Four Types of Parents…Lessons We Can Learn

30 Nov

Family Constellation

Recent studies have revealed that the position of a child in the family has tremendous impact on their development.

Each child has a unique position in the family unit and perceives matters from their own position, not from others.

The place of children in the family can generally be described by the following characteristics:

1. The first-born is, for a while, an only child. He received much attention, but suddenly is dethroned when another arrives. He still wants to be first and strives to maintain that place. When supremacy is not maintained through positive behavior, he may seek to gain it in other ways, even with negative behavior.

2. The second-born is confronted with someone who is always ahead. He may feel inadequate because he has to keep up with someone older. He may try to become more than what the older child is – aggressive, passive, dependent, social, etc.

3. The middle-child frequently feels squeezed out, that life is terribly unfair or may decide to overcome the “disadvantaged position.” This child is concerned about fairness and sticking to the rules.

4. The youngest child, as the baby of the family, may appear to be at a disadvantage, but can become a tyrant. He is inclined to take advantage of this position – the cutest, pleasant, weakest, etc. The youngest may seek to become the clown or to rebel.

5. The only child lives the formative years among older and more capable people. Only children tend to develop a distinctive style which ensures them a place with adults; they may be very verbal, charming, intelligent, or – if it suits their need – shy and helpless.

Note these positions only influence the individual’s personality development; they do not directly determine it. Each individual makes his/her own decisions. Thus an “only child” does not have to act like a spoiled brat, the middle child does not have to rebel, etc.

Magazine articles have been published for years describing the four basic types of parents. Two of these types tend to cause their children to resent authority; two tend to produce positive-acting children. We need to find ourselves in these four types and see the natural consequences of our actions.

The Dominant Parent







This parent tends to produce the most expensive qualities in children. They have very high standards, are seldom warm and caring in support and give very few explanations for their rigid rules. They tend to be unbending and demanding. But because the children do not understand the reasons why the activities are wrong, they may participate in them.

Some serious conclusions have  been observed from dominant parenting: high aggression in younger children is evident; many, due to early aggression, lead to a future life of violence; aggression is evident in all associations the child has in life.

Here are some typical statements and actions of dominant parents:

  • Rules are rules. You’re late – to bed with no supper.
  • I won’t stand for your back talk. Just do what I say.
  • You don’t need reasons when I tell you to do something.

There are possible reactions by children who have dominant parents:

  • They rank low in self-esteem. They have little ability to conform to rules.
  • The rigid harshness of the parents breaks the spirit of the child and results in resistance –silence or rebellion.
  • The child usually does not want anything to do with the parent’s rules or values – he rejects them.
  • The child may be attracted to other children who rebel against parental and society’s rules. They often use drugs or become involved in illegal actions.
  • The child may be loud in demanding his rights.
  • In classes he may be disruptive to gain attention.

The Neglectful Parent







The neglectful parents tend to lack both loving support and control over children. They show an uncaring and immature attitude, lashing out at the children when irritated. These tend to isolate by excessive use of babysitters and to indulge in their own selfish activities.

Children are seen as a bother – parents can be neglectful even when they are at home. In this environment children are robbed of the greatest factor a parent can give: emotional involvement and attachment.

Studies reveal four reasons for this kind of parenting: the high divorce rate, an increase of mothers in the work force, excessive television watching, and an increasing mobile society. Here are some typical actions and statements made by neglectful parents:

  • Work it out for yourself…can’t you see I am busy?
  • No! I’m expected somewhere else…get your mother to help!
  • No, you can’t stay up…you wanted to stay up late last night…stay out of my way!
  • That’s your problem…I have to go to work!
  • Good grief! Can’t you be more careful
  • So you think  I’m stupid! That’s your problem…just get lost!

Here are some typical effects on children of neglectful parents:

  • The harshness and neglect tend to wound the child’s spirit causing rebellion
  • Neglect teaches the child that they are not worth spending time with them
  • The child develops insecurity because parents are never predictable
  • The child may not develop a healthy self-esteem because he is not respected and has not learned self-control
  • Broken promises break the child’s spirit and lowers self-worth
  • The child tends to do poorly in school because he has little motivation

The Permissive Parent







 Permissive parents tend to be warm, supportive people but weak in establishing and enforcing rules and limits for their children. They usually give in to their child’s demands. Even when the child is in trouble, they tend not to discipline, which affects in a negative way.

Permissive parents are great supporters: giving, understanding, and very comforting. But this type of parenting is responsible for allowing a “brat” to develop. The following are typical of permissive parents:

  • Well, OK, you can stay up late this time. I know how much you like this program
  • You’re tired aren’t you? A paper route is a tough job. Sure, I will take you around again.
  • I hate to see you under so much school  pressure. Why not rest tomorrow…I will say you were sick
  • You didn’t hear me call you to supper? Well, that’s all right. I must not have called loud enough. Sit down. I don’t want you eating a cold dinner
  • Don’t get angry at me…you’re making a scene
  • Please try to hurry … Mommy will be late again if we don’t start soon

These are possible reactions by children with permissive parents:

  • A child senses that he/she is in the driver’s seat and can play the parent accordingly
  • A child develops insecurity, like  leaning against a wall that appears to be firm, but falls over
  • A child may have little self-esteem because he has not learned to control himself and master personal disciplines
  • A child learns that because standards are not firm, he can manipulate around all rules

The Loving and Firm Parent




Loving   and Firm



Loving and firm parents usually have well defined rules, limits and standards. They take the time to train and explain them to their children so they understand these limits. But they also give support and affection to the child (physically spending time with them, etc.). They are flexible, willing to listen to all the facts if a limit has been violated. The loving and firm parent is a healthy and balanced combination of the dominant and permissive parent. There is firmness, but affection.

Here are some typical statements and actions by loving and firm parents:

  • You’re late again for dinner? How can we work this thing out?
  • I wish I could let you stay up late, but we agreed upon this time. Remember what you’ll be like tomorrow if you lose your sleep?
  • When we both cool off, we will talk about what needs to be done
  • You’re really stuck, aren’t you? I’ll help you this time, but let’s work out how you can get it done by yourself next time
  • You say all the others will be there. I want more information first

Typical characteristics of children who have loving and firm parents:

  • The warm support and clearly defined limits builds self-respect
  • A child is more content when he has learned to control himself
  • He is more secure when he realizes that some limits are unbending and he understands why
  • Lines of communication are open with parents – there is less chance of the “rebellious teen years”

Children from loving and firm parents rank highest in self-respect, capacity to conform to authority, greater interest in parent’s faith in God and have a greater tendency not to join a rebellious group.

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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in Family


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