Understanding Fear-Based Parenting

As parents, we used to view the world as an adventure with endless possibilities.  Then, we became parents, and it all changed.  The world became a much scarier place when kids entered the picture, and our fears as parents can trickle down into the way we raise our teens.

Fear #1:  Loss of Control
– If we lose control of our teens, they will go off the deep end- messing their lives up for good.
– Over protections can keep teens from the learning lessons they need that will develop and strengthen personal character.
– The older our kids get, the less influential we can be on their lives (away at college, military, etc.).   When they become young adults, the primary source of guidance is character they have built over time.
– Give appropriate responsibility and encourage teens to use life experiences (positive and negative) as personal teaching moments.
– Help them to build balance of responsibility and opportunity- this building of responsibility and character will be needed in the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Fear #2:  Exposure to Culture
– Kids are inundated by society/media outlets.  There’s a fear this will lead kids astray; however, parents cannot protect them from negative influences their whole lives.
– With teens move from a policing/teaching modality to a coaching/training modality, it’s important to have honest conversations regarding boundaries.   Values will go much farther. 
– Kids are going to make mistakes; help shape them into growth opportunities.

Fear #3:  Conflict
– Confrontation is not easy, but it is a precursor to change.
– Conflict happens in every family.  Kids needs to hear feedback about their behavior.  Use these times as a way to communicate and work out problems.  If mistakes are made during these times with approach/content, apologize.  Be a model for admitting and owning up to mistakes.

Fear #4:  Loss of Appearance
– Parents fear kids behavior/mistakes will negatively reflect on their parenting.  Parents can micro-manage kids to point of creating a façade of perfection.
– Goal image one of the fastest ways to lose credibility with teens and create resentment. 
– There’s no such thing as perfect parenting.  Every family has its own set of challenges.

About Belinda:
Belinda Palacios received a bachelor degree in psychology in 1987, and a master degree in education in 1989. She gained experience in the private, hospital and criminal justice sectors of psychiatry, and has worked in the residential treatment and counseling center settings before coming to Cal Farley’s in 1997. She oversees all aspects of the organization’s community-based services. Moreover, she serves as liaison for Cal Farley’s with numerous area, state and national public and private social service organizations. Palacios is a volunteer peer reviewer for the National Council on Accreditation.

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