The Words of the Saver Family

What Is Your Parenting Style?

Paul Saver
March 27, 2011

There is a good chance that you, who is reading this, is a parent to your own physical children and/or spiritual children. And if this is not the case now it probably will be in the future.

For years I held some grudges against my parents for the way I was parented. After I joined the church I came to the conclusion that my parents and pretty much all parents do the best they can to be parents given their level of intelligence (intellectual, emotional etc), life experience, how they were parented, education and so forth.

Some parents tend to think that parenting is something that comes naturally. To some extent this is true. However, whatever our level, we can always "inherit and develop" and become better and more effective in what I would call perhaps the most important role that you and I will ever take on. ie being a parent.

I invite you to reflect on your current style of parenting and what changes you may need to make to be a better parent.

I believe that we owe it to God, True Parents, our ancestors and our own children or future children to strive to become a true parent and true grandparent so that we can raise up phenomenal families that can multiply and fill the Earth. Aju.

The four styles of parenting presented here comes from John Gottman's book titled: "Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart Of Parenting". Here they are:

1. The Dismissing Parent

treats a child's feelings as unimportant or trivial

disengages from or ignores the child's feelings

wants the child's negative emotions to disappear quickly. For example a crying child is a problem child. The best child is one that is only positive.

usually a dismissive parent uses distraction to shut down a child's emotions. For example when I was sad my mother used to say to me "have a cup of tea and you will feel better"

may ridicule or make light of a child's emotions. For example the statement: "big boys dont cry"

shows little interest in what the child is trying to communicate

may lack awareness of emotions in self and others

feels uncomfortable, fearful, anxious, annoyed, hurt or overwhelmed by the child's emotions

fears being out of control emotionally

focuses more on how to get over emotions than on the meaning of the emotion itself

believes that negative emotions are harmful or toxic

believes that focusing on negative emotions will "just make matters worse"

feels uncertain about what to do with the child's emotions

sees the child's emotions as a demand to fix things

believes that negative emotions mean that the child is not well adjusted

believes that a child's negative emotions reflect badly on one's parents

minimizes the child's feelings, downplaying the events that led to the emotion

does not problem solve with the child; believes that the passage of time will resolve most problems

The effects of this style on children...

The child comes to learn that their feelings are wrong, inappropriate, not valid. They may learn that there is something inherently wrong with them because of the way they feel. They may have difficulty regulating their own emotions

2. The Disapproving Parent

displays many of the Dismissing Parent's behaviors, but in a more negative way.

judges and criticizes the child' emotional expression.

is over aware of the need to set limits on their child.

emphasizes conformity to good standards and behavior.

reprimands, disciplines, or punishes the child for emotional expression, whether the child is misbehaving or not.

believes that expression of negative emotions should be time limited.

believes that negative emotions need to be controlled.

believes that negative emotions reflect bad character traits.

believes the child uses negative emotions to manipulate; this belief results in power struggles.

believes that emotions make people weak; children must be emotionally tough for survival.

believes that negative emotions are unproductive, a waste of time.

sees negative emotions (especially sadness) as a commodity that should not be squandered.

is concerned with the child's obedience to authority.

The effects of this style on children are the same as for the Disapproving style of parenting.

3. The Laissez-Faire Parent

freely accepts all emotional expression from the child.

offers comfort to the child experiencing negative feelings.

offers little guidance on behavior.

does not teach the child about emotions.

is permissive; does not set limits.

does not help children solve problems.

does not teach problem-solving methods to the child

believes that there is little you can do about negative emotions other than ride them out.

believes that managing negative emotions is a matter of hydraulics; release the emotion and the work is done.

The effects of this style on children...

They don't learn to regulate their emotions; they have trouble concentrating, forming friendships, getting along with other children.

4. The Parent As Emotion Coach

value's the child's negative emotions as an opportunity for intimacy

can tolerate spending time with a sad, angry, or fearful child; does not become impatient with the emotion

is aware of and values his or her own emotions

sees the world of negative emotions as an important arena for parenting

is sensitive to the child's emotional states, even when they are subtle

is not confused or anxious about the child's emotional expression; knows what needs to be done

respects the child's emotions

does not poke fun at or make light of the child's negative feelings

does not say how the child should feel

does not feel he or she has to fix every problem for the child

uses emotional moments as a time to:

listen to the child

empathize with soothing words and affection

help the child label the emotion he or she is feeling

offer guidance on regulating emotions

set limits and teach acceptable expression of emotions

teach problem solving skills

The effects of this style on children...

They learn to trust their feelings, regulate their own emotions, and solve problems. They have high self esteem, learn well and get along well with others.

To take John Gottman's comprehensive 81 question self test to determine your parenting style, send me an email addressed to: and I will gladly forward it to you.

I wish you success on your path to becoming a true parent.

Sincerely, Paul S. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library