Thursday, March 01, 2007

Quiz: What Kind of Parent Are You?

1. A plumber comes to your house to fix the hot water heater. While he’s at work, your four-year-old goes over to explore the hammers and wrenches in his toolkit. How do you respond?
(a) You give her a stern glance, and she bobs a quick curtsy of apology, saying "Sorry, sir!" before sitting down quietly with her hands folded in her lap.
(b) You get down on the floor with the child and have fun trying to figure out how to operate the blow-torch together.
(c) You send the child to her room, where she can play with her dolls.
(d) You pull the child onto your lap and carefully describe the tools and their purpose as the plumber uses them.

2. Your six-year-old steals jam from the cupboard and lies about it. What punishment does he receive?
(a) He must write out Proverbs 12:22 ten times. ("Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.")
(b) He is sent to bed without any supper, but after twenty minutes or so you sneak in with some bread and better – and an extra little pot of jam.
(c) When his father gets home, he receives a spanking, and a heart-to-heart talk about the importance of telling the truth.
(d) You remove TV privileges for a week – and then kick yourself for having asked "Did you steal the jam?" when you knew full well that he had, thus setting him up to lie in the first place.

3. You have a free afternoon on Sunday. How do you use it?
(a) Recreation is, of course, forbidden on the Sabbath, but you have some very pious and instructive sermons that can be read aloud in the parlour.
(b) You take the dog and a kite and head out to the park.
(c) Sunday afternoons are set aside for a family drive. Sure, the children grumble when you’re getting them into the car, but this is a family tradition.
(d) You settle down to your separate pursuits: surfing the net, playing on the Wii, watching Finding Nemo on the portable DVD player. And then you feel guilty because you’re not flying a kite at the park.

4. Your one-year-old has been putting bits of string into his mouth. How do you respond?
(a) You read aloud to him the following cautionary tale: "Henry King, Who chewed bits of String, and was early cut off in Dreadful Agonies."
(b) You take away the string and give him candy instead.
(c) You wonder why I’m asking, and then remove him from his walker so that you can take him out for a car ride, holding him on your lap in the front seat.
(d) You snatch the string away, gasping, and then double check the outlet covers, stairway gates, and cupboard latches one more time.

5. While guests are visiting, your three-year-old wanders in and asks, "What’s that?" pointing to a prominent mole on your guest’s face. What is your reply?
(a) You wait for a natural pause in the conversation, and then turn to her with an expression of shocked reproof, admonishing, "Children should be seen, not heard!" You need hardly add that there will be no dessert after supper tonight.
(b) You and your guests smile in appreciation of the uninhibited naturalness of the young, vowing to imitate such delightful honesty and candour in your own social interactions.
(c) Mortified, you shush the child hastily and send her outdoors to play with her friends.
(d) Pulling the child onto your lap, you introduce all the guests to her by name and then explain that the mark on your guest’s face is called a "mole" and that, no, it doesn’t hurt. When the child loses interest in this discussion, she wanders off again and you resume your conversation.

If you answered mostly (a), then you are the Late Victorian Parent. You love your children, but you believe that to love them too intensely would be sinful. You consider your children’s religious and moral upbringing to be your primary responsibility, and the way to achieve these goals is through discipline. Obedience, humility, and respect for elders are the virtues you strive to inculcate. Your fictional counterparts are Marilla Cuthbert (in Anne of Green Gables) and Marmee (from Little Women).

If you answered mostly (b), then you are the Edwardian Parent. You acknowledge that children are selfish hedonists – and you admire them for it. Freedom, playfulness, and imagination are the virtues that you seek to acquire through interaction and even identification with your children. Like the narrator of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, you find in children a means of reentering the Neverland from which, as an adult, you are forever barred.

