What kind of parent are you?

A study of Romanian parents

When I was pregnant, I haven’t really thought about what kind of parent will I be. I only knew what kind of parent I wasn’t going to be, I knew what mistakes I didn’t want to do, and I knew for sure that I wasn’t going to repeat my parents mistake, who over-protected me. 🙂

When she was born, I promised Erica that I will love her more than anything and that I will tell her this every day, that I will be the best parent I can be for her, that I will protect her and teach her to protect herself, that I will do everything I can to fulfil her dreams and support her passions, that I will guide her and not force her into anything, that I will be a teacher and not a punisher, that I will explain her and not impose to her, that I will let her be independent and even more, I will teach her  how to be independent.  I bet you  promised the same. 🙂

Well, almost 4 years later…

…I’m not always the best parent I can be, because I learned that I can’t always be a patient super mom, because surprisingly 🙂 moms get tired and have bad days too.

…I fear too much about her safety and I struggle to maintain a balance between independence and over-protection. It’s a balance that I find extremely hard to keep.

…When explanations don’t work, when something needs to be done and she won’t do it, than yes, I impose. Because I had to learn that I cannot be the best parent I can be if I don’t learn to set limits and impose them when necessary. Because no, she can’t do everything she wants all the time, for reasons like safety, health or even good manners. Because  the truth is that living in a society means we also need to respect each other and respect some basic common sense rules. She needs to understand and learn this too.

… I understand my parents better, but I’m even more aware of the fine line between good intentions – good results and good intentions – bad results.

…I keep all the other promises I made.

Recently, I was invited to the first edition of Digital Parents Talks, organised by Parenting PR, an event meant to gather bloggers that are also parents with the purpose of turning them into a strong community, a well educated and well informed community, that can also educate and inform others. There were several speakers invited there and we discussed themes like blogging, pr, events, campaigns and community development, but a very interesting presentation was about a study that showed the Romanian types of parents. I always wondered about this, and now we have the numbers that show exactly who we are. The research was ordered by Itsy Bitsy FM (a Romanian FM radio station dedicated to families with kids),  conducted nationwide on a representative sample of 400 parents from urban areas (25-45 years old) and the results were presented by their PR Manager, Monica Popescu.

So, what do Romanian parents want for their children?

In a few words, they desire to live their childhood, to be independent, to be the best, to know many things,to be well educated, to be healthy, to feel loved, to have friends and be socially integrated, to be protected from all dangers, to achieve more than his/her parents. If there’s really nothing to be surprised of here, the following classification might make you think more about what kind of parent you are, what kind you thought you were and what kind do you want to become.

As a general behaviour, Romanian moms are like a “broody hen”. (ro: “closca”). :))

This is translated into:

  • it’s very important that the child feels loved and protected
  • the child’s needs are the most important
  • after becoming a mother, her own needs are no longer a priority; she assumes the role of a traditional mom: cooks, she takes care of home and children
  • she is inspired by the way her parents raised her
  • Profile: warm, loving, gentle, devoted, but also possessive

From this main feature, the study showed that Romanian parents are also divided into sub – categories:

the Coach Parent – 16% of all parents: being a parent is considered a challenge; they spend time with the child, but don’t ignore their personal projects. For them it’s very important that the child develops self-confidence and grows stronger, able to decide what is good or bad for him/her.

the Inconstant Parent (permissive – authoritarian) – 33% – Inconsistency in relation to the child, sometimes very permissive, other times very authoritarian. The parent makes all decisions about what’s best for the child, without taking into consideration what the child wants.

the Friend – Coach Parent – 25% – the parent is close to the child and helps him develop, he/she is open, involved and friendly.

the Guardian Parent – 25% – the parent has a high need for environmental control and isolation from external dangers, is anxious and very protective. This usually happens when the child is very small.

I think that in the different stages of my daughter’s life, I was probably in more than one category, but I’m striving to be a more of a coach parent in the future. I’m very curious to know if you could recognize yourself in any of these categories and in which category do you want to be in the future. If you’re not from Romania, do you see any similarities with the parents in your country? 

This study showed that there is still a very high percentage of parents who believe they know it all, from what the child needs to what his/her future should look like, without asking the child.  Maybe this is where we should work harder to understand that our main role as parents is to love and guide our children in becoming the best of what they want to become. Their future should always be their choice, no matter how hard it is for us to accept it. 🙂


Photo: Cristina Nichituș Roncea –  Photography Studio

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