How parenting styles are influenced by modern day parenting challenges

by | May 5, 2020 | Blog

We are living in very interesting times and one thing that has totally changed the landscape of parenting, is the digital era we are all now living in.  Most parents tell me this is having a huge impact on their parenting style, as they have no blueprint for dealing with this.  Our parents didn’t have to navigate this so modern parents are having to learn not just how to use technology but how to deal with all the challenges that come with having access to technology 24/7 when you have children, who are learning it way faster than you!

 No-one is handed a parenting book or manual when they become parents.

However, most of us have had a download from the way we were parented (albeit with several viruses and out of date programs that need deleting, rebooting and regular updating!).  The screens our parents worried about were TVs and perhaps some computer games, but nothing as addictive as the platforms especially created and designed to keep us all tuned in.  

 Some of you may be familiar with the 3 parenting styles (interestingly enough, these 3 styles are also the same ones related to anger!).  The styles are authoritarian (aggressive), permissive (passive) and authoritative (assertive).

 With anger, there is a fourth style known as passive-aggressive.  In terms of parenting, this can show up as bribery, rewards, punishments and manipulation.

 When dealing with the consumption of technology, this can become the go-to parenting style.  For e.g. if you read for 15 minutes, then you can go on technology; you can’t have any technology today because you behaved so badly. The thing is, even if you are assertive generally in life and in other aspects of parenting, it can be so easy to resort to this style, especially as it can work well…short term.  

 If you remember when we were children, our parents did exactly the same when we spent hours watching TV or playing computer games.  

 There are no easy answers or solutions to this.  The most useful thing to do is to play the long game, rather than the short-term.  That means that rather than focusing on what can happen immediately or today/ tomorrow, you lay the foundations for the longer term. This applies to any aspect of life’s dilemmas.

 Our fast-paced world creates a lot of urgency in us to deal with everything right now and we get caught up in the daily demands that zap our energy. And so we resort to short-term solutions, which long-term zap even more of our energy.

 If we take the long game approach, the urgency reduces and we come to any situation with more emotional resources rather than fear and panic. We come from a place of calm and resilience, knowing that there are several opportunities to learn for both parents and children.

 If one conversation around technology hasn’t gone well, it’s not the end of the world, as we will learn from that to inform our next conversations. And that’s the thing, it’s not just about having one short conversation, where we conclude what will or will not happen.

 It’s about conversations that focus on continuous connection building, discussing family values and having fun. This is definitely not a quick fix and will take time, but that investment will reap a very different family dynamic.