If you answered mostly (c), then you are the Post-War Parent. You provide a stable and healthy environment in which your children can thrive – and then you pretty much just leave them to it. Your side of the bargain is to provide warm clothing, nutritious food, and appropriate punishments for misdemeanours; your children’s contribution is to obey the house rules, respect their elders, and do their homework. Although you may read an article about parenting from time to time in Good Housekeeping, your parenting philosophy, by and large, can be described as "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

If you answered mostly (d), then you are the Me-Generation Parent. Each parenting decision you make is scrutinized carefully, both by yourself and others. While at times you set limits (in Child Wise fashion), at other times you hand over the reigns of decision making to the child (following the advice of Barbara Coloroso and other parenting gurus). You consider education to be your primary parenting responsibility, so you purchase flash cards and videos depicting letters and numbers, only to toss them in the trash three months later after learning that traditional wooden and cloth toys (not plastic or electronic) do the most to foster your child’s intelligence. You put enormous effort into parenting while holding down a 50-hour-a-week job and keeping up with multiple clubs and activities. Don’t let all that blind you, though, to this simple truth: You are the most selfish generation yet, and your children will be even worse than you are.


PeanutButtersMum said...

Crap. I'm a D. I think I knew that already, but it sucks to be reminded. Um, er, thanks? hehehe

Sober Briquette said...

Marvelous fun. I miss these quizzes, now that I've given up my obession with magazines (so long ago now, I'd forgotten it yesterday).

Not sharing my results though. Scrutinize that, D's.

Blog Antagonist said...

I think I must be a parental schizophrenic. I practice a little bit of every type.

Or maybe that just means I'm wishy washy.

Or it could mean, I don't have the first clue about what I'm doing.

Introspection is overrated. ;?)

metro mama said...

I'm a mix of b and d. I love quizzes.

cinnamon gurl said...

Ouch! I usually like quizzes but that D thing... cut like a knife.

Mouse said...

I'm just about evenly split between b and d. On the couple questions where I couldn't pick one outright, the answer would be somewhere between b and d.

-Mouse, proponent of family walks, except when it's blowing ice in one's face--so tonight's a TV night!

NotSoSage said...

b & d too. hoo boy.

ewe are here said...

Nooooooo! Mostly Ds I think....

bubandpie said...

Hmm. Maybe I should put the description for (d) this way:

You put a lot of effort into your parenting. You're trying hard to do right by your kids, and doing so under intense and contradictory social pressures. There are plenty of people on the sidelines willing to point the finger and call names, so if occasionally you need a venti full-fat Starbucks latte to make it through the day, it's really only natural.

Julie Pippert said...




Somehow my kids are known to be quite polite, respectful, kind and empathetic.

Who knew a Me-generation sort could, while parenting in a worse me-generation fashion, pull this off.

And...I made the older haul diapers to the shelter, too. On the same day the plumber explained the garbage disposal to her.

Jenifer G. said...

OK I'll chime in too, and I am also a mix of b and d.

I can see myself in others too, but for the most part I find myself drawn to those.

Fun quiz!

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Excellent, I am an Edwardian Parent. I love selfish hedonism. :)

How fun!

Mad Hatter said...

Damned if'n we do and damned if'n we don't.

Beck said...

I'd tell you that I was an A) but that would be admitting to the sinful vanity of doing quizzes when I should be darning socks, so instead I'll just glower.

Karen said...

re D - thank you for a nice healthy dose of irony, I needed that to day, I have been stuck in a parenting vortex of scrutinizing everything with a very scrutinizing scrute...
also, I have always sucked at multiple choice, but that actually highlighted my c/d internal paradigm shift cause I was raised with c (more or less) and somehow miss it and also dislike it philosophically -it's a conundrum.

So many fun interactive posts here at b&p!

marian said...

The longer I live and observe life, the more I think of most things in terms of the swing of a pendulum. I guess we humans don't live long enough to develop wisdom or lose enough momentum in our collective swing to settle down into the healthy middle ground. This topic is absolutely everywhere lately! I think I feel a big swing coming on. Time to correct errors and throw babies out with bathwater again...

Mimi said...

bwah ... haha .. hee ... >>sob<<

this would be funnier if i didn't spend all my time figuring out which answer was the right one, and what the patterns were, and what i should aim for, even while i knew there was going to be some kind of point about the futility of this type of quiz/pigeonholing, i still wanted to 'win'

the mama is a little keyed up today, i think ;-)

could that be a little more 'd'? (yeah, i'm b/d all the way down. thanks for rewriting the description ...)

kgirl said...

ooh, i'm a b&d mix too. i guess that means that i'll explain how the blowtorch works before we go barbeque my neighbour's perennials with it.

