I meet A LOT of children in my line of work. And there’s always that child in the group that is full of life. I call it the “Sparkle” and I can see it in their eyes. I LOVE entertaining these children. Sometimes I’m lucky to have a few in the audience. Sometimes there is not even one. The “Sparkle” child, is a rare gem. These “Sparkles” are the children who are happy and confident. They have no inhibitions. They laugh out loud. They are enthusiastic. They are affectionate. They are full of life. We came home one day after a party where there was not one “Sparkle” in the group. I asked my 12 year old daughter….what’s the difference between a child that has the “Sparkle” and a child that doesn’t. And she said without hesitation “The parents” Oooooo…out of the mouth of babes. She is so wise for her size.
The "Empty Stare"
Of course… I knew that. It’s the parents. My experience tells me that over and over again. There are two extremes. Parents who control the child’s every move and parents who let their child run wild. Neither extremes are good for the child. As for the controlling parent… this comes in many forms. I’ve heard the term “helicopter parents”. They are the ones who are always hovering over their child. Protecting the child from any possible bad experience which may include not making it on the team to not catching the school bus. This can kill the child’s spirit. These are the children with the "Empty Stare". They become dependent on someone else making even the smallest decision for them. Their true personality have been so squashed that there is little life left in them. What you’ll have is a robot. A child who is so fearful of thinking for herself. And so fearful of making a mistake. They are often are perfectionists. Fast forward a few years and you get a depressed teenager or adult.
The "Wild Crazed Look"
Parents who let their child run wild are also creating a disaster. These children have no discipline. No one is going to tell them what to do! They will do whatever they feel like doing. Even if it’s criminal. There’s no accountability. They have an attitude of entitlement. They could be children from very well to do families. Anything they want, they get. They are given everything. Selfish brats they are. This is just to name a few of the consequences of either parenting styles. One style gives the child no freedom, the other gives them too much.
To find the happy medium should be every parents quest. Come on folks… there are plenty of books out there to help you. From my experience in the Greater Toronto Area…. I have seen more children come from the “Controlling Style” than the ”Run Wild Style”. There is no “Sparkle” in the eyes of the “Controlling Style” children. Not that I want an audience filled with the “Wild Crazed” look either. (that has happened though)
If “1” is “Extreme Controlling Style” and “10” is “Extreme Run Wild Style”, in trying to find that happy medium… I would prefer to ere on the “Wild Side”. A “6” or a “7” is still good. Just my opinion.