Two Major Types of Parents
Dr. John Gottman, affiliated with the Talaris Institute in Seattle, Washington has done ongoing research on family relationships and how they impact children for the past 40 years. He explains that there are two major types of parents. One type of parent minimizes any negative emotion and actually deliberately suppresses emotions in themselves and their children. ( See last week’s blog). The other type of parent takes notice of their child’s emotional state and does something about it. Let’s discuss the first one.
Think the ‘stiff upper lip’ syndrome. This type of parent believes that when he/she deliberately changes or disregards negative emotions and mentally convinces him/herself that his emotions are not important, that he’d be happier and probably more successful. These parents were convinced, like the well know author and spiritual leader Norman Vincent Peale, that the power of positive thinking would change things. This is not to say that this type of parent is not loving or concerned; rather that their agenda is to make short shrift of what they consider emotional baggage and ‘just move on!’ This type of parent acts as the emotional barometer for their kids who parrot back behavior and learn to sublimate emotions.
The Emotional Suppressor
A child could be upset by a remark made by a classmate and although the child may appear depressed or act out, the parent(s) might not even be aware of the problem nor pick up any cues that the child is upset. A response to the child’s asking for guidance might be, “Oh Johnny, tough it out. You’re a big boy. Hang in there.” The type of parent who sublimates negative thoughts and suppresses emotions is setting themselves up for some real psychological problems. It is common knowledge that holding on to negative feelings and not being able to vent them in appropriate ways can lead to drastic health scenarios. Poor Johnny will learn to suppress anger, fear and sadness throughout his life and may ultimately be rewarded with an ulcer, heart disease or a host of other health issues for his efforts. Also to consider is that one of the potential effects of a child relating to this type of parent is an escalation of negative emotions in the form of tantrums or ‘acting out’ behavior. What the child is saying is, “Hey mom and dad, I want to get noticed!” Continued in next week’s blog.
Tags: Dr. John Gottman, Talaris Institute, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale