Most of you are familiar with the terms, “Tiger Mother” or “Helicopter Parent.” If you are not, these are specific styles of parenting that go along with their own “rules.” One has strict expectations that many consider unreasonable and uncompromising. The other is all about hovering so close that you are ready to swoop in and rescue at any time. Neither one of these parents, would be successful parenting my TBP. The “Tiger Mother” would be furious and in constant power struggles when my TBP was pushing back about all of the hours of music practice. The “Helicopter parent” would be exhausted since my TBP would love for someone else to take responsibility for all of HIS chores and problem solving. It would be much easier for him, if he had someone else to fix the problems and he could focus his energy on important things like Mine Craft. After some careful consideration, I have decided that I too have a style of parenting, which I will call “Pit Bull Parenting.”
Now “Pit Bull Parenting” might not be necessary for the “typical child” on a daily basis, but a TBP (or challenging child) would benefit from the “sink your teeth in, lock down, and hold on” style that I have developed. Being a Pit Bull has proved beneficial in many situations. I’m quite sure that our TBP’s school staff thinks that we “hang on” a bit too hard. But we are determined to make sure that his program meets his needs and that they understand the underlying reasons WHY some of the situations happen in the first place. The Pit Bull Parent uses these same tactics with the TBP. The follower of this parenting style, doesn’t get sucked in when the TBP tries to negotiate and keeps his/her mouth shut when tempted to lecture or get the last word in an argument. The Pit Bull knows that constant yapping isn’t effective.
Pit Bull Parenting has let me down a few times. When taking my TBP back to Therapist #1, this “bite down hard and stand your ground approach” did not help when my TBP refused to cooperate and would not take an IQ test. No amount of negotiating, bribing, persuading worked. Money down the drain. Interestingly, he finally came clean at bedtime and explained that he did not want to take the IQ test because he knew what she was doing. “What was she doing?” we asked. “She was trying to hypnotize me and I wasn’t going to let anyone control my brain.” We asked him why he thought she was hypnotizing him and he said, “Because she said to me…pay attention and repeat these numbers after me. Once she said that, I knew what she was doing!” Sigh…
In fairness, I take the term “Pit Bull” as a compliment. When it comes to my TBP, I AM relentless about educating myself, advocating for him, informing those that work with him, and letting others know that he (and other TBP) deserve a school experience that best serves their educational and emotional needs. Let’s stand together and proudly wear our Pit Bull badges (or ID tags) as we help to spread the word about these creative, brilliant, and memorable children! Who’s with me?!