Parenting is the most contradictory and confusing subject of discussion. Each parent has their own opinion about it. Yet, there are clearly two groups of parents, which always argue with each other: yes-parents versus no-parents (or permissive versus authoritarian). They argue about the degree of external freedom allowed to children. But arguments continue even within each group because of the many other facets of the child-parent relationship. Some parents are confused by the different levels of extremes inside their own group and try to derive common sense by combining both theories. We would like to describe two other types of parents, who differ by their attitude toward children.
Children are interesting to parents of the first type. We will call these parents detny parents. When giving an apple to a child a detny parent would enjoy watching the child eat the apple.
All other parents look at children as objects for teaching. When giving an apple to a child such parents would watch to make sure the child says thank you. When meeting a school boy the only thing such parents would ask is “How are your grades?” (What else is there to talk about?) Detny parents, on the other hand, find plenty of topics to talk about to children, therefore they can talk to them for hours and never get bored.
Detny parents don’t consider themselves perfect. So they don’t expect children to be perfect either. Detny parents admit that they make mistakes. And they let children make their mistakes as well. They also don’t try to convince anyone that they are always right.
Not detny parents are concerned about their rightousness and are defensive when children address these parents weaknesses. Parents perceive this as an attack to their authority and a power struglle ensues. Parents are afraid of losing control over the children and eventually this leads to fear of children. Detny parents, on the other hand, are not afraid of children, because there is no reason for power struggles.
Detny parents don’t blame children. They also don’t blame anybody else for their life’s misfortunes; they are responsible for their own lives. However, they don’t expect children to be responsible for children’s lives, because children are still children. And children eventually learn about responsibility from these parents.
These ideas are taken from Simon Soloveychik’s book Parenting For Everyone.