Are You A Logical Or Emotional Parent?

Let us begin this conversation with some basic definitions.

Emotional is defined as of or relating to a person’s emotions. Arousing or characterized by intense feeling. A person having feelings that are easily excited and openly displayed.

Logical is defined as of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument. Characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning. An action, development or decision that is natural or sensible given the circumstances.

With that out of the way, can you now answer the question: Are you a logical or emotional parent? I would bet that given certain circumstances you would be able to answer yes to both types of parenting. Which one is predominant for you? Which one is habitual?

I know a number of parents who are very emotional. The slightest thing sets them off. They are annoyed easily. Lack patience. Have difficulty empathizing with people they are dealing with. Or on the flipside, they are easily hurt. Take things the wrong way. Find fault where there was no intention of harm. Basically overreacting because they filter everything emotionally. Eventually they have to let it out because they have internalized so much that they can’t handle it anymore.

I acknowledge that when you’re out in public settings it’s impossible to know what’s going on in someone’s life. You’re at the park and you see some children playing. The parents are nearby. One of the kids falls in the dirt and scratches his knee. The mother runs over and immediately becomes loud and accusatory. It’s obvious to her that one of the other kids must have pushed her child. You’re shopping in the supermarket and a little boy runs over to the shelf and grabs a box of cookies. He runs back to his dad who upon seeing the cookies immediately starts yelling at the boy. He drives it home to the child that he was told he couldn’t have snacks. He is loud and bossy and overbearing. You get a real sense that he’s out of control. The whole scene is very unsettling.

For an emotional parent all of life’s issues are dealt with an emotional punch. Whether it’s a positive or a negative situation when you’re around a person like this you always feel the intensity of emotion. Children of this type of parent become great interpreters of body language, voice fluctuation, and overall temperament. They get in tune with their parents or guardians to the point where they can predict a vocal outburst before it starts. Always on their toes so as not to annoy or instigate they become very self-controlled. On the flip side of that I’ve seen children who can no longer handle the strain of this type of relationship and they begin to act out against it. It usually starts to happen when the child gets a little older. I know of one particular family where the son is in a constant battle with his very emotionally charged father. To him, it must seem like everything he does is wrong or a problem for his father. He is constantly ridiculed, critiqued, and given detailed instructions on how to do things. In his father’s mind he is being helpful and a good parent. For his son, it is a battle.

Logical parents face challenges with their kids through basic logic. If anything labeled A is Big and anything labeled B is Small, then the dog labeled A has to be Big. If a child is given a set of rules and consequences for not following those rules, when they are caught not following a rule they suffer a consequence. Choice is still an option. Choosing wisely is imperative. Regulation is the norm. I do believe I fall into this category. If I’ve given a child all of the facts regarding a rule and they are equally informed about the consequences for not adhering to that rule it should be no surprise that a consequence will follow. That is the basic tenet. There is some flexibility, it’s not so black and white. Circumstances are reviewed. An emotional evaluation of the situation is also an integral part of the process.

I guess this approach to parenting may seem a bit mechanical and cold. I doesn’t have to be that way. If done with compassion and a respect for your child’s personality and abilities I think logical parenting allows for a thoughtful and composed approach to issues. If you have the ability to collect yourself and your thoughts and then pass along your point of view in a calm and rational way, it’s been my experience that you kids will be more inclined to listen to you and open up. If your child knows that they can go to you with anything and everything that comes into their life without fear of repercussions they will. If your child knows that any punishment you impose is due to their own choices it makes it harder to view discipline as an irrational act. You are bringing a wrong choice to their attention – they know why. I think a logical approach allows for a more balanced relationship. Their is more of a sense of respect for the point of view of each person involved. Compassion and support are never lacking.

As I stated in the beginning I bet we all can say that at some point we’ve been an emotional as well as a logical parent. Sometimes our choices are not the best solution. We’ve all let our emotions get the best of us. Logic may not always seem to work in a moment of crisis. A consistent, balanced, and thoughtful approach to raising our kids does work. If we can find the balance in ourselves between the emotional and logical parent we undoubtedly are offering the best support possible for our kids. Feed them emotionally with our love and support. Mold them logically with an understanding of the impact of their choices. In this way everyone is responsible for their actions – you and your child.

By Gret Boyd



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