Part of the natural advancement we experience in our lives involves "getting our ducks in a row." Somehow, as life becomes more complicated and responsibilities expand, we strive to control outcomes and keep as many aspects of our lives as on-track as possible. While the thought of setting our lives on "auto-pilot" is appealing to simplify the sprawling scope of modern life, it seldom plays out in black-and-white terms. Flexibility is sometimes our most valuable asset as we strive to maintain order, so it should not be taken for granted.
Child-rearing, for example, requires high levels of flexibility, because by nature, growing-up brings a steady flow of changes. Rigid parenting instills discipline and creates boundaries for children, but the blueprint for success in raising kids also includes heavy doses of temperance and understanding. Staying flexible enables parents to respond appropriately to issues children face, guiding them through trying times as needed. Family circumstances are as varied as our approaches to parenting, so the key is establishing a balance that works for your family, leaning on flexible solutions to meet your family's needs. There are many reasons to nurture flexibility within your parenting style, including these considerations:
Rigid Approaches Risk Alienation
To have a positive impact on your child's life, it is essential to be in the loop about issues he or she is facing. Communication provides the link parents rely on to stay informed about their kids' development, so closing the door on candid sharing can have devastating impacts on your ability to guide your kids toward success. While a firm hand is appropriate for steering kids, unilateral edicts and authoritarian parenting strategies can sometimes backfire, despite your good intentions. Staying flexible keeps your credibility intact with kids, increasing the likelihood that you'll be the first place they turn for guidance and information.
Children Live in a Different World
Consider the vast differences found within today's social landscape, as compared to the environment you operated in as a child. Effective parenting accounts for evolving standards and general changes in the way we interact. Flexibility enables parents to stay current with modes of communication, prevailing social standards, as well as technological advances that change the playing field for kids.
Kids are Individuals
You'd think your insider perspective as a parent would give you all the information you need to raise your child, but children are their own people, so sharing the same DNA doesn't automatically give you all the answers. As nature meets nurture, parents find out quickly that their kids have independent agendas, requiring flexibility to manage. Tailoring your parenting style to accommodate your kids' individuality furnishes the best odds for success, accounting for personality differences, as well as personal strengths and weaknesses.
The Only Constant is Change
Even the most committed traditionalists are eventually steam-rolled by the wheels of change. Staying flexible accounts for changes children face, whether they are expected or come up quickly. In contrast to steadier times, modern living incorporates a steady flow of technological advancements, communications enhancements, and changes in the way kids interact with one another. Prudent parenting aims itself at stability, but must also account for fast-paced changes unfolding in kids' environments.
Flexibility Sends the Right Message
The most important requisite of effective parenting is preparing kids to succeed in their adult lives. And since leading by example furnishes the most positive impacts possible, parents incorporating flexibility into their parenting styles are the most successful role models for kids. The ability to shift and adjust in response to changing conditions doesn't necessarily come naturally, so exhibiting flexibility in your own responses sends the right message for growing children to emulate.
Striking a balance between your authority as a parent and your role nurturing kids is the key to effective parenting. Flexibility keeps all your options open, furnishing the greatest likelihood for success.