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Parental Approaches

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

Beyond the application of respective philosophies, there are practical approaches each given parent is naturally inclined to follow. It may or may not be tailored to a particular philosophy as every parent has an approach, though not every couple has a clearly established strategy.

Each should at some point recognize what their approach is, and how their spouse/partners differ. Then, I offer, each parent should determine how the respective approach will affect two key aspects – what is the extreme worst-case scenario (for your child) that you try to avoid, and what is the best case that you pray would be realized. With or without a strategy (preferably with), the approaches should enable associated avoidance and realization.

My personal approach with respect to worst-case was a “left and right” limit as a barometer for when to invest a high level of parental energy. So as long as they didn’t brush up against (or make strides towards) the deemed worst-case areas (relative to sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse and the law), I tempered how stressed I was/how aggressively I engaged.

On the other end of the spectrum, was the best-case scenario. In this it was about raising self-confident, functional, independent adults. To enable this to come to fruition, I invested in routine talks where I explicitly instilled self-esteem, self-worth, empowered thinking (ownership and accountability for decisions/actions) and creating adult like experiences (i.e. money management and life-balance). I knew they would have to deal with real-life stuff eventually, and the more I could expose to them, either in conversation or practically, I tried to do.

I had to mesh my approach with my wife’s. She had a more “everything matters” approach (i.e. homework, chores, answers to questions, attitude), so her investment was higher in many instances than mine. She complemented my best-case efforts, though I don’t think she distinguished best and worst case like I did. So, we had to ensure our respective approaches both functioned individually and collectively. This was somewhat of an art that involved compromise and respect for each other’s approach without trying to change them.

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