What kind of parent will you be?

When you become a parent, will you follow in your parents’ footsteps or choose to do the complete opposite?

When we’re teenagers, we often declare that we’ll do things very differently to our parents when we have children. However, as we get older, many of us begin to see the value in their approach, or at least begin to empathise with the difficulties of raising children.
Whether you decide to follow in your parents’ footsteps or choose to do the complete opposite, the kind of parent you’ll be can be affected by a number of things.  

Your upbringing

Some of the lessons we learn about being parents can come through our experiences of being parented. In fact, according to the Raising Children Network, young adults often end up with a similar set of values, beliefs and behaviours to their parents, even if they appeared to think quite differently as teenagers.

Even though we might like to think that our parenting style is based on conscious decisions to do things in a particular way, much of it may be unconsciously based on what we’ve learned from our parents.

Culture and society

The way you parent can also be directly or indirectly affected by societal and cultural practises. Some cultures, for example, may consider independence and freedom of choice important in parenting, while others may place more emphasis on obedience and behaviour control.

Trusted friends and colleagues may also have an impact on the way that you parent, whether they provide specific recommendations, suggestions and advice, or whether they are role models for particular behaviours that you choose to follow.

Dad playing with son

Your personality

As well as external factors like upbringing, culture and friendships, your personality or temperament can also affect the kind of parent you are. While your beliefs or values may lead you down one parenting path, your personality may affect how you actually carry out your intentions – particularly when you’re faced with the day-to-day reality of parenting.

Your child’s personality

Your child’s personality can also impact on your intended parenting style, so sticking rigidly to preconceived ideas of what kind of parent you’ll be may not be the best approach. Instead, try to understand your child’s individual personality and adjust your parenting style to reflect this. 

It takes two

Developing your own parenting style can be complicated, so things can get even trickier when another person – your partner – is put into the mix. It can be particularly challenging if your partner is on a different page in terms of the kind of parent they want to be.
 
Try to discuss your attitudes with your partner as soon as possible. Whatever your opinions, you’ll be starting on the right foot if you can approach parenting as a team, and recognise your partner’s values and beliefs as well as your own. Remember, too, that even if you’re set on a particular parenting style, things may change when you’re faced with real-life situations.

What kind of parent will you be? Only time will tell.
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