Kelly said...

I'm mostly a D. So does that mean I can now give up, being that my kids are going to be totally awful adults anyway?

nomotherearth said...

I'm a D all the way. I knew it. It's all about me, after all...isn't it?

Redneck Mommy said...

I'm not telling which one I am. I've got social services on my back, looking for a reason not to give me a baby. And damn it, I want another.

So, if my adoption case worker is reading this, just know that I am the closest thing to whatever it is you consider a perfect parent.

Now hurry up and give me my baby.

something blue said...

When you don't know the answer to a multiple choice question, you're supposed to pick C right?

bubandpie said...

You guys are so funny. I've been thinking about some take-away lessons from this one:

1) The areas in which we actually exercise decision-making as parents are fairly narrow compared to the areas that are dictated by the fashion of the day.

2) If you manage to find the ideal parenting style, you're dooming your grandchildren to endless neuroses as a result of your children growing up to parent them in the diametrically opposite style to your own (optimal) one.

3) Styles (a) through (d) also correspond to the four temperaments: (a) is an Idealist/NF style (albeit a rather strict one), (b) is the SP "playmate" style, (c) is the rules-oriented SJ style, and (d) is the NT Rational style. Which means that how you feel about yourself as a parent has everything to do with luck of the draw: if you happen to be born during an era when your natural style is in the ascendent, you'll find that parenting comes naturally, but if you're among the 75% whose personality does NOT suit the fashion of the day, you're screwed.

4) Endless self-scrutiny is, apparently, not optional (at least for me), because I can't seem to stop elaborating these theories well past their point of usefulness.

Momish said...

Oh Lord, I ended up a mix between a) and d). My child is going to run away before her sixteenth birthday, of this I am certain!

Karen said...

re: take away lessons

so, in summary, I'm screwed? yep, that seems about right.

karrie said...

I'm Edwardian, with a dose of shrieking harpy thrown in for good measure. :)

Mad Hatter said...

Oh and if my post today didn't say it loud and clear: at some level it doesn't matter what kind of parent I am. It matters what kind of kid I have been given to parent. Can you do a breakdown of the different types of children? Now that would be fun.

Becky said...

My answers were partially D, but not completely. Not that I would have picked A, B, or C either. Nor do I believe that children should be subjected to a different extra-curricular activity every night... one a week is more than plenty.

Lawyer Mama said...

Mostly D here. I guess that fits since I'm also an INTJ. Fun post!

Kristen said...

I have to be honest. I was going along, reading your quiz, feeling smug and proud of myself for identifying at least on some level with all the D questions. Then when I saw the (what felt to me) blatantly harsh description of the D parent, I was pretty taken aback. When I read the comments and then went back to re-read all the descriptions, it did make me chuckle a bit. First of all, I don't fully accept the D answers in their entirety - in many cases, I'd combine a B or C with a D answer to describe my own personal reaction. Second of all, I think it's hilarious that once I saw your comment about NT corresponding with D answers, I felt that this somehow gave me justification or explanation for my original identification with D. I'm an INTJ. I could go on, but I don't think I'm making any sense at this point. I guess the original point was, how much stock should any of us put into a quiz silo? And I like the comment about identifying types of kids and the dynamics between parent and child...because that adds an entirely new dimension to which answer someone would pick on this type of quiz.

As a matter of fact, the more I think about it, my answers would probably differ for each child. Huh.

bubandpie said...

Kristen - Urgh. Obviously I needed to signal the TONGUE-FIRMLY-IN-CHEEK part a bit more clearly. The original impulse for this quiz was my reaction against the idea that this generation somehow had the monopoly on selfishness, when arguably any parenting style could be characterized as selfish, and when we are, in many ways, more self-conscious and self-critical as parents than ever.

anna said...

What kind of a parent are you if you are always looking for e)none of the above?

Kristen said...

B&P - I think it's even more hilarious (and more to your point) that I (and apparently a few others judging by some of the comments above) missed the tongue in cheek bit and went directly to defending, justifying, or self-criticizing!

Hearing your original motivation for the quiz does make a huge difference in how I read it... either way, it sparked some interesting thoughts for me.