Has your child started avoiding interactions with you lately? Is he demanding for stuff that you think is ridiculously expensive? Has your child been having troubles making friends?
The key to this raises another question again; do you think your parenting style is suitable for your child?
What is a parenting style? What effect does it leave on our children?
Parenting style refers to the way in which parents choose to raise their children. A parent is an important factor in their children’s social as well as emotional growth and development. There is no way in which parents can escape having a regulating effect on their children’s personality, character and competence.
In a research, Diana Baumrind(1966) found that there were two basic elements that helped in shaping successful parenting-:
Parental responsiveness or warmth
It is the way parents respond to their children and their needs; mostly seen in authoritative parenting while lack of response results in absence of both warmth and control which is essential for the child; mostly seen in neglectful parenting.
Parental demandingness or control
Parents tend to hold unrealistic expectations from the child compared to his/her potentials; mostly seen in authoritarian parenting while parents keeping no demands or expectations from the child without foreseeing cons of their decisions, results in extremely accepting and lenient parenting; seen particularly in permissive parenting.
We cannot say that every parent falls clearly into one specific category yet these parenting styles usually match with the type of discipline a parent selects to use with his or her child which needs parental expectations and guidance that change with time as the child grows to encourage certain outcomes that are expected from the child. The quality of parent-child interactions has been shown to influence the development of children’s motivation.
We are all born different and unique. What we think we loved as kids might not work the same way for our children since evolution has its effects on every single individual.
Parenting one of the toughest job in the world. It brings joy, excitement but also responsibility and pressure to nurture a being. It is what is provided to the young ones in their growing years which determines their personality to a great extent.
A parent is an important factor in their children’s social as well as emotional growth and development. Often there is a lack of confusion among the parents regarding how to communicate with their children. Whether to be their friend or assume the role of a strict disciplinarian or let the child bloom at his rate and choices.
Parenting style refers to the way in which parents choose to raise their children. There is no way in which parents can escape having a regulating effect on their children’s personality, character, and competence. Parenting lies on a continuum on which the caregivers have to slide from one end to the other for every different event. The parenting style is also determined by the temperament of the child such as whether the child is happy and likes to be hugged or is slow to warm or is distant while growing up.
It was Psychologist Diana Baumrind who provided the major parenting styles after conducting research on various parent-children interaction. Below are the types of styles of parenting and their benefits.
Think of this style as a strict warden who is obsessed with maintaining rule and order amongst the students. In this style, parents develop certain disciplines which the children are expected to follow and failure to maintain them could result in punishment. The parents here are uninvolved emotionally and place unachievable high standards for the children to reach. They do not provide the reason for any punishment that the child receives, causing the child to be uncertain.
If you find yourself following any of the below roles you might be using Authoritarian style
- Constant conflict regarding power
- Severe punishments such as either physical violence or total abandonment of the child
- Not including your child in activities made for him
- Assorting to the humiliation of your child in front of others when he/she fails to meet standards set by you
- Total control of your child’s day to day routine
There can be serious repercussions on using this style. It may impact the growing sense of self for the child. He would feel that he is not being understood and refrain from reaching out to you in stress. There would be a constant doubt about what is right/wrong and acceptable/unacceptable. The child would be operating from rigid rules even as an adult and failing to achieve them would harm the confidence. Research also says that children growing up in this environment may either fail to love themselves or become rebellious.
A parent who is all and only fun is the perfect representation of Permissive parenting. Here there are rarely any disciplines that are maintained and there is no control of the environment. The parents are more involved in being a friend than a parent. There is no clear sense of what is expected of a child and let the children make decisions for them. They are responsive to the demand of the children but there lacks maturity in the nurture. They do not confront the child when something is out of order and have a very lenient stand to maintain. There seems to be no authority in the family structure.
