Thursday, July 9, 2009
Kid-centered vs. Parent-centered?
When we traveled to Addis, we met another adoptive couple who were wonderful people. I really enjoyed their company, they were great dinner companions, van companions, etc. Their names were Hope and John and they have 6 kids (including a little 4 year old boy they were adopting with an amputated leg and a club foot.) They also had a special needs child at home they had adopted from Vietnam and basically saved his eyesight in doing so. I had a lot of respect for them as people. They were fun, and really wonderful with the kids. You could tell they loved their son immensely from the second they laid eyes on him.
We had a discussion over breakfast one morning about parenting styles. John mentioned he had noticed 2 main styles: child-centered parenting and parent-centered parenting. He said he didn't claim one was better than the other, each was different and fit with different families.
He went on to explain that in child-centered parenting, the focus is entirely on the child. All household activities revolve around the child's needs and wants. For example, a soccer game would trump a romantic date every time. Babysitters are uncommon.
Conversely, in parent-centered parenting, the parents set the tone of the house hold and their lives continue, with full involvement in the children's lives of course, but without giving up their identifies completely. There are date nights. The marital relationship is nurtured. Babysitters are commonly known to the kids, and rules and limits are firmly set. With 6 children, I can see why this was the only option for them. I also think it's healthy for the kids to have a healthy marital relationship role model to watch while growing up.
As a single parent, I'm not really sure which camp I'll fit in to... I'm hoping parent centered, because my belief is it teaches the child they are not the center of the universe (to the rest of the world, at least) which is more reality based. I think she'll have less of a shock growing up than if she grew up believe the world revolved around her and then finding out life is not like that.
Which camp do you fit in?
Which camp do you think is better for the child?