Styles of Parenting: Life&Style: Too Severe
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Styles of Parenting: Which one do they choose? Madonna
Madonna’s kids aren’t allowed to watch TV or eat ice cream. And if Lourdes, 14, leaves clothes on the floor, “we put [them] in a bag, and she has to earn [them] back,” Madge has said.
Parenting Style: Too severe. Madonna’s style of parenting is way too restrictive,” says [child psychologist Vicki] Panaccione.
Here’s Dr. Vicki’s full response:
Scenario I: She doesn’t let her kids watch TV or look at magazines.
Madonna’s uses one of the many styles of parenting that is way too restrictive, and overly-punitive. I feel that it is much better to teach kids how to make good decisions rather than place so many restrictions on them they live in a decision-free bubble. It is not realistic to think that the kids will never watch TV or look at magazine. Rather than forbid them, it is far better to teach them how to make good selections about what to watch and read. If kids aren’t allowed to do things, they tend to grow up and go hog-wild in college, for instance.
Also, restricting kids from normal activities can result in social delays, and ostracizing from other kids. It’s really abnormal to be 5 and 9 and even more so 10 and 14 and not be familiar with TV and magazines. This could cause ridicule by peers, and also a naiveté in the kids that they are not able to relate well with classmates. It’s a totally unrealistic scenario.
No matter which styles of parenting adults choose, it’s always better to allow choices and freedom within clear boundaries. There’s a difference between wanting to restrict kids from watching violence than watching nothing so that there is no danger of inappropriate exposure. Mom will not always be able to keep the kids in such restricted an environment…the kids are heading for trouble. If the kids want to watch a certain show, do what I did…agree to watch the show and see if I think it’s appropriate for my son. In the case of South Park, I did not give my consent when he was 11 or 12. But he did have lots of other shows he could watch. Did this hamper him socially? A bit…because the other kids were watching it. That’s what I mean by monitoring and checking things out. It’s OK to put reasonable limits on what kids watch, etc…but just giving blanket restrictions are not healthy.
Scenario II: Milk and ice cream are also off-limits. “When Daddy gets home, they get chocolate,” Madonna said. “I’m the disciplinarian.”
The thing I am most concerned about here is the reference to the very different decisions made by mom and dad. In all the styles of parenting you could think of, it is important that parents share the same basic values and come up with rules together so that they are enforced by both parents. In the case of milk and ice-cream, kids learn that dad is the easy-going parent, and mom is the meanie. That’s not fair to parents or kids. And, the kids are being raised in confusion—is milk and ice cream OK or not? Why are they OK with dad and not mom? What’s the lesson?
Scenario III: If Lourdes leaves dirty clothes on the floor, “we take all of her clothes and put them in a bag, and she has to earn all of her clothes back by being tidy,” Madonna said. “She wears the same outfit every day to school until she learns her lesson.”
This is appalling. The only scenario I could think of where I would support such harsh treatment was if Lourdes had been told 100 other times, and this is last resort discipline. Even then, it’s sketchy. How does Lourdes get to show she has learned her lesson if she has to wear the same outfit? Does she only take up the dirty clothes on the floor or all her clothes—this would be even more of an over-reaction and harsh measure. Being 14 and having to wear the same outfit everyday would be pure torture. 14 year old girls are at a very delicate age of transition; the same outfit is like social suicide and cause for ridicule. I do not feel that causing your child shame, embarrassment and ridicule are ever good methods of discipline, no matter which styles of discipline anyone might choose.
What do you think about Madonna’s Parenting style? Is it too severe?