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Ch 4: Setting Limits with Empathy

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  • Ch 4: Setting Limits with Empathy


    Page 167-168: "Because the term authoritative is so close to authoritarian and often confuses parents, I prefer to call this style "empathy with limits"...


    Permissive parents are low on demandingness, but high on responsiveness. Authoritarian parents are the opposite: high on demandingness, but low on responsiveness. Neglectful parents are low on both. And (authoritative) parents who use empathy with limits -- no surprise! -- are high on both responsiveness and demandingness...


    The parent who uses empathy with limits has expectations that are just as high as those of the authoritarian parent and is just as much of a leader with her children. There's more partnership, understanding, listening, and respect, however, so the child doesn't go on the defensive and is more likely to step into the responsibility. The difference between permissiveness and empathy with limits is the high expectations and better regulation of our own anxiety, so that our child is supported to tackle what's hard. And the difference in parental involvement should be obvious - parents using empathy with limits are the most involved of any of the parenting styles. Which is probably why they're happier parents."


    Thinking of the above, which style of parenting did you grow up with? What recent example do you have in which you were a parent who was "empathy with limits"?


    I grew up with the authoritarian style of parenting. You had to do things perfectly or you were punished the authoritarian style. I believe this is why when I reached the teenage years I began to act out in a very destructive way to myself and to the family.


    A recent example of us setting limits is with her after-school snack. She tends to eat a lot of snacks after school and I was noticing that she was taking 2 helpings of Sunchips and then a helping of Goldfish. Not the best snack options. So I let her know that from now she could have one helping of Sunchips that needed to be followed up with an orange or two, grapes, and cheese. At first she cried and said "Please mommy can I have two" but I held firm letting her know that it was for her health that I was setting this limit. After about 3 minutes she served her one helping and then asked for an orange after her one helping without complaining or showing any disrespect.


    I was very proud of her and let her know that I appreciated her treating her body well by choosing healthier snack options.
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