I saw the trailer for this show, Parent Test, and thought I might check it out when it comes on. So, when it did, I sat on the edge of my recliner and within the first 15 minutes of viewing I pushed the lever and leaned back and I was hooked. The show seeks to show the many different parenting styles or approaches among 12 different families.

There were three parenting styles developed by Diana Baumrind that she labeled: authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. Ms. Baumrind who passed away in 2018, was a developmental psychologist at U.C. Berkeley who in 1966 penned the paper that described the styles. Over time there has been more research and more styles identified.

The Parent Test expanded these styles and calls them “approaches.” The host psychologist described eight parenting approaches: child-led, free-range, new-age, helicopter, negotiation, high achievement, intensive and strict. With the aid of the hosts, a very likeable celebrity, and a master teacher/clinical psychologist, 12 families will judge which of them has the better approach to parenting. No matter how cute our kids are, at one time or another they will test our mettle and can turn the kindest parent into a parent whose nerves are frayed and whose reactions can be hair-trigger.

In the first episode one of the parents made a statement that she did not want her daughter to grow up a “loser.” This one word elicited varying degrees of emotional response from other parents who were listening and judging – one woman winced, another person opened wide eyes in shock and one man began to cry.

The word triggered something deep inside of him that he had to express. He said that when he was young he used to be called a loser and he had vowed to himself that he never wanted his child to be called a loser. He and his wife were the child-led parents. Other parents had teary eyes perhaps remembering some word that made them feel helpless, criticized, overlooked, dismissed or unloved.

Our children’s bodies carry emotions. This emotion manifests itself as we age into parenthood and reactions can come pouring out when triggered. Pain is real whether in the body or the spirit. Spoken words are powerful and require a response. Unspoken words are emotional and our response may be no response at all.

A sponge will clean up spills. The spill can be water and require a swipe or it can be grape juice. Once the juice is swiped by the sponge it leaves its mark. When you wring out the water it comes out clear; however, when you wring out the grape juice it comes out purple leaving the sponge purple. This purple juice is like the word “loser” that damages: You can wipe it up, but it leaves its mark.

Parents parent by the mark that is left from their childhood sponge. Be careful.

• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears monthly in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to tpletters@tracypress.com.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.