After reading my "Kitty Couture" column this week, BloggingStocks producer Amey Stone asked that I write more about what parents can do to encourage healthy character formation in their children. It's a wonderful question that we don't often articulate. It's right at the center of what good parents are doing. Thank you for asking, Amey. It got me thinking.
In the early 1970's, when I was first working as a clinician with young children, three books combined to form my viewpoint about a parent's job.
The first is Peoplemaking, written by Virginia Satir, one of the founders of the family therapy movement. Satir talks about three parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive and authoritative. The authoritarian parent is the boss and obedience is a high priority. It's the ,"Do it because I said so" school of parenting. The permissive parent places a child's creativity and self-determination high and asserts little leadership. Finally, the authoritative parent leads by example and explanation. She is the boss 100% of the time but 99% of the time her children don't have to know it. Door number 3.