September 29, 2011

Drill Sergeant Parents

Other parents are like drill sergeants. These, too, love their children. They feel that the more they bark and the more they control, the better their kids will be in the long run. “These kids will be disciplined,” the drill sergeant says. “They’ll know how to act right.” Indeed, they are constantly told what to do.

When drill sergeant parents talk to children, their words are often filled with putdowns and I-told-you-so’s. These parents are into power! If children don’t do what they’re told, drill sergeant parents are going to – doggone it all – make them do it.

Kids of drill sergeant parents, when given the chance to think for themselves, often make horrendous decisions – to complete consternation and disappointment of their parents. But it makes sense. These kids are rookies in the world of decisions. They’ve never had to think – the drill sergeant took care of that. The kids have been ordered around all of their lives. They’re as dependent on their parents when they enter the real world as the kids of helicopter parents.

Both of these types of parents send messages to their children – all in the name of love – about what they think their kids are capable of. The message the helicopter parents sends to the child is, “You are fragile and can’t make it without me.” The drill sergeant’s message is, “You can’t think for yourself, so I’ll do it for you.”

While both of these parental types may successfully control the children in the early years, they have thrown major obstacles into the kids’ path once they hit the “Puberty Trail.” Helicopter children become adolescents unable to cope with outside forces, unable to think for themselves or handle their own problems. Drill sergeant kids, who did a lot of saluting when they were young, will do a lot of saluting when teenagers. But the salute is different – a raised fist or a crude gesture involving the middle finger.

Hat Tip: Parenting With Love And Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

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