Parenting Styles Explained!
The effects that parents have on their children are often extraordinary. The way that a parent chooses to discipline their child is one of the lasting memories that most children have of their parents once they are adults. As such, it is essential that responsible parents attempt to discipline their children in ways that promote beneficial effects and are contextually appropriate.
In fairness, there are many theories and suggestions on how parents should raise and discipline their children. To make matters more complicated, parents are constantly bombarded with different parenting styles that are suggested and encouraged depending on which expert parents might have seen or heard recently. As such, information overload can set in, and some parents simply give up as a result. Simplifying the process is often the best choice when deciding on the best types of parenting styles. Diana Baumrind, and the appropriately named Baumrind parenting styles that she has discussed, are an excellent way to simplify and understand parenting styles.
During the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a famous study on over 100 pre-school aged children. After observing these children, the renowned development psychologist concluded that there are three styles of parenting that she observed most often. In later years, a fourth style was added to the three that Baumrind observed. These 4 parenting styles came to be called Baumrind parenting styles. Each of these styles will be helpful to analyze so that parents can understand the effects that these styles can and do have on children. Further, this analysis should give parents a helpful tool to form an effective parenting style that will work towards their child’s best interests.
The first type of technique that will be discussed is what has come to be known as the authoritarian parenting style. This style of parenting involves parents simply establishing the rules and demanding that the child follows these rules without explanation. Children are seldom involved in solving challenges or overcoming obstacles since their lives are effectively controlled for them. These parents demand that children follow their directives without questioning them and expect the rules to always be adhered to.
An authoritarian parenting style also makes use of the classic “Because I said so.” technique that frustrates and confuses too many children when they wish to understand the reasons for their parents’ instructions. So, it is obvious that these types of parents are uninterested in working with and negotiating with their children over the rules. Typically, this carries over to the way that these parents discipline. This entails that punishments are used when children break the rules instead of teaching children the value of consequences.
However, these children will typically follow the parental rules even if they are frustrated. This can lead to benefits such as the child not getting involved in gangs or drugs, and the child might do well in school as a result. Clearly, there can be benefits to this type of parenting, but the effects of this type of parenting are often more destructive than helpful.
While it is certainly true that children that grow up under this type of parental control will often follow the rules, it is also true that many of these children grow up to have self-esteem problems. Making matters worse, these children often exhibit angry and violent behaviors since they tend to focus on their anger over parental punishment instead of developing decision-making skills in a parental system that is more consequence based.
To recap, authoritarian parenting often results in the following:
- Unhappy children
- Hostile or aggressive reactions when the child is frustrated
- Children are likely to follow the rules and avoid dangerous activities
- Children could do well in school
While similar in name, authoritative parenting differs drastically from authoritarian parenting. These parents have rules that children are expected to follow as well, but they do allow deviations from the rules in certain circumstances. Further, they will tell children their reasoning for the rules that they devise, and they typically will consider the needs and feelings of their child when establishing the limits and boundaries for the established rules.
These parents also prefer to use consequences instead of a pure punishment system. To use a criminal justice analogy, these parents would prefer to use justice as a deterrent and not use justice as a purely retributive measure. As a result, these parents also use positive reinforcement and show that good behaviors will lead to good consequences. Naturally, praise, encouragement and reward systems are more common in these households. As a result, children in these homes grow up to be happy and successful more often than not. They also grew up making decisions more often, and these skills translate into their adult lives. It should come as little surprise, then, that these children typically grow into effective citizens that can easily make decisions, make judgment calls and express opinions in a healthy way.
So, children in an authoritative home will often:
- Feel happy and fulfilled
- Be self-confident and can make their own choices
- Express emotions in a healthy way
- Develop robust social skills
These parental types are the “anything goes” kind of parent. They typically will not discipline their children and tend to be overly lenient unless there is a severe problem to attend to. They may carry out slight consequences for bad behavior, but more often than not they take a “best friend” approach where anything goes.
As a result, they could be quick to say that their children are able to talk to them about absolutely anything. However, this also leads to them rarely dissuading or chastising their children when they behave poorly. The effects of this type of parenting are usually negative.
Children that are raising under parenting styles like what has been described will often wrestle with academic struggles. They will also be increasingly likely to have authority conflicts and not respect rules and regulations. Drugs and other anti-social activity can increase for these children as well. Sadness, self-esteem issues and other undesirable traits tend to result from this parenting model as well.
In short, permissive parenting is not desirable in the least and often leads to:
- Anti-social behavior
- Authority conflicts
- A lack of self-esteem
- Increased feelings of sadness
- Academic struggles
This final form of parenting is the worst of the 4 parenting styles. Different parenting styles can work within reason, but this form of parenting is outright neglect. These parents will not meet even basic needs of their child and often expect children to raise themselves. This can be due to a variety of factors, including substance abuse and mental health problems. Sometimes, it could just be that they are overwhelmed by other issues in their life. In any event, out of all the types of parenting styles, this one is overwhelmingly the most destructive.
There are seldom any rules or expectations for the child under this system. Worse, these parents often do not even have any knowledge of what their child is doing or does on a day-to-day basis. As a result, these children exhibit significant self-esteem issues and are typically awful academic performers. They also will typically rank the lowest in happiness and exhibit terrible behaviors.
Thus, according to the Baumrind parenting styles, this is the worst of the 4 parenting styles. Effects of this parenting include:
- Children with severe self-esteem and other emotional issues
- Awful academic grades
- Lowest happiness among thee different parenting styles
- Exude generally awful behavior, making this the worst option among the different parenting styles
So, What Can Parents Take from This?
In short, parents would be wise to raise children under an authoritative parenting style. Do not confuse this with the authoritarian parenting style. An authoritative parent will lay down rules but will encourage questions and will be flexible with their rules as they pertain to the child’s needs. These parents will also encourage the child’s development and take an active role in caring for their needs. As a result, these children will be encouraged to make their own decisions while also learning to respect authority figures and their rational rules.
Why might it be that this parenting style is so much more effective than the other styles that were analyzed? Most psychologists suggest that when children understand that a parent is making a rule for reasonable and valid reasons, the child is more likely to be understanding, accepting and ultimately acquiescing of the parent’s rules. From this, children will come to accept that they follow the rules because they made the active choice to do so. This revelation will ultimately be empowering to a child, and this lesson will often be taken with them into their formative and adult years.
In short, out of all the types of parenting styles, parents would be wise to choose the authoritative style of parenting. The benefits of this decision could radically impact their child’s future for the better.