Raising kids is one of the toughest jobs in the world.
You are not simply taking care of a child’s basic needs; you are molding the mind of a future adult.
Your kids are going to raise their kids using all the lessons they have learned from your parenting style.
Feeling the pressure?
If you are a new parent then you might’ve heard parenting advice from folks who’s been there and who have seen everything.
It’s interesting to know that all parents, new ones included, are similar in the way they raise their children.
That’s why child psychologists have come up with names for the 4 common styles that parents use, also known as the 4 basic Baumrind styles.
Each style utilizes a combination of child-rearing strategies.
Let’s consider each of the parenting styles and how they affect children:
As the name implies, the authoritarian parenting style utilizes a strict, disciplinary style with little room for negotiation between the parent and the child.
Many respected authorities consider this to be the healthiest, most effective ways to raise normal, thriving kids because it fosters a productive relationship between the parent and the child.
Authoritarian parents are hard to miss.
These parents have high expectations of their kids but are supportive too.
Such parents are perceived as disciplinarians and the communication between kids and parents is one-way.
Lots of rules are established but they may not be explained clearly.
Authoritarian parents are often less nurturing than other parents and punishments are common.
Are You an Authoritarian Parent?
• Are the kids following a structured day complete with planned bedtime?
• Do your kids follow and understand the household rules?
• Are there consequences for disruptions in your kids’ day?
• Are there consequences for breaking the household rules?
• Does your child understand your expectations? are the expectations reasonable?
• Do you have a healthy line of communication with your child?
• Does your child feel that he or she can speak to you about something without fear of a negative consequence, such as harsh judgment?
Kids react to different parenting styles in various ways and depending on your child, being authoritarian may or may not work.
For instance, kids with behavioral issues may resist an authoritarian household.
Be flexible and adjust your style when it’s not benefiting the child.
If you are dealing with a child plagued with behavioral problems, seek help from a licensed therapist or child development specialist.
When parents are not strict at all, they fall into the permissive or “indulgent” category.
This parenting style involves parents who are engaged with their kids yet offer them very limited guidance or direction.
Permissive parents tend to act more like friends to their children, rather than parents.
Permissive parents are often lenient to their children to avoid confrontation or to avoid upsetting their children.
There are some house rules but enforcing these rules is inconsistent.
The lack of structure causes children to grow up with little self-discipline and self-control.
Since the household of permissive parents has limited or no rules, the children are free to do whatever they like without fear of negative consequences.
The lack of household rules also means the children are left to figure out things on their own, including solving their own problems.
Are You a Permissive Parent?
• Does your household lack limits or rules for your child?
• Do you often adjust the household rules according to the current mood or temperament of your child?
• Do you actively avoid conflict with your child?
• Do you prefer to be treated as your child’s friend rather than his or her parent?
• Do you often bribe your child with unreasonably generous rewards to get them to do things that you want (ex: extra allowance for behaving well when relatives come over for the holidays, etc.)?
Although this parenting style is nurturing in general, there are no clear-cut parent and child roles and that is a problem.
Children crave structure.
Setting few, inconsistent rules, avoiding confrontation, letting the child do what he or she likes, all these will lead to long-term behavioral problems.
Studies show that children are more than three times as likely to engage in heavy underage drinking when reared by permissive parents.
The uninvolved or “neglectful” parenting style gives the children total freedom with no particular disciplinary measures or punishments as consequences.
As the name implies, the parents appear to be uninterested in rearing the children and they mostly stay out of their children’s way.
Some parents choose this style from the start; others just transition into it because they are unsure of how to deal with their kids.
Of all the parenting styles, this is the most harmful to the kids because it does not teach them self-discipline or self-control.
Children raised in this manner have zero trust foundation with their parents, which will affect how they see or explore the world beyond their homes.
In addition, children raised by neglectful parents will have a hard time forming meaningful relationships with other people.
Are You an Uninvolved Parent?
• Do you care about your child’s mental, emotional, and physical needs?
• Do you have a deep understanding of what is going on in your child’s life right now?
• Do you provide a nurturing, reassuring growing environment where your child can share their experiences and receive positive, encouraging feedback?
• Do you spend a long time away from home, leaving your child to fend for themselves?
• Do you find yourself rationalizing why you aren’t there for your child?
• Do you know your child’s friends or teachers?
• Do you engage in bonding activities with your child outside the home?
If you or your friends have adopted this parenting style, it’s important to seek help to minimize the emotional and mental damage it can inflict on a child.
Rules and discipline are an important part of effective parenting. Your child needs you as a parent, not as a friend.
This parenting style sets high and clear expectations with little open dialogue between the child and the parent.
Household rules are clearly and explicitly set and the children must follow these rules or else.
Punishments are quite common and these consequences are used to demand obedience or to teach a lesson.
Although the authoritative parenting style provides structure and disciplinary measures to rear a child, too much of a good thing may lead to dire consequences.
Children who grow up in an authoritative household tend to have low self-esteem, suffer from shyness, and struggle with anxiety issues.
Most kids who grow up with authoritative parents are fearful and tend to associate obedience with love.
Are you an Authoritative Parent?
• Do you set and enforce strict household rules that must be followed regardless of the situation?
• Do you find yourself offering no explanation as to why you are punishing your child other than “because I said so”?
• Do you limit your child’s choices and decisions about his or her own life?
• Do you find yourself enforcing punishments as a means of making your child do what you want?
• Are you emotionally reserved?
• Do you show little warmth and nurturing to your child?
Authoritative parents tend to communicate less with their kids, which means children grow up in a reserved, almost cold household.
As adults, they tend to inflict the same emotional trauma on their own children.
While children need structure to establish self-discipline, they also require healthy communication within the home for proper mental and emotional development.
Parenting Advice: Which Style is Best?
According to research, authoritarian parents get the best results. They invest more time and energy using positive disciplinary measures to encourage good behavior, like praise and reward systems.
Research has found that kids who grow up in an authoritarian household tend to be responsible, well-adjusted adults who are comfortable expressing their opinions.
The most important advice any parent can receive is to pay attention to the results you are achieving with your kids. If your parenting style isn’t working, change it!