If you find yourself following any of the below roles you may be using Permissive style
- No rules and disciplines are established
- Avoidance of confrontation with the child
- There is no direction on what is expected of the child
- Not letting the child accept the responsibility of his behaviour
- The constant pressure of being in the good books of your child
- Worrying to maintain the fun parent image
This parenting style also does not benefit the child, as the child does not learn to be accountable for its behavior. The power is reversed in the relationship where the power lies in the child’s hands. He does not learn to respect you. He fails to develop into a self which is responsible, mature and capable enough to take care of himself. Failing to see you as “in-charge” he would not turn to you in terms of crisis.
The parents following this style are successful in providing basic living needs that are needed to grow but fail at nurturance, guidance, and support. Children are provided with shelter and food but are neglected by the parents in terms of emotional, psychological and psychical development. There is no physical show of love such as hugs or affection nor is the child given the space to mentally rely on parents in terms of need.
The children who grow in this environment forever are left in confusion as to why did they not deserve the love and care. They tend to have a broken sense of self and feel a lack of control over their environment. They also are unable to develop self-care and self- love. They are unable to develop a healthy satisfying relationship with others as adults. They fear to be vulnerable to others emotionally.
This is the most healthy and beneficial parenting style from all the mentioned ones. It has elements of authoritarian style but here the parents are understanding and responsive to the needs of the children. They also establish rules but do not resort to punishment, they provide an explanation to the mistakes that their children do. They also teach them how to correct their blunders. They provide a warm and safe environment for the child to grow where mistakes are not considered to be a failure of the child in itself. Children are given support to help them grow a healthy sense of self. Here the focus is on providing a solution to the mistake rather than an opportunity to punish. Both the parent and children brainstorm together to solve the mistake.
If you find yourself following any of the below roles you may be using Authoritative style
- Letting your child have his own voice
- Helping them understand the reason why it is a mistake
- Showing empathy when a child does something wrong
- Acknowledging your feelings and your child’s
- Establishing rules that are not rigid
- Being clear and direct while refusing the demands of your child but with an explanation
This style facilitates the development of a strong self-belief system that helps the child to trust in himself. The child feels secure with the parent and does not see them as a threat. They are able to rely on them for support and be objective in their appraisal. The child learns to love self and believes that he is worthy of respect. Mistakes are not seen as a representation of the global character of the child and hence they do know how that it can be rectified. It helps them to forgive others when they commit mistake and are able to consider other’s perspective. They learn to become independent and believe that they have the resources to deal with difficult situations as well.
How can you provide a healthy parenting to your child?
- Respect– Develop respect towards your child when disciplining. Do not resort to shaming or blaming for their actions.
- Listen– provide attention to them. Show them they are listened to and acknowledge their feelings. Teach them how to express and do not judge their feelings.
- Let them choose– This helps to foster responsibilities and courage to practise independence. It will also help them to trust self.
- Model– children learn from modelling. If you model a positive accepting approach they would acknowledge and cultivate such a positive perspective. Practise before you preach.
- Be clear– do not leave the child guessing about what is expected of them. Provide clear and concrete rules, do not change them frequently. Be persistent with rules along with a few teaspoons of warmth and love while establishing boundaries.
- Reinforce– provide praise to a child and positively reinforce their accepted behaviours. Provide them the reason for why they are rewarded that would help them establish the connection between what is expected and the reward.
- Balanced punishment– if your child does something which is unacceptable. Do not delay the punishment. It has to follow the action. Do not provide harsh punishment. Provide a reason for why his behaviour was not expected. Make sure you do not make global comments such as “you are born idiot” “you would amount to nothing”. Stick to the current situation and let the child explain his viewpoint as well.
- Be consistent– Your behaviour has to be consistent while parenting. You can provide punishment or praise at one time/to one child and fail to do it a different occasion/to the other child. Your behaviour has to be reliable while also accommodating.
Parenting does involve high investment and it has risks attached to it as well. Many times young parents are confused and fearful of the fact that they might hurt the child. Rely on your gut because no one in the world wants the best for your child more than you. Also, remember children are very resilient while growing they adapt well, so if you are practicing any parenting style which is not effective there is still time. You can develop the assertive and authoritative parenting style and work on the tensions and stress between you and your child.