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Thursday, February 18, 2010

T3 - Parenting Styles Overview (and Quiz!)

If you're stuck on developing a truly rich backstory for your character--a reason to give them the current quirks and neuroses they have as adults--then look no further! For the next five weeks, this series on parenting styles will not only help enrich the lives of your characters on the page, but it will also help you parents out there know a little bit more about yourself and where YOU come from.

To begin with, we'll start with a two-part quiz. It's a little involved, so do yourself and your character a favor by grabbing a pencil and paper to take this puppy for real. (If you don't have time right now, then come back! Don't rush this one.) Using the scale below, write the number from 1 to 5 that corresponds to your level of agreement with each statement below.

1 strongly disagree; 2 disagree; 3 neutral; 4 agree; 5 strongly agree

Part I: Beliefs

_____1. It is better to give a little ground and protect the peace than to stand firm and provoke a fight.

_____2. Children need discipline that hurts a little so that they will remember the lesson later.

_____3. Children shouldn’t always get their way, but usually we ought to learn to listen to what they have to say.

_____4. The parent-child relationship is like a war in which if the parent wins, both sides win; but if the parent loses, both sides lose.

_____5. If parents provide a good environment, children will pretty much raise themselves.

_____6. The parent’s role is like that of a teacher who is preparing the child for a final exam called life.

_____7. Childhood is so short that parents should do everything to make it a happy time.

_____8. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is still the best policy.

_____9. Children need to learn what they may or may not do, but we don’t have to use punishment to teach.

_____10. Whether we like it or not, children have the last word about what they will or won’t do.

_____11. If you let children have pretty free rein, they will eventually learn from the consequences of their behavior what is appropriate.

_____12. Children first have to learn that the parent is boss.

_____13. Too many children today talk back to their parents when they should just quietly obey them.

_____14. If we want children to respect us, we must first treat them with respect.

_____15. You can never do too much for your child if it comes from genuine love.

Part II: Actions

_____16. I often have to call my child more than once to get her or him out of bed in the morning.

_____17. I have to constantly stay on top of my child to get things done.

_____18. When my child misbehaves, he or she usually knows what the consequences will be.

_____19. I often get angry and yell at my child.

_____20. I often feel that my child is taking advantage of my good nature.

_____21. We have discussed chores at our home and everybody takes part.

_____22. My child gets a spanking at least once a month.

_____23. My child has no regular chores around the home, but will occasionally pitch in when asked.

_____24. I usually give my child clear instructions as to how I want something done.

_____25. My child is finicky eater, so I have to try various combinations to make sure he or she gets the proper nutrition.

_____26. I don’t call my child names, and I don’t expect to be called names by my child.

_____27. I usually give my child choices between two appropriate alternatives rather than telling my child what to do.

_____28. I have to threaten my child with punishment at least once a week.

_____29. I wish my child wouldn’t interrupt my conversations so often.

_____30. My child usually gets up and ready without my help in the morning.

Now, to get your scores, add the numbers for each color.

Part I: Beliefs

Over-Controlling belief score:

RED = ________

Under-Controlling belief score:

GREEN = ________

Balanced belief score:

BLUE = ________

Part II: Actions

Over-Controlling action score:

RED = ________

Under-Controlling action score:

GREEN = ________

Balanced action score:

BLUE = ________

Now add your Belief score with your Action score, and the highest number indicates what type of parent your hero grew up with, or what type of parent your heroine is (or you are). Here's a picture I created to depict how the styles interact with each other. The darker gray rectangles (Avoiders and Power Patrols) are the more severe styles of Over and Under Controlling (scores are between 34-50) while the lighter gray rectangles represent the less severe Over and Under Controlling styles (scores between 0-33). Balanced, as indicated, falls in the middle. You're considered "Balanced" if your Balanced score is higher than the others.

I'll be delving in deeper into what kinds of people most likely fall into each category, their approaches to discipline, parental beliefs, view of negative emotions, and possible outcomes of their children (i.e., your hero or heroine!) when they grow up and strike out on their own. Stay tuned!

Q4U: Did your Belief and Action scores line up? Or did you find you're more one style in beliefs but don't act that style out?

Wordle: signature


Unknown said...

This was very cool. I did this for myself, but how neat to be able to use it on my characters. Awesome!

Mary Aalgaard said...

I am relieved to see that I am fairly balanced. Now, Aunt Tallie in my WIP. She's on the controlling side. Thanks for the fun and info.!

Susanne Dietze said...

This is so cool Jeannie! I am going to have to come back and take it for real. Then I'm going to take it as my protagonists. What a fabulous idea. Thanks!

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh boy. Very initeresting. I did it on myself. My action and belief scores were all similar, but it looks like though I'm balanced, I'm still close to controlling too. LOL Not surprised there though, since I grew up in an extremely strict environment (not unloving either, but strict). Still....I wanna be balanced!!! Wah. (lol)

Unknown said...

This is great! I love both personality quizzes and character interviews, so this is perfect. Thanks so much for sharing this, Jeannie.

Kathryn Magendie said...

what a cool blog! I'm over here from Angie's place and thought I'd say hi!

Kathryn Magendie said...

PS - I subscribed to you blog!

Bec H said...

This really helped me get a clearer picture of my MC.

I did this for him as a leader rather than a parent, but it was still useful. Thanks!

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.