The Science of Parenting

Define Your Philosophy | S. 2 Ep. 5

July 16, 2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 2 Episode 5
The Science of Parenting
Define Your Philosophy | S. 2 Ep. 5
Show Notes Transcript

Parents influence and define the character and values of their kids—and as a result how they behave as adults. See how these traits can help you shape your kids’ behaviors, whether it’s an emphasis on hard work, independence or creativity.  

Support the show

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hey , welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator.

Lori Hayungs:

And I'm Lori Hayungs, and I have three children who are all in different life stages. One is launched, one is in college, and one is in high school, and I'm also a parenting educator. And today we are going to be talking a little bit about how we can develop our parenting philosophy. You may wonder how does that fit with self care in season two, right? Well, what we want to do is help you understand how thinking about what we believe about parenting at our very core and foundation really can help us be more confident in our parenting. And remember that we talked about how having confidence in our parenting helps us to be a better parent in terms of treating our child even as more capable. So that's why we want to talk about developing our parenting philosophy and really thinking about how that can build our self confidence and create an opportunity for some self care.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. The way that we think about ourselves as parents and the way we think about our parenting. And so, as you know, at The Science of Parenting, we love to look at things with that lens of research and reality. And so our job is to share a little research on the topic. Your job is to decide how it fits in your, your own reality. So we know that each of us is likely gonna have a little bit of a different parenting philosophy because of your own reality. And that's okay.

Lori Hayungs:

Totally okay. It's wonderful. In fact, it's not just, okay. It's wonderful. So thinking about philosophy, Mackenzie , what do you think would be at the core of your parenting philosophy?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, I think the things that come to mind for me are raising kids to be adults that are kind and capable. Those are kind of the two words that come to the forefront of my mind is - my parenting philosophy is working to raise kids who are kind and capable. What about you?

Lori Hayungs:

So we're in different life stages, remember, so currently I would say that my foundations revolve around value -valuing others and being respectful for both yourself personally, respecting yourself as well as respecting others. So value and respect.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. And you've talked about that respect piece before. Um, I do . I think like, I know that's a theme you carry like respect. I know there for you. It is . It is. And I think that that might be a good word to also play around with, as we think about philosophy, it's our parenting theme, right? It's what we believe. It's it's that, that theme that we evolve and revolve around. All right . So let's go to research first. So developmental scientists actually have come to understand some of those micro dynamics, or little interactions, that take place between a baby and an adult in a caring relationship. And what they know is that those micro dynamics, or those little things, that come between an adult and the child, they have this lifelong effect and in a very specific way, they actually have a lifelong effect on who that baby will become.

Lori Hayungs:

Absolutely. And we talk about this, you know, this is just a research tidbit to back up the concept that who we are as parents has longterm impact on our kids. Um, you know, we've talked about that before, but I do think the idea of, like you said, of slowing down to think about, you know, like what's behind what's that foundation, that's a word I've heard you use. What's that foundation on how we get to those longterm impacts that we want? I don't know that we always do that. I don't know that we always slow down in the midst of everything going on and you know, for me chasing after kids. And so taking that time to, what do I really want here? How do I, what do I want impacts to be from my parenting? Exactly. And when you think about slowing down, it , it really gives us the opportunity to stay focused or get focused, focus on the big picture. And especially when challenging moments come up, if we've thought about our parenting philosophy or that theme of our parenting, we actually are able to handle those challenging moments a little bit better. So which actually, it brings us right into research tidbit number two. So this is the idea of how do we go about developing our parenting philosophy. And , and remember, this is our very own parenting philosophy. So research and author, Jeff Kemp discusses an interesting concept in his book about parenting teens. So he says to maximize your parenting effectiveness, you need to have a parent wish and this wish guides your thinking and your actions as you go about your day to day business. And so your parent wish kind of represents that inner most enduring wish you hold for your child's life. Makes me all warm and fuzzy.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right. That parent wish. Okay. And this actually reminds me of like a productivity book that I've read , uh , called "Eat That Frog." And so a part of that book, and they talk about how do you tackle tough jobs? And I think that maybe sometimes parenting is a tough job, but a part of how they talk about doing that is getting clarity on what you want and why you want it. And I think that really applies to this concept of a parenting wish too , is really, it's just like bringing something into focus, getting clarity on what that wish is so that you know, the why and the how to get there, because like you said, the challenging moments are going to happen. Like there , they are inevitable that we will have challenging moments with our kids and co-parents and other relationships and family members and friends, but for parenting what's that wish. So we can raise those kids to be the kind of adults we hope they are.

