A few days ago, at our preschool’s Parent Ed night, we were taught the four styles of parenting, something I’d gone through two previous times when my older daughter was at a co-op.

You know, the whole Helicopter/indulgent parent, the Drill Sergeant/Authoritarian (Asian) parent, the Skeleton/Indifferent parent and the nirvana of good parenting, the Authoritative parent who’s loving but firm, who knows how to set boundaries but also allow the slow, transfer of power from parent to child, and so on.

As we went through our notes, I could not help but notice the so-called negative results of the other three styles in my first child. Self-centeredness, because sometimes Lokes can be too indulgent. An inability to deal with failure, because sometimes I can be too hard on her with the rules. Insecurity, because perhaps I don’t pay enough attention to her feelings. 

However, she was also a confident child, top of her class and has many friends, my Raeven. These were the results of good parenting – an Authoritative parent. 

And then it dawned on me.

This class is for my parenting of Skyler, my second child – not Raeven. Not that it matters but I was surprised I was actually thinking more of Rae than I was of Sky when it came to “behavioral challenges”.

Skyler really has nothing in the first three columns mainly because perhaps it’s still too early to tell. She IS confident, because she’s never cried a day in class, even from the first day I’d dropped her off. She is very trusting of her teacher, the other co-op parents, her friends. She is easy-going and secure. 

I began thinking about my parenting styles with both my kids. And the parenting styles of my parents.

As the older sibling, I’d always been subjected to unrealistic standards by my own parents and even though I knew they meant well, it was hard to take as a kid. Luckily for me, I have a great younger sister and with time, the value of my tough upbringing gave me the tools I needed to deal with life and love. Still, I have my flaws. I can be self centered. I don’t like to fail and sometimes don’t admit to my mistakes. I am insecure.

I was also top of my class in school (I have a 4.0 GPA in my two semesters of college last winter and spring) and popular.

Raeven and I are so much alike, although Lokes’ and my parenting style and my parents’, are so different.

This makes me wonder how much really is genetic and how much of it can we change and nurture as parents, these traits and flaws. And why are both my kids so different since my parenting style is the same with both of them.

Or am I just seeing what I want to see? 

In any case, I know I am doing some things right, and there are some things I need to correct before it’s too late (like when she’s 12 and will call me on my dorkiness – “Why are you acting all weird, Mom? Oh, don’t tell me. It’s a parenting class thing.” *roll eyes*).

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