In The Birth Order Book, Kevin Leman has a chapter for parenting each birth order, but before he gets to those, he starts with a chapter for tips that work for all birth orders.
Know Your Parenting Style
Leman points out that most parents parent the way they were parented (page 253). I think that is true, though there are a fair number of people who parent the extreme opposite of how they were parented.
Take some time to analyze your parenting style. Here are some basics:
- Authoritarian: I like Leman's way of putting Authoritarian. He says this is based on a warped idea of limits. These parents believe the more limits the better.
- Permissive: Again, Leman's take is a good one. This is based on a warped sense of love. All the child needs is love--nothing else. Especially not limits.
- Inconsistent: Many parents bounce back and forth between these two styles. Or maybe one spouse is authoritarian and one is permissive, causing inconsistency in the child's life.
- Authoritative: Basically, this is the middle of the road between Authoritarian and Permissive. You don't make all of the decisions for your child, and your child doesn't make all of the decisions himself.
You need to know your tendencies so you can monitor your self appropriately. If you are authoritarian, you need to work to back off. If you are permissive, you need to set some boundaries.
Use Logical Consequences
Leman spends some time discussing his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I have posts on the book: making children mind (each post linked below). He calls his method "reality discipline" and it is most easily summed up as a book about applying logical consequences.
Everyone is Different
Leman says we should not treat our children all the same.
I totally agree.
We need to treat our children as individuals. No one method works for every child--even if implemented by the same parent. Leman says "...being truly fair does not mean treating each child in exactly the same way. It means treating each child differently as that child's individual needs and differences at certain times in that child's life and development demand" (page 261).
Your children are all very different from each other, and need to be treated as such.
You are the Parent
You are the parent, not strangers. Think about who you have as your five year old's coach or dance instructor. Don't overbook your children, and don't simply hand them off to strangers to train them up. You need to spend time with your child. As Leman says, "Nobody can teach your kids better than you can" (page 266).
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