Do you know which one of the parenting styles you practice? It’s very important that you, as a parent, learn what style of parenting you use to raise your children. And why is this so important? Because, knowing your own parenting style can ultimately have a direct effect on most parent’s goal of raising happy, healthy and well-adjusted children.
Three Common Parenting Styles
Three common parenting styles are uninvolved, permissive and authoritarian . Most parents fall into one of these categories most of the time, and many parents will use a combination of these parenting styles. But, most parents adopt one parenting style that is used the majority of the time, and may share different styles with a spouse or other parent-figure in the household.
This parenting style is mostly self-explanatory. Here, one or both parents do not exert much (if any) control of over their children’s behavior, nor do they provide much in the way of positive responses – love, admiration, etc. The neglectful parent may have other health or behavioral issues to deal with such as depression, substance abuse or a myriad of other issues. This parenting style, like the others, is often a learned behavior.
Permissive parents make few, if any, rules and give most control and decision making to their children. Any rules that are made are not consistently enforced, and the children quickly learn this. Children need clear boundaries for a healthy upbringing, and the permissive parent do not provide boundaries – they are infatuated with the idea that their children should be “free.” Most any behavior – good or bad – is accepted.
Permissive parents give their children many choices, and do not moderate this behavior when the child has demonstrated that he/she is not capable of making good choices. Expectations are not set or communicated to the child.
Permissive parenting may result from a parent’s own lack of willingness to become involved in the upbringing of their children – sometimes these parents feel they may not be qualified to make decisions for their children, and grow into an uninvolved parent. Often, the results of this type of parenting are rejection and neglect, and the child will look elsewhere for guidance and acceptance. Sometimes when children seek guidance and acceptance outside the family, they look towards bad influences such as gangs and other adults who will exploit these children.
Authoritative parents can be both demanding and responsive and try to help their children learn to be responsible for themselves and to think about the consequences of their behavior – good and bad. Reasonable expectations for their children’s behavior are set and explanations for why they expect their children to behave in a certain manner are communicated clearly. In a warm and loving way, the children’s behavior is carefully monitored to be certain that the children follow through on their parent’s expectations, and stay within preset boundaries.
The Authoritative parent tries to reinforce the good behavior, while promising (and following through) with punishment when expectations are not met. Rules and behaviors are not demanded or dictated, and the authoritative parent will try to use logic and reason to get the child to behave in a certain way. For example, if the child tries to pick up the cat by its ears, the parent will use logic and tell the child that picking up kitty like this will hurt the kitty.
Choices based on a child’s ability may be offered. I know in my own experience, when my wife was trying to potty-train my then 2-year old daughter, my wife offered “big girl” underwear instead of the standard diaper if my daughter would use the toilet. This tactic worked like a charm – my daughter was potty-trained in one day! Not every situation will be this successful, but if the parent is appropriate in matching the decision with the child’s ability, then success can’t be too far away.
Remember, that “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” In other words, most behavior is learned, and if parents take an active and thoughtful role in their child’s upbringing, then the groundwork may be set for that child to grow up into a happy, healthy and well-adjusted adult.
Are you looking for some parenting advice – or maybe just some reassurance that you’re on the right track with your parenting style? Drop by ParentingSelfHelp.com to gain some insight on your parenting skills.