How did you prepare for one of the most powerful roles you can play?
As time goes on and your parenting experience grows, how much thought have you given to your parenting style? Did you know there were several key types that have a significant impact on the quality of your relationship with your child?
Depending on your own upbringing and parenting goals, you may have naturally fallen into one category or another. Depending on your level of satisfaction with parenting so far, you may even wish to change your style.
Well-known clinical and developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind’s well-regarded research is the standard regarding the four traditional primary parenting styles. She breaks them down into four primary approaches: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved.
Each type, detailed below, is thought to have a vital impact on the health and development of a child.
The Four Primary Parenting Styles
The Authoritarian Parent: “My House, My Rules.”
Are you are this type of parent? From the start you may have envisioned raising very obedient, self-controlled, capable children.
As an authoritarian parent you likely stress being in charge and following rules. You may also lean toward high expectations with little negotiation. Thinking of your children as tough little soldiers, you may fall into relating with very little communication. It is easy for an authoritarian parent to operate by demand rather than deeper connection and understanding.
It is worth noting that this parenting style is often difficult for children. Insecurity can result from an environment that affords very little room for failure. Kids may worry about losing affection often or fear punishment for not measuring up. Anxiety and poor self-esteem are often linked to young adults with authoritarian homes. These kids can also become very passive and submissive or, worse, extremely resentful towards people in authority.
Unfortunately, research indicates that heavy-handed, “because I said so” parenting can erode a child’s overall happiness, social proficiency, and self-image.
The Authoritative Parent: “Your behavior is unacceptable because…”
Are you inclined to discipline firmly, with strong communication and time for reflection? Authoritative parents create an intentional balance between parental control and unconditional love and warmth. Discipline is reasonable and compassionate.
Moreover, children are encouraged to be resilient, developing an understanding of poor decisions and consequences. As a result, they are likely to be happy, confident and well-behaved.
Research shows that children who grow up in a respectful, communicative environment, have high self-esteem and welcome social responsibility. This parenting style routinely proves to be an emotionally healthy foundation for lifelong autonomy and accomplishment.
The Permissive Parent: “Let’s be friends…”
If this is your style, you likely prefer to indulge your child rather than provide much direction. This is often thought of as friendship parenting or striving t be the “cool parent. ” And to be honest, this approach almost certainly creates strong interpersonal skills and high self-esteem in a child. On the other hand, a fair amount of unhappiness, overwhelm, and dissatisfaction tends to arise due to over-indulgence and a lack of boundaries as well.
Permissive parenting is more about the parent’s comfort than the child’s best interest. It leans on warm feelings more than a secure and controlled environment. Disappointing your child weighs heavily on you. Positioning yourself as your child’s friend reduces your willingness to apply rules and engage confrontations as an authority figure.
The research tends to show that highly permissive environments put children at risk. Having not been raised with rules, these kids often operate in the world as if rules don’t apply to them at all. Problems with self-regulation, education or career advancement, law enforcement, and narcissistic- or egocentric-type behavior.
The Uninvolved Parent: “ I don’t care.”
Are you a hands-off, “whatever” kind of parent? If so, your children may be acting out or privately hurting. They are undoubtedly aware of your disinterest or unwillingness to prioritize them. Thus, they are likely dealing with a sense of abandonment and possibly even depression.
Uninvolved parents show little warmth. They also expend little energy attempting to set limits or exert control. In fact, few demands are placed on the children because you may feel you don’t have much to offer in return.
The research reveals that a child who spend their entire childhood this way frequently has serious issues with self-control, self-image, self-motivation, resilience, and social engagement– all resulting from a lack of parental attachment and nurturing care.
So Which Parenting Style is the Best Style?
The “best” parenting style for your family is the type that honors each child’s needs and best future. Compassionate, unconditional care is vital. Warm, loving direction is crucial. And a steady, guiding hand is imperative.
It’s pretty clear the authoritative parenting style is the most balanced, positive and, structured environment in which to grow up. However, do note that incorporating a combination of parenting styles is often effective.
All in all, the authoritative ( also called democratic parenting) style is a safe and progress-oriented balance between authority and personal growth. It fosters learning and self-awareness at an early age. The normal lessons of failure and disobedience lead to natural, consistent consequences applied age-appropriately and with respect. Love and affection are not withheld as punishment. The child’s important to the family is not in question.
Every child deserves safety and parents they can count on.
Of course, not every child raised in an authoritative home will grow up trouble-free. Still, among the factors that will impact your child’s personality and behavior, a compassionate, engaged and disciplined parenting style is something you can control. Do what you can to secure firm and loving ground for your child to build their life upon.
If you are struggling with your parenting style or seeking guidance at the beginning of your parenting journey, seek support. Let me help. Please contact me soon.