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Role Model Parent - The Perfect parent-child relationship essay

shan00ts 4 / 5  
Sep 17, 2008   #1
I was wondering if someone could read my essay on the characteristics of a Role Model Parent and critique it. Thank you!

The Perfect parent-child relationship

Over the course of our lifespan, we form a multitude of relationships with a variety of different individuals. However, there is one particular relationship that must have the most work put into in order for it to successfully survive; that is the relationship between parents and their children. One can only imagine how complex being a parent is, but maintaining close relationships can help ensure that parents connect with their children. In reading two essays entitled Arm Wrestling With My Father by Brad Manning and Shooting Dad by Sarah Vowell, one can establish the three most important characteristics of a perfect parent-child relationship. These three traits include individualized attention, respect, and love.

One attribute that the "perfect" parent should have is providing individualized attention to his/her child. Children who receive individualized attention from their parents have a sense of contentment because they feel significant to their parent. This leads the way to successful communication. This characteristic proves successful in Sarah Vowell's Shooting Dad. In this specific essay, neither gunsmith father nor his Democrat daughter have any real interest in the activities of one another. One day, both of them go out on the mountain to shoot off the father's homemade cannon for the first time ever. As her father is shooting off the cannon, the daughter is using her tape recorder to record the noise. At that moment, that daughter thinks to herself, "Oh. My. God. My dad and I are the same person. We're both smart-alecky loners with goofy projects and weird equipment" (159). By spending one-on-one time with his daughter, the father in the story has helped her realize that despite their vast differences, they are one-in-the-same. This is a positive example of just one characteristic of a role-model parent.

A second characteristic of a role-model parent is respect. Children strive to attain their independence at a young age. Whether they achieve it by picking out their own mismatched clothes or by choosing what sport they want to participate in, a parent needs to be constantly respectful of their child's decisions. Although some of the choices children make are not always the best ones, a good parent can help by steering their child in the right direction. In the end, the child will respect their parent for their advisement. In the beginning of Vowell's Shooting Dad, the father manifests negligible respect to his daughter for her political decisions. The daughter reveals that:
"I was so excited when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate that I taped the front page of the newspaper with her picture on it to the refrigerator door...Somehow, that picture ended up in the trash all the way across the room" (155).
What the daughter is conveying to readers is that her father did not respect her political views, and undeniably expressed it. She also informs readers that "we were incapable of having a conversation that didn't end in an argument" (155). Evidently, the relationship between the father and daughter in Shooting Dad is a prime example of an undesirable, disrespectful parent-child relationship.

Above all, a role-model parent should possess the characteristic of love. Parents need to show their children that they do love and care for them. Simply saying "I love you," or taking part in a child's activities and interests are very straightforward means for a parent to show a child love. Brad Manning's Arm Wrestling With My Father is a positive example of a father showing love to his child. The father in Manning's essay is not the type of individual who can verbally express his emotions. His son even informs readers that "love was a rare expression between us" (150). Instead, the father uses physical means to reveal his love to his son, such as arm wrestling. However, at the conclusion of the essay, the son notes that his father "offered a hug" in place of the handshake that the son had offered. Because of his father's gesture, the son speculates that "what he [his father] had said to me in that last hug was that he loved me" (150). Even the insignificant details can unquestionably make a child feel love from his or her parent and help the parent be more desirable role-model figure.

As preposterous as a perfect role-model parent seems, it is somewhat feasible. In fact, a parent needs to be as much of a role-model to his/her children as possible in order to build an intimate relationship with them. Three preeminent characteristics of a role-model parent include being able to provide individualized attention, respect, and love. Through Sarah Vowell's Shooting Dad and Brad Manning's Arm Wrestling With My Father, readers can find positive and negative examples of the three prominent traits of a role-model parent. When a bond with a child is healthy and expanding, the child will accept a parent's influence unhesitatingly and will reciprocate enthusiastically to new assignments and requests.

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