Styles of Parenting: Life&Style: Too Inflexible
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Styles of Parenting: Which one do they choose? Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba admits she’s strict with daughter Honor, 2. “When it’s time for her to eat, whether she’s coloring or whatever, it’s time to eat. [If she] freaks out and cries, then she gets a timeout.”
Parenting style: Too inflexible. “It’s important to give Honor a warning,” says [child psychologist Vicki] Panaccione.
Here’s Dr. Vicki’s full response:
Scenario I: Alba says: “She’s very independent and likes to do everything that I tell her not to — so I have to lay down the law,” Alba has said of daughter Honor. “I’m very strict with her. When it’s time for her to eat, whether she’s coloring or doing whatever … it’s time to eat”
Dr. Vicki’s comments:
Honor is 2—and many parents using different styles of parenting call this stage the “Terrible 2’s.” But I call this stage the “Terrific 2’s” because it’s the time of kids’ beginning to seek independence. At 2, kids can walk and get around well, they can talk and make their needs known and they have an insatiable curiosity for exploration. It’s not necessarily that she wants to do what she’s told not to do…it’s just that she wants to explore. Parents often tell these kids ‘no’ a lot, and then wonder why the kids say ‘no’ to them!
Styles of parenting that involve “Laying down the law” are very detrimental at this age and can actually hinder child development. She needs to do what she is told, follow rules, etc. Except with this age, using redirection, humor and lots of flexibility work best. And, very strict does not have to mean totally invalidating who she is. If Honor is coloring, it’s important to give her a warning that coloring time is almost over, and then help her transition. It’s very inconsiderate to just interrupt her activity and demand she immediately do something else. Is that the way Jessica wants Honor to treat other people? Everything parents do is a model for their kids. I understand that if it’s dinner time that it’s time to finish up the activity and come to the table. I agree. Yet, there are ways to facilitate this transition without having to totally invalidate what the child is doing, and/or that she has a mind of her own.
Scenario II: “[Honor] freaks out and cries and then she gets a time out if she cries for no reason,” says Alba. “I’ll say, ‘Honor, what are you doing?’ And she says, ‘Crying for no reason.’ And then she stops because she doesn’t want to go to time out.”
Dr. Vicki’s comments:
Children don’t cry for no reason—it’s just that many adults using different styles of parenting don’t always recognize the crying for what it is…and expression of something. In this case, according to the article, she freaks out and cries because Jessica has just told her it’s dinner and she’s apparently had no transition time. And, that’s a very good reason to cry…she is being forced to stop doing what she has been doing and wants to do in order to do what Mommy wants her to do. That’s a very good reason…how could Jessica think she’s crying ‘for no reason?” She responds with, “Crying for no reason,” because that’s what she’s heard her mother say, so that’s what she’s learned to say. But it’s not true. She had a darn good reason to cry and she’s being taught to discount, ignore and lie about her own feelings.
Scenario III: Despite her stubborn streak, Honor has been an easy aby, due mostly in part to Alba’s secret sleeping ritual. “She goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up at 9 a.m. I don’t play with that.”
Dr. Vicki’s response:
This is a good thing. Kids need structure and routine. At 4, she also needs a lot of sleep. 14 hours is a lot of sleep—the number of hours may start to diminish, but having the routine is great. Sleep is very important for kids—many aren’t getting enough or they are going to bed at different times, thereby effecting their sleep cycle. So, consistency in sleep is great. Kudos.
What do you think about this parenting style? Is it too inflexible?