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What kind of father or mother do you think you are? Depending on the words we address to children, we can communicate an attitude of listening or, on the contrary, of ignorance and inattention.
As analyzed by the psychologist K. Steede in his book The ten most common parenting mistakes and how to avoid them, there is a typology of parents based on the answers they offer to their children and which lead to so-called closed conversations, those in which there is no place for the expression of feelings or, if there are, they are denied or underestimated.
1- Authoritarian parents
- They fear losing control of the situation and use orders, shouts or threats to force the child to do something.
- They take very little into account the needs of the child.
- Parents who make children feel guilty.
- Parents interested (consciously or unconsciously) in their child knowing that they are smarter and have more experience.
- Parents who use negative language, underestimating the actions or attitudes of their children.
- Parents who use comments such as 'don't run, you'll fall', 'you see, I already told you, that mechano tower was too high and would fall' or, 'you're an incorrigible mess'. They are apparently neutral phrases that all parents use at some time.
2- Parents who downplay things
- Parents who downplay their children's problems, especially if they really think their problems are little compared to their own.
- Parents who make comments such as 'bah, don't worry, I'm sure you'll be friends again tomorrow!', 'It won't be so bad, I'm sure you approve, you've been preparing all week', they intend to immediately reassure a child or a young man in the middle of a conflict. But the result is an almost immediate rejection of the adult, who is perceived as little or not receptive to listening.
3- The parent lecturers
- Parents who make the word 'should' the most used in 'lecture or sermon' situations.
- Parents who talk a lot but do not give examples in their attitudes.
Finally, we must mention the number of situations in which communication is synonymous with silence (although it seems paradoxical). In the life of a child, as in that of any person, there are times when the most appropriate relationship is through company and silent support. Before a father's sermon, it is preferable, sometimes, a pat on the back loaded with complicity and affection, an attitude that shows availability and, at the same time, respect for the pain or negative feeling that the other feels.
- Ministry of Education and Culture-Spain
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