Lori Hayungs:

And I like that this tidbit came from a book on teens, because I think that allows you to think about, I, I literally remember like holding that first child, that brand new baby and thinking about my wish for you. But now, as I look into the eyes of my teenagers and my adult, young adult children, I think now my wish for you is this. And, and I believe that that parenting wish has changed as they've grown. I believe that that parenting wish has changed for me as I've grown, as I've learned. And so you use the word clarity, and I think that being able to stop and focus and bring some clarity to what we believe in our philosophy and what we want our children to have in terms of that parenting wish is really important. And again, let's bring this back around to self care, taking the time to do that. Wow. I mean, even just talking about it, it makes me feel really good. If I can use that word. I know we've talked about not being a good or a bad parent. Um , but I feel, I feel successful and I feel energized talking about what my wish is for my child. That's gotta be self care related, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

For sure. And I think what you said, actually, about how your wish for your kids has changed over time, as they've grown, as you've grown, really kind of reminds me - so, I mean, we know that I have little kids. And so as I think of my philosophy is like, yeah, I'm really focused on instilling them, you know, the ideas of being kind and being capable. That really makes sense for having a preschooler like, those are the skills they're really developmentally working on adapting, you know, getting that independence and those abilities and learning about our social skills and things that is , those are very relevant for her age. And so, yeah. How might that morph? I don't know yet. Right. But that'll continue to revisit. And so I do have that clarity of like, who are we raising these kids to be? Who, you know, what , what do we want to instill in them?

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. I love that. I love that. And again, developmentally where my children are at, absolutely the idea of valuing others and having respect both for yourself and others. That's, it's a total developmental piece that they're doing right now at their ages. So, okay. Another research tidbit. Having a parenting philosophy is so important, especially when it comes to co-parenting. So James McHale and colleagues found that parents, co-parents, in their study that had talked to each other, actually relatively little with each other about their parenting beliefs and their parenting values before their child's birth. And frequently parents had little understanding of their partner's beliefs, so there are actually some marked discrepancies between the parents' beliefs and what the other person predicted their co-partner believed. So I got to say, when I first read this, I'm a parenting educator, that's my background, right? Early childhood education, family development. That's what I went to school for. So honestly, as I was dating, gosh, those were normal conversations for me. And so as I read this, I thought, Whoa , what do you mean? People didn't talk about this with their partners or their co partners? And then we started talking about this and what did, what did our producer Kenzie say?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, it looks different for everybody. And even across different levels of like relationship development, right. How far you are in relationship and yeah , when you're dating. Yeah. It's different. It's a little different conversation for everybody, but it's a part of how you might decide who you want to be with and what that will look like for your relationship quality later . And absolutely. And it's funny because I mean, yes, my background also in parenting education, I think of, for me, when I think about these conversations about parenting philosophy, I feel like maybe, you know, we had this conversation about infants. Do you believe in this method or this method, do you believe, you know, maybe some of those kind of basic things, but yeah. Did we cover through, what do you do with the toddler tantrum? You know, what would be your philosophy around that? Did we cover through, you know, what happens with a teenager , um , or your schoolager and so seeing how that philosophy, like you said, morphes that parent wish kind of more so even if it has the same foundation. And so thinking about how that looks different in different stages.

Lori Hayungs:

Absolutely. And the conflict that not talking about it causes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Mmhmm. I actually just had a conversation with my co-parent. Uh , the other night we had kind of a little check-in , um, you know, one of our little family routines had like been a little heated. And so it was, you know, after the fact we were calmer and we kind of checked in, it was like, okay, we need to kind of wind ourselves back around with the clarity of the goal. Like this is what we want. And so maybe that means each of us kind of redirecting the strategy we're using , um , back to the goal on the same philosophy we have. So it's an ongoing conversation.

Lori Hayungs:

Absolutely. Key. Ongoing - it's an ongoing conversation.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I feel like that's the theme of kind of what we keep coming to for season two is like, how do we find joy? How do we take care of ourselves? We did talk, we can talk, let me talk again. Yes.

