In your head you keep a constant ledger and running total of all the gifts, grades, thank-you notes, kind acts, punishments, harsh words, phone calls, and hugs for each child. You carefully check the ledger daily to ensure that your kids are all getting equal time, attention, and punishment as the thought you might be unfair to one child is extremely painful. It may sound exhausting, but the alternative of appearing to favor one child over the other is far worse than having to maintain the ledger.
You are a Bookkeeper Parent. As a bookkeeper parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “How”. How are you going to do that? How do you feel? How are you doing? Bookkeeper parents are very fair, diplomatic, and loyal but can easily get their feelings hurt in the process of parenting especially when accused of being unfair, undiplomatic and disloyal. If your child is like you, they appreciate your fairness and see such an act as love.
The Good. Because you pay attention to all of the little signs, the hurt feelings, and body language of your child, you really don’t miss an opportunity to show compassion, love and tenderness. You are a gentle parent who tries hard to see things from your child’s perspective and given a choice you will side with your child over nearly anyone else including your spouse. You really do care about your child’s struggles and you go out of your way to be understanding.
The Bad. Rules are sometimes too flexible as you are more interested in understanding how your child could do such a thing rather than punishing them for violating a rule. This can cause confusion for your child who quickly learns that by shedding a couple of tears they can win you over and reduce their punishment. One comment from your child of “you are being unfair” is likely to send you in a tail spin as you examine your ledgers. This becomes a great distraction from the real issue at hand and your child escapes without punishment.
The Ugly. Your child will learn how to manipulate you and as an adult will manipulate others by using a person’s sensitivity against them. They may even become uncaring to the point of ignoring the feelings of others all together because they see feeling driven people as manipulative. This creates an unhealthy environment for their children who are likely to be more like you and less like their parent.
Understanding your parenting style is not about beating yourself up and or pointing fingers at your spouse. Rather it is about understanding your natural strengths and weaknesses so you can build on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. Remember, bookkeeper parents are fair so be fair and minimize the hurt feelings.
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