A Tale of Two Parenting Styles That Determine Who You Become

October 20, 2013
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Before I begin to explain why you are who you are, allow me to first clarify that the two results of these parenting styles are the absolute extremities, and don’t think that I would be calling you that kind of person, I’m just showing you the ends of the scale so that you can decide for yourself where you land.

Now allow me to begin by telling you about my experience in this field. I was raised by two fairly religious parents who began to demand more and more discipline as I grew up. This made me a cold and calculating, somewhat cynical character and I may refer to this later on. This is a perspective of one of two general kinds of parenting styles that there are.

A common philosophical question comes to mind: Do men make the world? Or does the world make men? The answer is that men make men. As Willy Wonka will verify, it’s all your parents fault. No matter how much you deny it, you are who you are because of the way you were raised and the place you were brought up in. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is entirely due to your situation that you are who you are, but it also has to do with what your personality demands.

As I grew up, I was quite lazy. My early childhood took place in a school that had you learning with your hands and going on field trips and such, so we ended up learning without doing much work. I was intelligent but lazy nonetheless. I then moved to another school, in another place. The school that I had begun at had us actually working to learn. Not having been accustomed to working, I took to procrastinating rather than buckling down and doing my homework.

When my parents saw the decline in grades, knowing I was intelligent, they pressured me to do better and to gain more discipline. So I spent my time in that school slacking off and with them trying to get me to do better by becoming more and more strict in my requirements before getting spoiled. I continued not to care and they continued to nag. That was until I entered high school.

Upon entering high school, I suddenly understood the gibberish they had been speaking and I came to understand just how I was shaping my future. I finally snapped and became academically intelligent and I began to pursue things that would actually further me in life rather than trying to become a musician (I have no musical talent).

On the plus side I became more confident and my performance in school and in general increased in my path to perfection. The problem with the more disciplining parenting style is that though on the exterior it may seem like this person has it all, the emotional toll is where the ship sinks. You may become cold and calculating, a sarcastic jerk or other titles of the like. Of course, being a cold-hearted jerk means that while you will dwell in the generally more intelligent social circles (given that you don’t become a nerd), and that you may appear to have it all and be generally comfortable, you will end up being miserable. Life becomes a little less meaningful. The more conservative, disciplining parental style may have you end up on that side of the scale.

On the opposite end of the scale is a generally more liberal style of parenting. With this style, comes the ‘do as they please’ style of parenting. This comes less with the emotional problems and it can be likened to the style of parenting that was shown by Atticus Finch in the noel To Kill a Mockingbird. We all read that in school at one point or another and if you were one of the lucky few who didn’t have to sit through your English teacher trying to imitate a southern accent, all you have to know is that Atticus Finch is a generally wise man.

Atticus seemed to have arrived at the conclusion that children will learn most about life and become respectable adults if their given the freedom to do whatever they wish with only the most vague or simple of guidelines. Basically, Atticus leaves his children to get out of trouble so that they can learn to bale themselves out. Why a wise man would give his nine-year old child absolute and complete freedom to get in as much trouble as she pleased, we may never know, but what we do find is that Jean-Louise Finch turns out to be generally alright.

However, there comes the question: what if the children are not exposed to enough consequence to not do it again? Whereas Atticus did put in a punishment if his children did something wrong, some parents do not. If the police slaps a thief on the wrist and just says “don’t do it again,” would the thief not steal again?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that those kids are criminals; I’m just representing the extreme. There is the upside though, in whatever way they choose to do so, those kids are usually happy and not depressed. The touchy-feely way of raising kids makes sure that they don’t have emotional problems, because those kids are raised in what is thought of as the generally more modern way that corresponds with the belief that emotions will carry you throughout your life. Which is half true, but being happy won’t get you a high salary.

To use myself as an example again: take a look at my friends. My best friends are anti-social, sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, anger management plagued, dysfunctional and split personality disordered. I myself am a sociopath, or at least that’s what the psychiatrist diagnosed me as. Where those given the freedom to experience the world as they please are generally happy and without personality or psychological disorder, I now get nagged by my once disciplining parents to have more emotion and to spend more time with family that drives me nuts.

All in all, discipline equals dysfunction and no discipline equals, well, no discipline. It’s quite apparent which kids come from which side of the scale but parents are not usually completely on one side of the scale. To relate back to Atticus Finch, the key to parenting is to find a balance because it is, after all, a scale. However, we have come to the conclusion that nobody’s perfect and so perfect balance is near impossible, and until we find this god child, whose parents will become rich publishing books on, we just have to learn to live with ourselves the way we are.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

KerenYoli said...
Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm
i like it. this is great. my parents are like that too  
Site Feedback