Lori Hayungs:

And just when you thought you were on the same page, you need to communicate again. Yes. Yes. All right . So what happens? How do we start? What if I don't know how to start?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So we actually have two kind of little tidbits here. One is actually a throwback to one of our previous episodes. So on parenting styles , um, just in case you're like, okay , sure. A parenting wish I don't even know what I would think of. Um, I did want to kind of throw this one back in there on thinking about authoritative parenting. So Lori , do you want to walk us through that? That was, what was that episode that was in season one, episode five "Defining Parenting Styles," is where we talked about this idea of authoritative parenting. Do you want to give us the quick rundown?

Lori Hayungs:

Sure. So Diana Baumrind, she's the one that came up with the three parenting styles. And so the parenting style that we talk most about in The Science of Parenting is the authoritative parenting. And remember that's the style of parenting where we have boundaries and expectations that are reasonable for our child's age. And we also deliver our conversations and our guidance to our children with warmth and acceptance. So there is expectations and boundaries, but we have this warmth and acceptance of things that are happening in our child's life and tantrums that they may have. Right. So when we look at that in a parenting philosophy, that's a really great place to start is thinking about acceptance and warmth.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think of like, okay, so as we carry out, you know, the parenting decisions about snack, about bedtime, about activities, you know, about all the things that we have going on. I like that -

Lori Hayungs:

About curfew.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Yeah. All those decisions we have that, you know, you use that word foundation of the philosophy. And so as I think about the boundaries that I set for my kids, with my philosophy of, I want them to be kind and capable. Okay. When I set boundaries, I need to encourage boundaries that allow them to build those capabilities and I need to do it kindly. And when I provide warmth and responsiveness and acceptance of them, I need to do that in a way that's kind in a way that encourages them to become capable. So that foundation really fits in those two pieces of parenting. I think really well.

Lori Hayungs:

It does. And that is something I know that, that I've had that conversation with the girls is that I will respect you and speak respectfully to you as well. I will, I value and respect you and I will speak with you in that way. Um , that shows you, I value you and respect you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. That philosophy kind of thing helps us get through those moments like I've got a goal, I gotta -

Lori Hayungs:

It's not just an expectation of them. It's also an expectation of us.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So one other thing to consider besides the , um, parenting style of authoritative parenting, another cool thing is this, you know, we're moving into kind of the strategies in your reality section here. Uh, you guys know, I love a model. I love a framework to consider for a strategy. And so as you're making these kinds of big decisions about what your wish is, or your parenting philosophy is for parenting your kids , uh, there's the Pew Research did a study. And so they asked parents about the 12 traits, how they kind of prioritized or ranked what they thought was most important to them. Some qualities from, you know , spirituality to hard work, responsibility, tolerance. And so we have this list of 12 traits. And so we want to kind of walk you through.

Lori Hayungs:

So I'm going to just send a little caveat here, and I want you to listen to these 12 traits and think about how these 12 traits, these strategies are actually playing out today real time in real world events, things taking place right now in our world. And think about how we teach our children, these strategies without judgment. Alright, so go!

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. I'll do a few and then I'll pass back to Lori. So the first six of these 12 traits that people may want for their children is empathy for others, obedience, spirituality, helping others, persistence, and being well-mannered. So maybe one of those is like, "Oh yeah, that's really my parenting wish - is for that." Um , so we know it looks different and Lori , you know, you make this great point about, we're really seeing this play out as we think of us living in a COVID pandemic and all of these things that we're in right now, these traits are really, these values are really shining for people in times of stress. What you value is really shining through the actions that you have. So I think of this list of traits is yeah , I've seen lots of people be helping others and empathetic and yes, I think that's great. So do you want to read this the other six?

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Here we go. So the other six are independence, being responsible, hard work, creativity, tolerance, and curiosity. And pulling out a couple here. When you think about what's happening in our world today around bias and differences in experiences, when it comes to race and ideas and conversations about those, that idea of teaching values around tolerance. And there's that value creativity, think about how creative people have become in terms of education and delivering programs in ways that they never had to think about before. They're far more creative than they thought they could be or should be or would ever have to be. And , and so these values really, they really give us a chance to teach our children many, many different things that are important as they grow.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And we know that, you know, like we said earlier, we believe in a pluralistic approach to parenting, more than one way to raise great kids. And so the things I might pull out of this list of 12, probably different than what Lori would pull, which is probably different than what you would pull and what you would pull , you know, like it looks different and that's all right. That's a good thing. And there's a lot of different ways to consider using this list too. You know, like, what's it look like if you have, okay, Mackenzie , you love a model, here's this list of 12 now what?

