Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are You a Bob or a Jillian?

So I was eating junk food and watching The Biggest Loser-which has become my own personal ritual of irony-when I was thinking that Bob and Jillian can be more like parents than trainers...and then I thought "well, aren't most parents just trainers anyway?"-and most parents, I think, lean to the "Bob" or the "Jillian" side.

Bob and Jillian couldn't be more opposite in training techniques. As Bob's Bio on the Biggest Loser site points out:

Bob "adopts an "inside-out" philosophy in which he builds a relationship with each client. First he motivates them to realize their potential and their sense of self-worth. Then he helps them to develop habits -- and ways of thinking and acting -- which enrich and uplift them physically, emotionally and spiritually."

The difference between his approach and Jillian's is instantly recognizable. On her own site, she is billed as "tough as nails" and "the toughest trainer on TV"...which certainly would never be applied to Bob's gooey marshmallow-centered coaching.

When I think about it, both approaches have their pros and cons. The "Bob" method is a lot gentler on the surface, but can be tough when it needs to. He relies heavily on the fact that the people he is training are very motivated not to see him disappointed-not because he'll yell and scream but because he'll support you anyway and the guilt is smothering. The results of the "Bob" method are not quick and remarkable so much as a gradual change, but throughout the experience there is a peaceful bond between Bob and the person in training.

The Jillian method is the school of hard knocks, always pushing her people to be on the ball-going harder, going farther, and getting there faster-she focuses on getting them out of their comfort zones, but can be sensitive to people’s needs if the occasion really calls for it. The results of the "Jillian" method are amazing and pretty much instant, but it takes time for people to figure out that she's really working for their own good and truly appreciate and respect what she does.

Now think how that relates to parenting. There is definitely a spectrum-I don't think most parents would fall completely under "Bob" or "Jillian"-but no matter where you are you have a leaning for the authoritarian results oriented Jillian style or the relationship oriented Bob style.

I myself am definitely a Bob. I would rather sit down and discuss things with the kids, and even if I have to be stern I’m always careful to listen to them and keep our relationship a priority. I’m willing to wait for results--and I very often do. Then again, I was raised by two Jillians.

My husband-raised by a single mom Bob parent-is definitely a Jillian. He demands instant results from our children, and pretty much gets them (to the extent that is possible with a 5 year old and a 1 year old). He is tough because he loves them and wants them to do better for their own good, and he doesn't want them to spend time doing the wrong thing and hurting themselves. It all comes from a place of love and devotion, but sometimes manages to really upset the kids.

I’m eternally grateful that our kids will get to be raised by both a Bob and a Jillian (unlike my hubby and I who were raised by one kind or the other) and hopefully the combination of compassion and tough love will make our children well rounded. In theory. That's the goal anyway.

So, which are you? Or maybe someone had both a Bob and a Jillian parent--how did that effect you?

No comments: