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Moving From Passive To Assertive Parenting

A description of passive parenting, its disadvantages and how to utilize assertive parenting instead.

What is passive parenting? In a nutshell, passive parenting is parenting that utilizes very little parental guidance. When adults disengage themselves from the normally active role required in parenting, they cease to be active parents and move themselves into the passive parenting mode.

There are plenty of phrases we often hear regarding children and their behaviors. "It's a stage. She'll grow out of it." "He's a boy. It's natural for him to act that way." These are passive phrases designed to effectively remove the parent from the responsibility of correcting bad behaviors. Unfortunately, this sort of parenting has become more and more prevelant in today's society.

According to Richard Vantrease (Marriage and Family therapist), a passive parent:

* Makes wishful and questioning rather than assertive statements - “I wish there were less yelling and arguing. Is that asking too much? What is the matter with you kids?

* Allows their children to cross boundaries - “I’m tired of your constant whining. It gets on my nerves. I want you to stop it. OK?”

* Is prone to begging, pleading, bribing and whining - “If you kids would just do what I ask then I wouldn’t have to repeat myself.”

* Removes the blame from themselves and places it on the children - “I have spoiled-rotten, entitled children. They expect everything to be handed to them.”

What is the solution? A transition from passive to assertive parenting is the route to take. Being assertive does not equate to being aggressive or threatening. Instead, assertive parenting incorporates the use of statements that do not place blame and are direct. Assertive statements are designed in such a way as to not leave room for questioning and will often use the word "I".

Some examples:

* "I want the arguing to stop now."

* "When you whine, it really bothers me. I would prefer you use your regular voice when you would like something."

* "If you do not finish your homework in the alloted time, I will have no choice but to eliminate television time."

These statements all clearly indicate what needs to be accomplished without resorting to aggressive or threatening behavior. Often children like to push back and see what the limits really are and, in these cases, establishing clearly what the consequences will gives them the guidelines they require.

Clearly, if one has already established a history of passive parenting, making the change to being an assertive parent won't come overnight. Mistakes are prone to happen and, as humans, we tend to fall back onto what feels comfortable. But the cycle of passive parenting leads to abused and harassed parents - a cycle that should be broken as soon as possible. As parents, we'll never be perfect. The very best we can do is practice.

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Comments (2)

Great advice. We have a 5-year old. Boy. -'Nuff said?? :-o

shikha somani

its is very benificial for us... and it is very intrusting to know more and more about the topic

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