Parenting Persona

All parents must identify and understand their parenting persona. Your persona drives your parenting decisions and plays a major role in how successful you are as a parent.  Recognizing and understanding your parenting persona allows you to choose parenting tactics to meet your own needs, the needs of your child and the needs of your family.

Are you a reactive person? Do you respond to your child with anger? Do you have difficulty coping with change? Are you prone to being irritable or fearful?  Do you lack persistence and have a short attention span? Do you tend to withdraw when confronted with uncomfortable situations? Are intense situations often followed by feelings of guilt or remorse? Do you expect perfection from your child? Do you become frustrated when you do not have control of a situation? Do you easily become impatient? Are you judgmental of others? Do you worry about what others think or say about you? Do you criticize others? The answers to these questions will help you determine your persona.

Your persona regulates and alters the way you respond to your own feelings and events in the outside world. Being able to manage and understand your persona allows you to accommodate your behavior and change the way you relate to your child. Your persona is influenced by your temperament, reactivity, regulation and life experiences and provides a description of how you will respond to parenting situations.

The best way to visualize your parenting persona is to identify your response patterns. The three basic personas are mental analyzers, feeling followers and reflex defenders.

The first parenting persona is the mental analyzer.  Mental analyzers are imaginative thinkers who are inquisitive and have a thirst for knowledge. They are prone to appear detached and prefer to have plans for everything and avoid the spontaneous. They find comfort analyzing their child’s behavior, seek mental answers on how to alter a child’s behavior and are most secure when making plans.  Analyzers are prone to being detached from their child. They tend to be conceptual, rational, practical and interested in how their child thinks. They enjoy the mental process of researching parenting responses and are skeptical, rational and avoid being caught up in emotions.

The second parenting persona is the feeling follower. Feeling followers are highly attached to people, moods and emotions. They are aware of the feelings of others and tend to be outward directed when compared to the mental analyzer who is more inward directed. Their decisions are dependent upon the way they feel about something. They prefer to be connected to others and rely on an emotional vocabulary to understand and respond to the behavior of their child. Feeling followers worry about how they are perceived while enjoying the recognition and external validation of others.

The third parenting persona is the reflex defender. Reflex defenders are aware of and depend on boundaries for decision making. Autonomy is very important for these parents who rely on intuition, instinctive impressions and a sense of fairness for decision making. They are prone to being defensive and protective of their parenting decisions and rely on simplification of parenting responses to prevent decision making from becoming burdensome and overly complex. They prefer not to negotiate and are prone to critical and judgmental responses to others as a way to protect and defend their actions. Anger is often visible in their responses and they tend to be highly committed to their decisions and do not rely on recognition or how they are perceived by others for personal gratification.

By determining your parenting persona you will be better able to understand and alter the parenting decisions you make.