Control and Warmth
The authoritative parenting style is an obvious choice, but like many things in psychology, it is easier said than done. Find new ways to add control and warmth to your parenting. Here’s how:
Go against Your Trends
What parenting style do you gravitate towards? Are your overly warm? Try to balance it by being slightly colder and less affectionate. Are you overly permissive? Attempt to decrease flexibility and be more rigid. Gravity will always pull you back to your trends. Going against the trend will add more balance.
When exploring new balance, take small steps rather than far leaps. Remember, the opposite of a bad thing is not necessarily a good thing. Your child will experience a period of adjustment, but this is needed for long-term benefit.
Take out Emotion
Some of the most problematic parenting is done when emotions are high. You probably ask your children to stop and think before acting, and you should do the same. Depression causes you to think more negatively and perceive others in less desirable ways. Work hard to maintain objectivity in parenting. One way to accomplish this is by having written expectations of yourself and your child.
If the child brings home a failing grade or has a period of undesirable behavior, make the consequences clear ahead of time. That way, the consequence is not dependent on your mood or energy that day. It provides your child with a sense of control over their fate, which older children enjoy.
Reinforce, Don’t Punish
Too often, parents fall into the trap of only using punishment to change behavior. This strategy has several drawbacks. First, punishments only show the child what not to do. Second, the relationship between the child and the person giving the punishment will be damaged. Reinforcing desirable behaviors by giving something good to the child or taking away something bad (like having to do a chore) allows the child to know what to do.
Also, the child will be thankful and appreciative to the person giving the reinforcement, improving the relationship. Punishment does have its place but is mostly reserved for situations where the child risks their own safety or the safety of others.
If you can successfully remove emotion and add reinforcements to your parenting, you can have success being open and honest with your children. Some days, depression will win the battle and assertively communicating this to your child will allow them to understand your situation.
Establish a plan of action for when your depression overwhelms you complete with a schedule of events and a menu for meals. This will enable your child to have structure even when symptoms are high.
Effectively parenting a child is one of the greatest accomplishments a person can have. Creating a new life and working to foster development, physical health and mental health in him is such a worthwhile endeavor. Like many things that are worthwhile, it is also challenging.
Combat depression’s impact on parenting by following the tips above. Taking care of yourself while balancing warmth with control will create the success you seek.