As a parent, you will find yourself wearing multiple hats, playing a variety of roles in the life of your child(ren). I’d like to list a few of the more prominent hats you will wear as you raise your kids. This list is both linear, in that there is a sort of progression through these roles as your children grow, and completely non-linear in that you will also find yourself constantly jumping between roles, wearing multiple hats at one time, etc. regardless of the age of your children.
CAREGIVER: You are their sole provider for virtually everything. At birth and infancy, it’s literally EVERYTHING and slowly your children begin to develop independence in lots of areas, while still relying on you in others.
COP: While wearing this hat you are the undisputed, authoritative law! You explain rules and consequences for breaking them. You enforce the stuff that is important you you as a parent. You begin to teach responsibility, accountability, etc.
COACH: The role of the coach is simply that.This hat is one that doesn’t fit well at times. Sure most parents are good at telling their children what to do and how to do it. But more and more parents struggle to truly “coach” their kids which entails being willing to stand on the sideline and watch them put the playbook into action. Coaching requires the ability to discern when you call “time out” to help along the way, and when you let things play out on the field naturally.
CHEERLEADER: The role of the cheerleader is to blindly, unconditionally, believe in your kids. You watch from a bit of a distance while wearing this hat. You aren’t the caregiver, cop or coach.You are simply their biggest fan.When things are going well…you cheer them on. When things are going badly…you cheer them on. Cheerleaders are optimistic; their faith never wavers.
Successful parents seem to have a fairly decent grasp of what hat they need to wear and when. For some, this is intuitive, while others need to be more intentional in their efforts to figure it out. Parents who struggle seem to be those who instead of wearing multiple hats simply pick the one that fits them best and wear it all the time.
2 thoughts on “Parenting: The Hats You Wear”
I’m not a parent, nor will I be for at least few more years, but I’ll try to remember this post for when I become one. I’m glad you didn’t put “friend” on there. A lot of bad-advice givers will tell you that you need to be your child’s “friend” as if they have an equal authority in the relationship. Great post though!
I agree, J.T. Putting “friend” as highest priority certainly is problematic, but I do think there is a way to be friends with your kids without sacrificing authority. It’s not easy, though!