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Fear based parenting manifests itself differently depending on an individual’s parenting skills and personality. It all depends on the types of fears most prominent in the parent’s mind as well as their own history, upbringing, and economic means. Due to this, parenting skills play on those fears.
Fear is the enemy of trusting and respectful parenting. With the rise in social media, parents have become more and more aware of the dangers around us every day, and also more judgmental of other people’s lives, decisions and parenting skills. Parents today spend their days and nights worrying about everything from school shootings to whether or not their children will get into college; unfortunately, many of these parents not only worry about these things, but also feel it is their responsibility to take care of these problems for their child which can lead to problems with personal responsibility, self-esteem, and general knowledge and problem solving for the children in the future.
Various Types of Fear Based Parenting
Helicopter parenting means being overprotective and generally over-involved in the child’s life. Helicopter parents are convinced that danger is all around and it is not a matter of whether or not they trust their child, but rather they never trust those around their child. Because of this, parents hover over their children and become too involved in every decision they make.
Oftentimes, with this type of parenting parents have a hard time letting go, even when the child is an adult. This causes the child to always need help even as an adult since they have never had the opportunity to make their own choices. In turn, the individual as a child didn’t learn the proper coping skills needed in life. This continues into adulthood as the parents frequently want to know every single detail about their adult child’s life and offer them both unwanted and unsolicited advice and opinions.
Snow Plow Parenting
With this parenting skill, the parent is taking charge and deals with the child’s everyday obstacles instead of allowing the child to deal with it themselves. This is basically protective parenting but to a max. These parents use their wealth, status and inflated sense of self-worth to get whatever they want for their child. They place great value on outward appearance and success and they use their money and so-called privilege to get their child into the best schools or high paying jobs as examples.
These snowplow parents are willing to spend tons of money as a bribing method with learning institutions, counselors who write college entrance essays, doctors, etc. They bribe their child’s teachers and coaches to lie about their child to help them get into the best colleges. Worst of all, they hide this type of parenting skill they have developed from their child making the child believe all their successes came from themselves. These parents not only clear paths and open doors for their child but also boost their child’s ego as well, but not necessarily in a good way.
Fuel Injector Parenting
These parents make the child believe that life is a competition. Basically, it’s always a race to win. Parents may push their child into competitive activities where they spend large amounts of money for lessons as well as large amounts of time and energy taking their child to countless practices and events which encourages them to work hard to win. Most activities are not even in the child’s best interest. This is really for the parent and the competitive aspect of it.
The primary goal of this parenting skill is for the child to internalize the value of winning as well as acquire general skills such as working under pressure in order to win. Sadly, if the child has lost, the parent gives zero rewards, not even for trying. They only acknowledge and reward them if they have won and succeeded.
What these fuel injector parents don’t realize is that the real secret to success is not to beat others. It is for the child to discover themselves and what it is they love and enjoy doing the most. This is the issue with this type of fear based parenting.
The parents’ aim with tiger parenting is for the child to always win and that’s the sole purpose of life. The parent chooses the activity for the child and pushes them to practice at it for hours on end. Some methods of making them do this if they don’t want to is by screaming, threats, bribery, insults, shaming, and lies. They tell their child that they will be a disgrace to them and the family if they are any less than number one in a competition.
Usually, children of these types of parents aren’t offered free time, play dates or simply put, their own time. They are constantly being pushed to practice. These parents feel the child will not win if they are left to do things on their own. Instead of removing obstacles from their child’s life, they create obstacles for them. They deflate their egos instead of inflating them. These parents feel they are more ‘trainers’ than ‘parents.’
Defensive parenting is where the parent is protecting themselves more than their child. They fear the judgement of others. Their aim is to reduce the negative judgement about their parenting skills. For example, they fear they will be seen as a neglecting parent if they allow their child to walk alone to school or play themselves at the park. Society’s negative judgment is what causes these parents to do things they believe are observed as “being better than” so they don’t have to deal with any criticism. Even if something is better for their child, if they think they will be judged for it, they won’t do it.
Fear Based Parenting Skills
The world is dangerous and parents naturally will be concerned about the dangers and have certain parenting skills they feel are best to ‘protect’ their child. However, some parent’s over-exaggerated fear of danger takes over and makes all the life decisions for the child, never allowing them to experience life on their own terms and develop their own sense of self. Further, fear based parenting skills don’t teach children the coping skills they actually need in life.
Parents should allow their children some freedom and other opportunities so that they can learn to survive on their own in the real world. Unfortunately, many parents fall into the trap of society’s pressures and beliefs of what a “good parent” is. Parents should try as hard as they can to see what is in the best interest of their own child and help them, but not try to take over their life as though it is their own.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on PARENTING 101: FACTS ABOUT NATURE VS. NURTURE
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Sources: Psychology Today
Photo Credits: Pexels