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West Michigan parents talk about their parenting styles during roundtable

Five people with different backgrounds in "parenting" share their thoughts and opinions during a roundtable discussion at Grand Rapids Public Library.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - As part of Parenting Week, we gathered a group of parents to talk about how they raise their children in West Michigan.

13 ON YOUR SIDE's Jennifer Pascua sat down with Monica Valentine, Rachel Lee, Erin Wiseman Parkin, Bo Torres and Matt Haviland for a roundtable talk at Grand Rapids Public Library.

►More: Parenting: A new series that looks at the issues parents face every day

Today's topic: What kind of parenting style do you use and is it the same as the way you were raised?

Erin Wiseman Parkin, mother to 2- and 4-year-old boys, said:

I choose purposeful parenting and positive parenting where we sat down, thought about the things that we liked from childhood and also the things we didn’t like, and we chose to break the cycle and choose to do different things than how we were raised. It involved a lot of learning and practicing.

Monica Valentine, single parent to 13-year-old girl told Jen:

I’m a single parent. Sometimes I do have to have my daughter take me seriously. When she hears my father talk, he doesn’t have to raise his voice. She looks and me and jokes, 'Oh that’s Mom,' and I think 'I’m not your friend, I’m your Mom.' So, I have to deal with both roles in the household.

Rachel Lee, single parent to 7 and 9-year-old boys had this to say:

I do, too. I’m caregiver as well as having to set the rules and having them follow them and because I’m a bleeding heart, sometimes I have to set fast and hard rules.

Matt Haviland, non-custodial parent to 12-year-old daughter

Just a simple fact that when a child is in two homes, there’s still different parenting styles and there’s also a different set of rules, too. Being the non-custodial parent, is being an authoritative parent and disciplinarian because it’s very easy, when you have minimal time, to want to be the 'fun' parent.

Jen then asked, "Do you notice that being a single parent to boys, the way that you would communicate with them is different than being a single parent to a girl?"

Valentine said, "I would say yes, I have a girl. Growing up I watched my cousin raising boys and it seemed like the boys listened more. They're easier to get a long with. Their moods don't swing as much."

Lee agreed, "As they're getting older, the differences between us are becoming larger obviously that they used to go along with me now they have opinions on."

Adnoris "Bo" Torres, does not have children. But he is around many as the fatherhood coordinator of the "Padres Fuertes" initiative at Strong Beginnings- Healthy Start.

He says he sees how parenting styles impacts children on a daily basis, "Coming from the classroom and being a role model and working with the little ones now -- being an example."

"I never raise my voice with kids. Being able to have a conversation, getting down to their level those are the things that have worked for me."

Torres says a summer program at MSU where the kids stay for 4-6 weeks allows him to see how kids adapt and engage when they are left to "free-range" styles. "Parents who are hanging around and don’t leave, come every weekend -- it takes time for the kids to be engaged and form new relationships."

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