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. Exactly. So we've defined it and we've , um , given you some strategies. And as I look back at that list, I think about what could Mackenzie DeJong possibly ask us for our Stop. Breathe. Talk. moment? You know, that moment where we let her come at us with something off the cuff. And so I think this is the time to do that. And I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope that it's not as hard as the last question she gave us on our last episode.

Mackenzie DeJong:

So this one isn't specifically about you, you don't have to come up with examples, like I did last time, but I need some clarification. So my question you're talking about, I'm hearing parenting styles, hearing parenting philosophies. So like, what's, can you like briefly explain to me and maybe our listeners are thinking the same thing, what is the difference between the two and, or like, how do they cross over each other? Like, can you just give me like a summary or a clarification on that?

Lori Hayungs:

Sure. I think that that's easy to confuse the word philosophy with style. Um , and when I think of philosophy as opposed to the word style, so they're two different words to me. So philosophy to me is it's that big over arching or underneath me, it's that foundation that I stand on. So I'm standing on the foundation and how I move my body, how I respond to the things around me is my style. So let's see, I like to talk in pictures . So I'm seeing, okay. So I'm seeing , um, our writer, Barb Dunn-Swanson, and I am angry with Barb. And so my foundation is that of value and respect. So my foundation is that I need to have a conversation, a difficult conversation with Barb, and it's going to be respectful because I value Barb. So that's my foundation. And then my style, if I were to pick a parenting style, remember it's authoritative. So my style would be to speak to Barb about , um , expectations that I have, and I would do that in a warm manner. So I might, you know, speak in this tone of voice. I would be, matter of fact, I wouldn't be yelling. Um , my arms wouldn't be waving around. And so that to me is kind of that difference between foundation. I value respect. I want to have a first party conversation with Barb and because I value her and respect her, my style is going to be one of expectations and warmth. Does that make sense?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah , I think so. So the, the philosophy is kind of the overarching feeling, per se, and the approach is - no, that the style is the approach.

Lori Hayungs:

It's what you see.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think the philosophy is what we believe and what we wish and what we hope it's feels a little more intangible. Like it's the thought while the style is like, what you see is the actions is the choices we make is the things we say. So the philosophy, I like the word foundation. I like that.

Lori Hayungs:

It feels sturdy.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. That's sturdy. Look at you speaking pictures again. It's sturdy.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes. That's awesome.

Lori Hayungs:

And it's sturdy - okay, so let's wrap this all back in - its sturdy, because you've taken the time to have some self focus. You've taken some time to create clarity about it. And that's why it feels sturdy because you've given purposeful thought about it. Good question.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And as you've been talking and you said foundation, now, I'm thinking about how it applies to building a house

Lori Hayungs:

More on that, more on that later.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Thank you for clarifying. Actually, as we talked through that, it started to make more sense to me. So hopefully that helps others. So.. bye!

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. So today we've talked about our parenting philosophy. We've talked about ways that we can begin to develop a parenting philosophy or come back to our parenting philosophy and think about how it needs to be tweaked or negotiated differently. Doing that allows us that opportunity for self care. It allows us to feel confident in our parenting. When we feel confident in our parenting, we see our children as more capable. Gosh, it just spins all the way around twin, a nice circle with a nice tight bow. Right? And so whether you're just starting out on your parenting philosophy or whether your thinking, I maybe need to take a moment. And I like to have conversations with my adult children about this type of thing, because they are perfectly capable. I think even, you know, even your preschooler would just have the most creative conversation with you about what do we believe.

Mackenzie Johnson:

What's at the core, right?

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. So , anyway, I want to say, thanks. Thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting. Remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple and Spotify or your favorite podcast app, watch the show on video each week, and then you can join us on Facebook live sometime when we tackle your questions and your comments. But here we are. So...

Mackenzie Johnson:

Come along with us as we tackle the ins and outs, the ups and downs and the research and reality all around The Science of Parenting.