As a parent, you have the opportunity to set the tone in your home based on the style of parenting you choose. You can choose child-centered parenting or family-centered parenting—the differences will be discussed here.
- Intensely pursue the child’s happiness, taking great strains to avoid discomfort or emotional stress for the child.
- The child receives what she wants when she wants it: no delay, no waiting.
These concepts might not sound too bad, but what happens when Mom is sick? Or when Mom & Dad want to leave the baby with a sitter? There is little-to-no freedom in this parenting plan—and the baby will not grow in to a child who understands delayed gratification or how the world works. Additionally, this sets a child up for a bad case of “me-ism”—other people will not matter to her. Her goals and needs are paramount to everyone else’s goals and needs, and the ability to look outward and understand being part of a team will be compromised.
- Keeps the baby’s needs met, but within the appropriate context of the family unit.
- The child enters in to a team-setting; she is not the center of the universe, but part of the family-team.
These concepts might not seem very different from the child-centered approach to parenting, but the results of the two methods are starkly different. Parents have the freedom to meet their child’s needs and look ahead to developing skills and abilities, as they aren’t catering to every fleeting whim or fancy a child might express. Sitters are okay for the family, as the parents will take time out to “date” and be intentional with each other. Because a baby raised in a family-centered plan understands that she is part of a team, she will learn “we-ism,” not “me-ism.” She will consider others as she grows and how her goals and needs can be met within the framework of a team—without compromising the others on the team.
You may know people on either side of these parenting styles who go overboard. That’s not what I’m advocating here; a balance must be achieved.
Remember these things:
- Life doesn’t stop because you have a baby
- Date your spouse
- Continue those loving gestures you enjoyed before your baby came along
- Invite some friends over for food and fellowship
- At the end of each day, spend 15 minutes sitting with your spouse, discussing the day’s events