Parenting teenagers is a bit of a mine field as we all know. In my work as a life coach in London, I have seen my clients struggling to cope with the challenges they face of this parenting phase. What we are aiming for is to bring up young people who are flexible, confident and caring and who are able to sustain good social relationships. In order to do this, we need to be loving, we need to offer security and we need to be authoritative. We need to be The Organic Free Range parents, according to the parenting model of psychologist Dr Nihara Krause, founder of Stem4. Dr Krause has identified eight main parenting styles which we’ve probably all displayed touches of from time to time. Have a little think about which is your dominant parenting style and whether it’s working for your teenager. Is it likely to result in that well-rounded young person we are aiming for?
First off there’s The Dictator. This is the All or Nothing approach, the black and white thinker. This leads to submissive children with low confidence who are fearful of making mistakes. They have a fear of individuality and have a problem with authority figures. Then there’s The Permissive. This leads to children with no boundaries who have difficulty accepting rules. They also have problems with authority figures. They can be open to making trouble. They are risk takers but not in a good way. They have difficulty keeping themselves safe.
Children from The Cuckoos (or The Abandoners) can become ‘lone rangers’. They can be lonely and insecure, have poor self-esteem and are vulnerable to addiction. They attach themselves to other families. The Kangaroos (also called The Bubble Wrappers) have difficulty separating from their offspring which results in these young people becoming overly dependent and over reliant. Then there are The Helicopter parents, hovering anxiously. This leads to children with difficulty using their own initiative and who have a fear of failure. The Tigers (The Determined) style of parenting results in children who develop a distorted sense of self worth and have difficulty adjusting socially. Parents who are high achievers, Dr Krause has called The Alphas. Their children become highly competitive, are perfectionists and their sense of self worth is based on their performance. They can develop depression and are vulnerable to stress. The Organic Free Range parents is where we need to aim for. We need to be loving, yet authoritative and offer our teenagers a safe and secure environment in which to unfold. This will lead to well balanced young people with good social relationships, who are flexible, confident and caring.