ESSAY #26: A special gift of patience and compassion.
“In the 70’s, we didn’t lock the front door to our home; that was a very different time in society.
The door to my grandparents' home opened. A familiar person came through the door with this
three year old child - happy and unknowing. He told them to make sure to not ever send her back
and it may be best they keep her. They spoke privately and they did just as he suggested - kept
From that point on, that three year old child stayed in her grandparents' home. That child was me
and in my family this is the one event that causes everyone to whisper to this day. This isn’t a
sad story at all, just an event that shaped my life. I’m sure it shaped my thinking in every part of
my life and something I cherish as a blessing. In hindsight, I believe my life was an interesting
one. I often wonder if I had these certain experiences because I was supposed to do something
special with those moments later - a writer maybe. This one event and how I was treated as a
young child at the time shaped my thinking about my grandparents (caregivers), parent, and how
I felt I needed to operate as a person. Moreover, my idea of what parenting should be may have
begun right at this moment.
When I was younger, I was raised by my grandparents in a African American middle class
household. Although I lived in a African American household, I have a wide experience with
people of different backgrounds who have been valuable to me in my life and neighborhood
while growing up. Living with my grandparents sure was a true blessing. They were such wise
people. This event of how I came to live with them is such a huge thing in my family even
though it has been over forty years. I never knew what happened and never questioned it. I was
taught back then that you just didn’t ask things that had to do with adults. I know that may sound
silly now because it had to do with me. I was raised in a household with mostly women that
included my grandmother and two aunts. My grandfather was a huge figure as well. There was a
mixed bag of sorts in how I was raised. My grandmother believed in strict, very structure
environments and very religious. However, my grandfather’s beliefs were dramatically
different. He was not religious at all and believed that children are little people learning about
themselves, so if we tell them what to think, they will never find who they are or what they like.
He used to say that children are not robots, they are humans that should have a little guidance
only. So to that end, my grandmother’s dismay, she may have come home from work one day to
me standing on the roof, with a dress on, helping my grandfather fix the roof. He had a thing
about me not feeling limited and free. Those were great times. Can you imagine the
conversations I heard because of their differences?
Although I was raised by my grandparents, I still had communication with my mother. I still
called her ‘mother’ and my grandparents were called ‘mom and dad’. It may sound weird but it
worked for us. I was taught to respect her as my mother even through all of the challenges we
went through. She had a very different way of communicating with me. She was short, abrasive,
and times spent with her was usually - challenging. At that age it was confusing because of the
difference in households, parenting and treatment of me. I knew if I was with her, I needed to
just sit back and be very observant of her body language and tone. Just to put this in perspective,
when I was with my grandparents, I was treated well and felt loved. However, when I was with
my mom I could never do anything right, something was always wrong, or she was upset about
something and this meant I was in trouble. I am 49 years old and to this day I have to be mindful
of my mother’s intentions when she is communicating with me.
Family Event and Treatment
Whatever happened is a secret, the ‘drop off event is even more of an issue in conversation and
after all these years, no one will speak on it. The challenges I had while trying to navigate two
completely different households was great. I think my grandparents and my mother’s siblings
always felt the need to cover me from harm. However, from the lens of a child, it also felt like
my mother was determined to do just the opposite. I was very cautious. As I reflect, my mother
was defensive and it started with the family friend dropped me off at my grandparents' door that
day. When I was in the midst of it all, I cared more about why I was treated in such a way by my
mother and less about the actual event. At this point it has been so many years, I can’t say I want
to know why she treats me so indifferently. It’s difficult to explain and it isn’t parenting at all. It
is if we are distant relatives. The behavior of both ‘sides’ are the same as when I was young; my
grandparents and mothers’ siblings treatment of me is pretty normal and my mother is the
My worldviews, the way I communicate, thoughts on parenting and my overall thinking has a lot
to do with the way I was raised. I was raised to move forward and through challenges. I find I am
great at that. The events of my life could have had a negative affect on my own thoughts and
behaviors but it didn’t. I made a conscious decision early to be a different type of parent. I took a
lot of patterns from my grandparents I’m sure but I decided to raise my own children much
differently than my mother. I am proud of that. I raised my children the same as my grandparents
taught me; to be free thinkers and they have the ability to achieve anything in life. I had a rule
that the household was always fun but with rules and love. The rule was always no one goes to
bed upset - even siblings or children mad with parents for one reason or another. I always
believed that anything could be worked through conversation. I find they are teaching their
children - my grandchildren - the same way. I believe that situation somehow made me a strong
person. I had to be at an early age. As a parent and Special Educator, I have such great instincts
and I thank my past history for that. I learned very early how to read people and body language
and it translates into my daily life now. My instincts are amazing; especially when there is
someone in need. It is hard to explain how I know. I also seem to have a special gift of patience
and compassion for people. My students, co-workers, and my own children often tell me it is
something in my spirit and voice (tone) that is calming. Somehow I can calm whole rooms down
by just entering the space. It is pretty amazing. I decided early to find the silver lining in it all
and I am glad I decided to live this way.
