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”Parenting, Too Strict?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My oldest daughter is easy-going and responsible and my easy-going parenting style worked with her. Number 2 daughter needs a firmer hand. I’ll be honest, because of my childhood I didn’t want to be a strict parent, but with my second daughter I must be firm, grounding her for coming home late, etc.

I want to be a good parent, but this second daughter doesn’t like what I’m saying and doing and I have concerns that I am being unfair. How does a parent know when she is being unfair? Also, I have heard that children who have strict rules at home tend to “go wild” once they leave home. I worry about that.

Easy-Going

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Easy-Going:

I do not equate being strict with unfairness. In some instances where a parent questions whether they are being too stern, this may be due to some type of identification with their child as the parent relives their own losses through the child. For example, if a mother had few friends while growing up, she may find it difficult to prohibit her child from socializing with people she believes are unsuitable. The difficulty could be caused by the mother seeing the prohibition as a social loss for the child, and this could trigger the mother’s sense of social losses while growing up. Wanting to spare her child from such social voids, she may rationalize “perhaps I’m being unfair.”

In terms of parenting styles, I do not believe that an accurate comparison can be made between how one parents each of one’s children. Each personality must be handled in whatever way is needed to ensure conformity with parental expectations.

Yes, many children balk at their parents’ rules, but these young folks are not necessarily as ignorant about life as some parents may believe. Many learn to manipulate and try to control their parents’ emotions by whining and complaining. They will do just about anything to get their way. That is called fighting for independence. They will gain it soon enough, but by the time they do, if they have been exposed to proper parenting founded upon firm, fair, consistent discipline, then they will hopefully have a frame of reference that can guide them sensibly.

As for rebellion, I do not believe that strict parenting necessarily creates a rebellion upon emancipation. In my opinion, the culprit for rebellion is unfair and undue punishment for misbehavior. Appropriate discipline is not punitive. What children are taught when they are under their parents’ control will most likely guide them in their adult life.

”Tipping, What’s Appropriate?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’m seeing a guy who I think may be “Mr. Right.” He is kind, thoughtful, ambitious and generous to me. The problem that embarrasses me is that he leaves small tips in a restaurant. We like eating out a lot and he gets offended if I offer to leave the tip. I used to be a waitress and my tips helped pay for college. It rubs me the wrong way that he’s so stingy. Is there anything I can do?

Underpaid

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Underpaid:

Some generous tippers have handled the discrepancy you describe by tipping according to their own conscience when they eat out alone. When dining with their mate, they allow him to tip according to his conscience. “I had to remember not to feel sorry or identify with the poor waitress,” said one generous tipper when dining out with her less generous mate. “I’m sure they will make up the difference in another generous tipper,” she remarked.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’ http://www.DrGelbSays.com

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