We are a product of how we were raised by our parents. Some are happy, some are sad, and some are angry when they look back at the way they were reared by their parents. Some are forever grateful, some are forever drama queens (and kings), some are forever bitter because of the hatred that happened in childhood.
Then we become parents ourselves. We give it our best shot. We take the techniques that we think worked well and modify or totally change the rest. We sometimes succeed, we sometimes fail. But one thing is for sure: We want our children to turn out to be the best they can be because they are a reflection of us, their parents. We have a Filipino saying that goes, “Hindi nalalayo ang puno sa bunga.” In English “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Three General Types of Parenting.
I’m sure parents out there remember these, especially those who read up and attended talks and workshops while raising their children. Below are the general categories of parents:
- Authoritarian parents are strict, unbending and attempt to control every aspect of their children’s life. They expect obedience without questioning, use lots of harsh words, and impose harsh punishments, pain and humiliation, “Do as I say, or else…” They demand a lot from their children but somehow, they seem to take ownership of the problems because they take it upon themselves to solve the problems and their children should just carry out their solutions strictly. This kind of parenting results in children with low self esteem, who grow up as adults unable to act without directions from others. There are times when they grow up to become bullies themselves, having been bullied by their own parents.
- Permissive parents are indulgent and don’t impose their will on their children, setting rules without consequences. They are usually very kind and loving. In fact, too kind and loving that they will do everything to protect their children from any negative feelings, overdoing the parental mantra, “I only want my children to be happy.” This results in children who do not know that their actions have consequences. They grow up to be egocentric adults who lack self-control.
- Authoritative parents are firm, loving and kind and strike a balance between being strict and indulgent. They set boundaries and explain them to their children so that they appreciate the rules. They may sometimes appear as stickler for rules to the more permissive parents because they want their children to experience the consequences of their actions, as long as no real harm is inflicted. They allow their children to make choices and give age-appropriate responsibilities. Their children grow up to be independent and responsible adults.
Of course, we all strive to be authoritative parents. Even in the way we lead our work groups, our companies or a country for that matter, we strive to be number 3. And usually, the sign that tells us if we’re doing the right thing is the product. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we see our children become egocentric, we ask ourselves, “Have I been too indulgent that my children seem to think the world owe them happiness served on a silver platter?” When we see them weak and clueless about what to do with their life unless dictated upon (or the opposite, when they become bullies), we ask, “Have I been too authoritarian that they turned out this way?” Hopefully, we see them optimistic, driven, responsible and not too afraid to fail while they reach out to achieve their dreams. And if we do, we know that we have governed them well.
The most important parenting technique
To me, the most important technique is still parenting by example. Children don’t do what we tell them to do, but do what we do. No matter how many times we remind them not to do bad things like cheat, lie, curse or smoke, they will do them if they see us do them. Besides, what moral authority do we have if we do those things anyway? Do you know that young kids are so impressionable? I once read that after attending a summer camp children come home having acquired their camp master’s habits? Can you imagine what our habits do to our young kids? They need leaders and authority figures as their models.
What kind of leader do we want?
It’s hard to take away our thoughts on how we are choosing our leaders as we approach May 9. Fresh from the last presidential debates last Sunday, we are all so pumped up with our reasons for our respective choices. This could very well be the most contested presidential election in my adult life, thanks to social media, which provides us accessible channels to vent everything that we feel in this emotional endeavor. We care so much not just about the choice that we make but also the choice that others make. Some end up quarrelling with each other. You can just imagine how many “unfriendings” have occurred over the last few weeks.
Religion, the best school, favorite sports team, etc. may be heated topics of conversation, but nothing compared to our choice for the president. Why? Because if the other person opts for a religion different from yours, you’re still free to practice your own. If your friend opts to send his son to the other school, you’re still free to send yours to your perceived better school. You can continue to cheer for your favorite team. But when it comes to electing our president, we all have to live with the choice of the majority! And that’s why we care so much. But here’s a friendly reminder. Let’s all be cool and calm about this election fever. Engage in intelligent discussions without cursing, falsifying claims just to uplift your bet and damage the other. Don’t sacrifice your friendship with people you’ve known, loved and admired, just to avidly defend your bet, who might not even know you exist. Calma lang!
Having said that, it would be good to check out the above three parenting styles and apply them to governing styles that our five presidentiables are offering us right now.
What kind of parenting/governing do you want for yourself? And I say “for yourself” because as I discussed in my article Guidelines In Choosing My Next President, which I wrote three months ago when heads were still cooler, we should always start with the following questions:
- What is my Dream Philippines?
- What can I contribute to achieve this Dream Philippines? (Remember we’re all stakeholders)
- Who can best lead me?
In the same article I offered a Score Card so we can give points to each candidate on the three important characteristics of a leader:
- Energy/Ability to Empower
This time I also suggest we take a look at the three parenting/governing styles and see which one best suits us? In your quest to achieve your own version of Dream Philippines which one should it be?
- Do we need an Authoritarian President? I hope our horrible experience of decades of Martial Law has taught us our lessons well. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. A big no to an Authoritarian President! If you still have a problem with this, please read up on our history.
- Do we need a Permissive President? Some may feel that after Martial Law we couldn’t handle the freedom and find the succeeding regimes similar to permissive parents. I think it’s not so much the freedom that we suddenly got, but more of the way we treat the electorate, promising this and that meaningless dole out, the way the elected officials give in to requests for KBL (Kasal, Binyag, Libig). Isama na rin ang cake and how we put up with lawlessness among informal settlers just like permissive parents would allow their spoiled children to get away with crime just so they will not dislike them, just so they continue to get their approval and vote the way they vote – i.e. forever dependent on their elected officials. Because this dependence gives the elected officials an excuse to get kick backs justifying with, “Binibigay ko naman sa taong bayan!”
- Do we need an Authoritative President? Someone who empowers rather than promote perpetual dependence. Someone who respects the rule of law and allows us to experience the consequences of our action. Someone who could walk the talk and set the right example for us and our impressionable children.
It would be interesting to see the children of our five presidentiables. How their children are will give us valuable insights on how effective they are in governing the people they love and care for. I hope Karen Davila or any other show will feature the children of the presidentiables.
Take your pick. What kind of president do you want? Authoritarian, Permissive or Authoritative?
Let’s all pray that on May 9 we don’t just get the President that we deserve but the president that we need.
- I will speak at Kidzania on May 7, 2016 FQ: An Important 21st Century Skill at the Kidzania Parents Lounge at 9:30am. This is open to all interested parents. There is no talk fee, just pay the usual entrance fee (with or without your kid) in the morning and join our conversation. Register with Kidzania
- Marvin Fausto will speak at the FMAP’s Investment 101 for Millennials and their parents also on April 27, 2016.
- I will speak at the Financial Wellness Program of Security Bank on May 19, 2016 at 10 am and 2pm.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
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