Styles of Parenting: Life&Style: Too Severe

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Communication, Discipline, Family, Parenting

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Styles of Parenting 6aStyles of Parenting lsThis week on newsstands everywhere, Life&Style Weekly enlisted Dr. Vicki as their parenting expert to comment on the styles of parenting of several celeb parents.

Styles of Parenting:  Which one do they choose? Madonna

Life&Style synopsis:

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.

SStyles of Parenting 6bcenario 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?

Please feel free to leave a comment about styles of parenting in the box below.


6 Responses to “Styles of Parenting: Life&Style: Too Severe”
  1. I agree that when you restrict a child, the results would very likely be going “hog wild” in college..or more likely as a teenager when you’re not looking, combined with a high amount of distrust and anger towards that parent. As another suggestion, which has been used by many parents worldwide (though not as well known as it should be) is the approach of first expressing empathy to the feelings and needs of your kids.. (e.g., are you afraid that if you don’t watch what other kids watch, other kids won’t want to be friends with you and you need good friends?). You may need to keep asking, guessing till they tell you that you “get” it. Just the process of trying to “get” whats alive for them understood and valued is huge! It show you care what matters to them. Then you can express your feelings and needs (e.g., I’m afraid that if you watch shows with lots of violence or people talking violently to each other, it will make violence or that way of being in the world seem OK, I need to contribute positively to your life). Then you can ask them if they would be willing to brainstorm some strategies to meet both needs. Perhaps you can watch the shows together and then talk about them together later. The reality is that media like that will always be there…finding a non-threatening way to be discerning about them, focusing on the positive, not be affected by the negative qualities. Also, kids can learn to judge for themselves what they like or dislike in a show based on what qualities they value..not just based on what’s popular amongst their current friends. Bottom line…finds a way to meet everyone’s needs without compromising anyone’s needs and your kids will trust you and be open to your guidance for life…and will give to you and your needs with joy…simply restrict them…and they will likely resent you and do the opposite of what you restrict when they feel you are not looking.

  2. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    Thank you for your thorough comments. I absolutely agree that empathizing and validating what our kids are feeling is parmount to good communication. That being said, I have found that asking yes/no questions are actually conversation stoppers. So, instead of asking, “Are you afraid that…?” that the more effective approach is to use a comment such as, “It sounds like you may be worried that…” It’s more open-ended for a response with elaboration. It may evoke a response such as, “No, I’m not worried, I’m…” in an effort to correct an inaccurate response.

  3. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    Thank you for your comment. My goal is to do just that—provide info that parents and grandparents will be able to use to help their kids. Watch for more articles to come on ezinearticles.

  4. noonoo says:

    I agree….my parents have and are currently doing all of these things to me and when I ask them where they got the idea they always say ohh madonna did all this to her daughter and they’re rich so it must of been even worse on her!!…..Well that’s not true! I hate this style of discipline.!!!!!!!!I always am extremely depressed and they are always asking me what’s up and they never realize it is becausee of them…however they go over board and make me wear the same outfit for everything I do whether it be 70’s in math or misbehaving…I hate this!!!!!!!What can I do??????

  5. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    Thank you for writing in! I am so sorry that you are so depressed. It sounds as though you may need outside help! Try talking first with your school counselor or religious leader. Or, ask your parents if you could go see a therapist to help you with your mood? They may be willing to take you if they think it can improve your grades and behavior. Once you are with a good therapist, I suggest a child psychologist, then that person can address the discipline and parenting issues as part of your treatment. Good luck and please get help!


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  1. says:

    Styles of Parenting: Life&Style: Too Severe : Better Parenting Institute…

    This week on newsstands everywhere, Life&Style Weekly enlisted Dr. Vicki as their parenting expert to comment on the styles of parenting of several celeb parents….