Most parents have the best of intentions when it comes to how they parent their children. Usually they want their child to grow up to be a healthy, well-adjusted citizen who respects others, is considerate, and individual, etc. However, despite our desires to be the perfect parents, sometimes the parenting style we adopt makes it difficult for that. For example, it is often easy to fall into a persuasive style of parenting. This is where you try and get on the child’s level by making things into games or challenges. You try and motivate your child to follow rules and to learn new things by demonstrating these to them. However, while it is great, fun, and spontaneous, it often results in children who find it difficult to maintain self-discipline, or that do not understand or follow boundaries because they do not have clear ones set for them.
As a parent, your choice of parenting style is generally relationship centered or discipline centered, and while ideally you would have a good balance of both, it is rare. In fact, generally, parents fall into one extreme or the other. In this cases, persuasive parenting is more relationship centered.
This means that as a persuasive parent you focus on nurturing and caring for your children, and teaching them to nurture and care for others as well. Instead of telling them what to do, or making demands of them, you try to persuade them to obey you. This usually involves bribing your children, or talking them into doing what you ask, rather than having them obey because you are the parent, or because it is the rule.
While persuasive parents are not as bad as permissive parents in this area, often persuasive parents try to avoid conflict because they want to be the friend and confidant more than they want to be the parent. This usually means you allow inappropriate behavior to perpetuate until gets out of control. At which point you react with an outburst, like yelling at your child, or spanking them. So, in other words you regain control as a parent by extreme measures or outbursts.
If you find this to be the case for yourself, you can correct the problem, and work to gain better control of your children by helping them consistently learn persistence and self-discipline through your example, their extracurricular activities and appropriately enforced limitations. This means be involved in their lives, and be nurturing and loving, but also set limitations and guidelines for behavior with clear consequences when those guidelines or limitations are crossed.
When you are a persuasive parent, your discipline is often emotion ruled, and thus can lead to punishing children for accidents such as spilling drinks, and avoiding punishment for behavioral problems like hitting or biting. Be sure, however, to avoid discipline when you are angry, and be sure that it is fair and deserved.
In addition to all of this, if you want to change and be a better parent, you have to make your role as a parent a high priority, and you have to be careful to make sure your career and your need for achievement do not short-change your children. Most persuasive parents get that way because the patience and time it takes to set guidelines and follow through with them interferes with their ability to get work done, etc. So, rather than stick with it, they resort to bribing and “easier” measures of getting their children to comply. In the long run life is much harder, but when you have work deadlines, school projects, etc. looming, it can be hard to recognize this.