Running head: Week 2 Essay
For this assignment I chose to reflect on essay # 5: Justice with feet and fists. According
to Baumrind (2005), there are four identified styles of parenting: authoritarian, authoritative,
permissive, and neglectful. The parenting styles I have identified in essay # 5 is Traditional
Running head: Week 2 Essay
Parenting, a mixture of both authoritarian and authoritative parenting. I argue that the
Traditional parenting style is a mixture of both authoritarian and authoritative because in
Traditional parenting, parents are cold, demanding, harsh (authoritarian), but balance strictness
by implementing affection. The children in essay # 5 were met with severe beatings as a means
of discipline; however, the parents were also open to compromise, negotiation, and also
displayed memorable affection.
According to Sarwar (2016) “The authoritarian parents attempt to evaluate, shape and
control the attitudes as well as behavior of their children in line with set standards of conduct,
known as absolute standard.” In the authoritarian parenting style, children must follow strict
guidelines set by the parents. If children fail to follow these strict guidelines they are punished, to
include physical punishment. Authoritarian parenting tends to be more common in African
American, Asian American, and Hispanic families, unlike authoritative parenting which is more
prevalent in families with a European ethnic background (Pinquart & Kauser, 2018).
Authoritative parenting is characterized by responsiveness, demandingness, and
independence granting. “It is generally believed that authoritative parenting encompasses an
optimal mix of both warmth and control such that children receive consistent messages not only
about the expectations that their parents have for them but also the support and responsiveness
they need in order to meet these expectations” (Maccoby & Martin, 1983).
Traditional parenting is associated with immigrants, this parenting style is similar to
Authoritarian parenting because it is demanding and harsh; however, it allows for affection. I can
personally relate to Traditional parenting, I was raised in a strict Christian home in which my
Running head: Week 2 Essay
parents believed that harsh discipline was necessary for my upbringing. I understand that my
parents were only following what their parents and church had taught them, but studies have
shown that harsh and cruel parenting is ineffective.
In this essay, harsh parenting was passed from generation to generation; inflicting a
pattern of violence derived from previous generations. It was individual experiences, in this case
military service that allowed for reflection. Although the author has not personally experienced
parenthood, he/she has already reflected and understood the consequences of violence as a
disciplinary tool. Military service has also demonstrated the ineffectiveness of violence in
discipline, allowing the author to identify a more appropriate and effective approach to
Parenting is a difficult task, although studies have shown that Authoritarian parenting has
the highest level of academic achievement outcome and is less likely to inflict behavioral
problems, there is no parenting style that can generate a specific outcome. There are many
factors that will determine how a child will respond to parenting, understanding a child’s
individual needs and personality will determine the most effective and appropriate parenting
style for that specific child.
Baumrind, D. (2005). Patterns of parental authority and adolescent autonomy. New Directions
for Child and Adolescent Development, 2005(8), 61-69.
Running head: Week 2 Essay
Estep, H. M., Avalos, M. D., & Olson, J. N. (2017). The relationship between parenting
styles, general deviance, academic dishonesty, and infidelity. College Student Journal,
Maccoby, E. E., & Martin, J. A. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child
interaction. In: P. H. Mussen (Series Ed.) & E. M. Hetherington (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of
child psychology, Vol. 4. Socialization, personality, and social development (4th ed., pp.
1–101). New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Pinquart, M., & Kauser, R. (2018). Do the associations of parenting styles with behavior
problems and academic achievement vary by culture? Results from a meta-analysis.
Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology, 24(1), 75-100.
RODRÍGUEZ, M. D., DONOVICK, M. R., & CROWLEY, S. L. (2009). Parenting Styles in a
Cultural Context: Observations of “Protective Parenting” in First-Generation Latinos.
Family Process, 48(2), 195-210.
Sarwar, S. (2016). Influence of Parenting Style on Children's Behaviour. Journal Of Education
And Educational Development, 3(2), 222-249.
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