
Example: At a young age the parent sets out the guidelines as to if and when their child will be allowed to date or have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Clearly communicating to their child what to expect when it comes to having an exclusive relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Discussing this plan with their child and making sure everyone is clear on what to expect. Little Johnny knows he's not allowed to initiate a dating, exclusive relationship, until he is ____ yrs. old. Which frees him up to enjoy his early teen years and removes the pressure from him. Everyone is on the same page.
Crisis Management Parenting
>Parents who don't plan or even think about their sweet little child becoming a teen
>Parents who don't communicate clear expectations with their child
>Parents who make up consequences on the fly and often in a moment of anger resulting in unrealistic discipline that they don't stick to
>Parents who have no plan, fly by the seat of their pants
>Parents who have children who have no clue what mom and dad expect from them in life.
>Parents who run to the youth pastor to "fix my kid" or "When is the next parenting seminar?"
>Parents who don't seize the opportunities to take parenting classes or participate in parenting small group Bible studies.
Example: Susan, who we used to call little Suzie (fictional character), is allowed to go out with John, who we used to call little Johnny (also a fictional character). "They are just going out to have some fun, nothing serious." Soon Susan is constantly texting with John, on FB with John, all her spare moments are spent with John. Susan's grades are dropping. Susan's best friends no longer are coming around the home because she has pushed them to the curb and replaced them with the "love of her life". What! I thought it was just for fun?!! Mom and Dad now panic, "What do we do?" After allowing this relationship to grow and build over 5 months their they tell their 13 year old daughter that she can no longer see her 16 year old boyfriend, this marks the beginning of the war at home. Now they are reaching out for help in dealing with their "rebellious" daughter.
Which type of parenting looks better to you? As a youth pastor I love to see and hear about parents who are doing preventative maintenance.
Disclaimer: Preventative Maintenance doesn't mean you will have a perfect child or be a perfect parent, but chances for open communication and understanding will be better