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Styles of AWOL parenting

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In my 30+ years as an elementary teacher in LAUSD I have known probably a thousand parents. Years ago there was a movie entitled “Parenthood”. I thought that the movie showed that proper parenting is the hardest and most rewarding thing to do and that there is no one correct way to parent.

Here are some AWOL parenting styles that I have observed close up.

Laissez Faire parenting—The children grow up with little or no guidance from the parent. The parent only gets involved when the situation is serious and it makes the parent look bad. (I have observed principals use this method in order to avoid dealing with problem causing teachers.)

Buying love—The parent does not have time for the child, but by providing them with everything the parent tries to buy their love.

Family members other than the parents raise the child--Grandparents, older siblings or any other family member is the only one there for the kids.

Driver and order giver by telephone—No quality time with the parent except in the car on the way to school.

The big brother or sister—The parent who has never fully grown up and is an inadequate adult, plays with the children (even teenagers), joins them in their activities, tries to be one of the boys or girls, but never takes on the role of the adult.

The poor role model—This parent doesn’t work or work regularly, hangs out with their peers and has them to the house, may let the children stay up late with adults, and may allow them privileges, visits, and other unthoughtful acts inappropriate for the kids’ age.

One of the hardest ways to parent is when the parents are not together and there is one quality parent and one Laissez Faire parent sharing custody. Also, in shared custody, one parent may have the wherewithal to purchase everything for the child hoping for their love, while the other parent gives unconditional love, not purchases.

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