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Children can- and do- thrive under many different styles of parenting.  The choice of an effective style is not a matter of "either-or," but of finding a comfortable balance.

On the one hand...
Children need FREEDOM. They need to be permitted to:
  • Explore the world
  • Use their senses
  • Move about freely
  • Make mistakes
In other words, children need room to grow and develop.

On the other hand...
Children need LIMITS.  They want:
  • Guidance
  • Advice
  • Responsibility
  • Routine
By offering protection, you can help your children feel secure.

Still too much of even a good thing can be harmful

On the one hand...
Too much FREEDOM may overwhelm a child.  Indulged children may become self-centered and demanding, and have trouble getting along with others.

On the other hand...
Too many LIMITS may smother a child.  Over protected children may become passive and dependant- possibly resentful and hostile.

How you raise your children will depend on many factors- you, your children, the situation.  Some parents feel comfortable withe parenting styles that the other parents might find too tight or loose in fit.  Some children can handle more freedom and responsibility than others.  And some situations call for more control than others.

You'll want to stay away from the extremes of over-permissiveness or over protection.  Between the extremes are many approaches that make room both for your sanity and your child's growth.  What is important is that your style of parenting be reasonable and motivated by love and respect for your child.

Esther Schak
Parenting Educator, Saint Paul ECFE


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