In the 2-part series entitled, Types of Parenting, we’ll be discussing the different types of parenting that some parents use to raise their children. The four types that we will cover are: Vindictive Parenting and Confident Parenting. This week we’ll discuss Confident Parenting.
Whoa! Vindictive parenting! Sounds harsh, huh? You probably even scrolled away from the post until nagging curiosity brought you back to figure out if you know about, or are even someone who engages in, vindictive parenting.
First, Vindictive Parenting is a term that I coined to describe parents who attempt to either get their child back for displaying negative behavior, try to one-up their child during an argument, or both. These parents are usually frustrated with their child’s behavior and/or frustrated with their own stressors in life. VP does not always include spanking or hitting, but more than likely includes belittling, name calling, or other forms of emotional and verbal attacks from the parent towards the child.
Ok, you’re on board for what vindictive parenting is. But, you’re wondering what does a vindictive parent sounds like. Here are a few examples:
- “Well, he did it to me so I got him back!”
- “She wants to ignore me, then I’ll ignore her.”
- “He’s just like his father who I couldn’t stand anyway.”
- “She has her mother’s ways. Ugh!”
- “I wonder if he even knows what he is doing to me. I know I’m a good parent. It’s all him”
- “She doesn’t even try. She’s just trying to ruin my life.”
Have you heard any of these statements? Or, if you’re ready to admit this, have you been so frustrated that you’ve said something like these statements before?
If you answered yes, don’t beat yourself up. Like I stated earlier, vindictive parenting is mostly about being frustrated in parenting and feeling stuck in parenting. Most parents that I have heard these statements from usually sound so exasperated and drained; I know that they are at the end of their rope. But, there is hope for getting away from vindictive parenting. There is a way to get from being so frustrated that having empathy for your child’s behavior is the furthest thing from your mind. Yay!
Five Ways to Get Away From Vindictive Parenting
Walk Away – The first thing to do in all situations where your child’s behavior has triggered you: WALK AWAY! Many parents feel that they need to handle to behavior right away, but you cannot cope with the behavior if you cannot handle your on frustration. Walking away keeps you from feeling immediately attacked by your child, and in turn, helps you to determine what actions to take to help your child through the behavior.
Ask Questions – Once you’ve witnessed an unwanted behavior in your child, and you’ve walked away to give yourself some space to think, come back and ask questions to your child about their behavior. I advise you to ask yes/no questions first because it keeps you and your child from placing blame and from getting frustrated all over again. If your child refuses to answer, or you suspect that they are not telling the truth, walk away from the situation again and come back later.
Take a Deep Breath – The most simple way to reduce vindictive parenting is to take a deep breath. You can do this at anytime during the day when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Parents who learn to take a deep breath help calm their nerves and get their thoughts in line with the situation. Also, when you take a deep breath during situation in dealing with your child’s behavior
Seek Guidance – Ask for help! Oh my goodness, right? This seems so simple, but yet it is often overlooked by parents. Here’s a juicy piece of information: you don’t have to solve everything right away!! A child’s behavior takes a long time to develop as does the solution to decreasing that behavior. Find someone who can help you find the solution like a therapist, a behavior specialist, a school counselor, a friend, or a community leader. It takes a village to raise a child! And, the key to stopping vindictive parenting is to find an ally who can help you with parenting.
Document Positives – It’s the easiest thing to do it to find all the negative thins that happen daily. What I’ve noticed is that finding the positives in life is so difficult for most parents. I encourage parents to document one positive each day: positive child behaviors, positive life events, positive people you interacted with. By doing this, a parent can stop feeling so overwhelmed by negativity and begin to notice that there are positive things that happen daily. Also, in documenting these positives you can go back and see how any positives occurred this week or month. Interestingly enough, it will help you to reduce vindictive parenting because you’re not taking out so much frustration in your parenting.
Vindictive Parenting is not a stagnant place of being for parents.
It is a state of feelings that can be reduced by using the 5 tips above.
Most importantly, it I a type of parenting that occurs with all parents. No parent is immune to vindictive parenting because all parents are human and get frustrated from time to time. I encourage you to have empathy with yourself and take time to recognize when you are most frustrated so that you can begin to implement these tips!