Buddy Parenting

As the only sister of a new mother, I’m the frequent recipient of homeschooling ideas, ‘quiet time’ tips, and parenting advice. This might seem odd to the casual observer, but its slowly become a way for the two of us (my sister & I) to bond in the last few months, while she’s been busy with the baby, and I’ve been swamped with last minute college commitments.

One discussion that we kept coming back to over and over again was parenting styles. We were both observant children while growing up, and knew what particular directives we would not enforce with our children, because we were never comfortable with them ourselves. But parenting styles as a whole was something we were still undecided about.

There’re a lot of new fad methods and ideas floating around these days, and its a struggle for new parents to figure their way out. One, for instance, is the whole ‘buddy parenting’ style, where the parent treats the child as his/her ‘buddy’.

As a psych student, parenting styles was something we covered in class, and from the discussions we had, I’ve realised that its a toss up on which way this particular style will go. There is a very large possibility for it to go the way of permissive parenting, which is not a great idea.

Permissive parents don’t offer much discipline. They tend to be lenient and may only step in when there is a serious problem. Permissive parents may take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They may encourage their children to talk with them about their problems but may not discourage a lot of bad behaviors.

About.com

Children who are products of permissive parenting are more likely to increase levels of aggression over time, higher rates of misconduct, and lower rates of academic achievement. (Source)

However, I do personally find myself liking the basic idea behind the whole system, which is to be friends with your child. There’s nothing wrong with that; responsive parents are the best, but its important to know where to draw the line. And what a fine line it is. That line, in fact, is probably what differentiates permissive parenting from authoritative parenting, because otherwise, the two have a lot in common. They are both emotionally supportive, responsive and nurturing, but the difference lies in the amount of discipline the exert, and the amount of responsibility they demand.

But enough about parenting styles in theory. Its always interesting to see things in action. That way you know if they really work.

Well, I can say that the buddy parenting system does work, and wonderfully, if done right.

My mother is an example.

My mum is one of the strongest women I know, and I respect her immensely. She’s always been there, guiding me, pushing me to be more than I think I can, and teaching me things at every stage. Just the other day, for example, she made me go and deposit some money in the bank even though I’d never done it before in my life (I didn’t even know I had to know my account number to deposit cash *facepalm*). She’s always been a fan of the tough parenting school, and I’ve never had any complaints. Okay, that’s not true. Maybe a couple, but not anything substantial.

However, in between her moments of being a parent to me, she’s always found time to be my friend too. We’ve bonded over different things as I’ve grown up, but one of our ‘friend’ moments hasn’t changed all that much through the years.

One thing you should probably know is that my mum is a huge chocolate lover. Like, of massive proportions. She will do anything for one (as evidenced below).

So one day, when I was about 9 or 10 (if I remember right), I came to stand near my mum while she was talking on the phone. I grabbed a Quality Street toffee from the box, and settle on her lap to munch while she spoke to her friend.

I took a bite, and chewed on it for a while.

I swallowed.

I moved the toffee towards my mouth for another bite, when– Whoosh!

Out of my hands it jumped and into Mum’s mouth, all while I was watching open mouthed.

She winked at me, and continued talking to her friend.

That was the first of our ‘chocolate wars’, and they’ve continued over the years, until now. Its never spoken of aloud, its never mentioned after the deed is done, but there’s always an unspoken agreement of sorts that we will have a chocolate war every now and then.

Oh, and I won the last one.

This post is written for the Kellogg’s Chocos contest on IndiBlogger.

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