Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Problem, problem, who owns the problem?

(yep- another text heavy post!)

Remember that awesome parenting class that I was telling you about the other night? Well here's finally why I liked it so much (and wrote more notes on it than I have since my college days).

This class categorizes parenting into 3 categories:

(1) Helicopter parents (who hover, rescue, and protect)
(2) Drill Sergeants ("Do it! do it now, or else!")
(3) Consultants (are there to give advice and let the child make the decision, with the idea that they will let the child make as many mistakes as possible when it doesn't harm the child).

Now, I'm not a mom yet- but I do have a mom and know a number of moms personally (seriously). Naturally, I think that mothers tend to be more of "helicopter" parents. Meaning that mothers have a need to be needed and will do pretty whatever they're kids running toward them with a problem want them to - because it fulfills that need. However, the message that "helicopter" parents are telling their children are "you need me to protect you" and "you can't make it in life without me". The instructor of this class talked about how moms want to serve, but when that service causes a child's dependance, then its not service at all.

So. Why did I like this so much? Well, the next point discussed that night was how to distinguish a child's problem and if its the child's problem (in my opinion - the majority of the time) and when its the parent's problem (and again my opinion - the minority of the time).

For example: a child shoots off their mouth at school (child's problem) vs. child shoots off their mouth at the parents too (the parent's problem now). Or the child's room is a dsiaster area (the child's problem) or the child strews belongings throughout the house (parent's problem). Or perhaps my most favorite... (well, actually I had something written here but Brant wanted me to take this part out after the orginial post...)

Anyways, our class instructor is a vice principle of an elementary school with 7 grown kids of her own. She's had much practice with these principles (which I can now with confidence say that they are principles and not simply my opinion).

Case in point- since we don't have kids of our own to "practice" these principles on, we "practice" on other's people's kids. So on Sunday Brant's younger brother had come over to watch the last session of General Conference, which we enjoyed his company. After it was over, we put a frozen lasagna into the oven to cook- which would take a good hour to be ready. So, we asked his brother if he wanted to stay and wait for dinner, or if he wanted us to take him back to his college dorm where he could eat right away at the cafeteria. Our conversation went something like this:

Us: Do you want stay and wait for another hour for dinner to cook and eat with us or do you want to go back to your dorm to eat now?

AK- I don't care.

Us- Neither do we.

AK- No, seriously, I don't care- you guys decide.

(Ok- hello?? This is a no-brainer. Home cooked food or cafeteria food on a Sunday evening?? The issue here was that he wanted us to make the decision for him after we had told him that we didn't mind either way).

Us- No, seriously- its your decison and we won't make it for you. It's what we learned in this parenting class.

Silence. And then the discussion topic changes. A few minutes later...

AK- Ok, I'll stay and eat with you guys. Man, that parenting class really works...

Us = :)

P.S. Love ya, AK ;)


Rissa & John said...

Don't you just love the love and logic classes!

Aubrey said...

Hmm, good food for thought. I was trying to decide which category I fell in to. What is the 4th? Maybe I'm blind, I didn't see it. I think I can be a mix of all those categories. You guys will be such prepared parents!!!

Brant and Kristen said...

Oops- I meant 3 categories (I fixed it on the post :). Not sure if we'll be any more prepared than any other parents- but its at least nice to know the types of situations others have with their kids!

Ted;Nancy said...

Aww I wanted to know what your favorite one was. And I think everyone knew where I stood as a:) (2) Drill Sergeants ("Do it! do it now, or else!").Thats why they allways went to there soft Mom. But I have to say it was never my problem it was allways the kids problem and thats the way im allways going to remeber it :)
Its going to be so fun to sit back and watch how you all do it when the time comes:)

nancyrharrison said...

Personally, I like to think that I am a 'Counseling Helicopter Parent.' I always have commentary about what is going on. Ask my kids; I am way big into talks and speeches!
What more can I say?...:)
Love you guys whole bunches!!!

Mom said...

I'm not even going to try to guess which category I got put in, but I can faintly remember thinking how prepared I was for parenthood. . (excuse me--I've almost got the choking under control)

AK said...

I can feel the love....