What Is Your Parenting Style?
Parenting styles in psychology have been shown to positively and negatively affect children. When you want to ensure that your child does not suffer from trauma or negligence growing up, learning about different parenting styles is crucial.
No child in the world is the same, and the same goes with parents. Children don’t come with an instructional manual on how to raise them right, and as parents, all you can do is hope that you’re doing it correctly. Like individuals, there’s a lot of diversity when it comes to parenting, and several aspects can influence it.
As trauma-informed therapist Michele Paradise says, “many patterns individuals have in their adulthood come from childhood.” While some parents are strict, others are lenient to an extent where it can become neglectful. You might be inclined to micromanage every aspect of your child’s life due to fears that if everything does not go according to plan, your child may not succeed.
Parenting Styles in Psychology: Cultural and Social Factors
Knowing parenting styles is crucial when thinking about what kind of parent you want to become for your child. to ensure a stable and happy childhood and adulthood. Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s categorised parenting styles into four broad categories, and it is used by most psychologists even today.
According to a 2022 study published in the National Library of Medicine (USA), cultural backgrounds can have a large role to play in how children are reared. Culture includes social norms, language, values, and behaviour by not just the parents but the society at large. Another 2013 study published in the National Library of Medicine states that parents try to prepare their children for the physical, psychosocial and educational situations present in their culture.
Many Indian parents, for example, tend to be concerned about their child’s well-being at all times, even when they have grown into adults. This concern can manifest itself as ‘control’, where parents feel the need to make all major life decisions for the child, from choosing where they study to selecting who they marry. In a joint family setup, a child may have many parental figures, which can lead to excessive discipline, or lack of control. The environment in which a parent is brought up can also influence their parenting style, as they take references from their own childhood when they begin rearing their child. To better understand, take a look at some types of parenting styles below.
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Types of Parenting
These four main parenting styles have been established through developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind (Ph.D.) and a 2022 study published in National Library of Medicine (USA).
The Authoritative Parent
Authoritative parents set clear expectations and boundaries they expect their children to abide by; however, they are not set in stone. They value their children’s opinions and intellect, and it can make the child feel safer.
Qualities of an Authoritative Parent
Children’s needs can vary as they grow older, and authoritative parents are highly responsive to these changes. Authoritative parents are supportive and nurturing. When they make decisions regarding their child, they are open to discussions that justify why they are making this choice. As such, it reduces conflict between the parent and child, as each decision is discussed with the child, and children are welcome to provide their input.
Am I An Authoritative Parent?
Parents are very communicative and always consider their child’s opinions, thoughts and feelings when making decisions. In many situations, they may enable ‘natural’ consequences to happen, like their child becoming friends with someone undesirable. Once the child has suffered the consequences of their decision, they use the situation as an opportunity to make their child learn and reflect on what they have experienced.
Effect of Authoritative Parenting Style on Children
Authoritative parents raise children who are generally confident, responsible and know how to self-regulate. Children can better handle their negative emotions and learn to be independent. In adulthood, these children have high self-esteem and success. Instead of punishments, disciplinary methods are enforced to support the child’s growth. While it can take a lot of patience, this type of parenting is generally the most favourable for children.
The Permissive Parent
Qualities of a Permissive Parent
You might have seen parents who act more like a friend than a guardian to their children. Permissive parents can be highly responsive to their child’s needs but often hold little to no expectations from their child. They don’t like conflict, so they tend to give in to most of their child’s demands. Communication is open, but parents give free rein to their children to figure out what’s best for themselves.
Am I A Permissive Parent?
Permissive parents don’t expect their children to display maturity and accept them as they come. Children can grow up with a moderate level of self-esteem but can have behavioural problems that can influence future relationships and success in life.
Effect of Permissive Parenting Style on Children
However, not enforcing boundaries or rules can lead children to develop unhealthy habits, such as eating plenty of junk food. It can result in increasing problems for children, like obesity, impulsiveness, and more. Since these children decide everything for themselves, from whether they want to do homework to how much TV they watch, it can lead them to develop a lack of self-regulation.
The Uninvolved Parent
Qualities of an Uninvolved Parent
Parents who tend to be indifferent to their child can often be termed as ‘uninvolved’ or ‘neglectful’. Parents will have limited communication and overall engagement with the child, as they are indifferent to what they are doing with their life. They might come across as uncaring or cold; however, that is not always the case. Many uninvolved parents are dealing with their own deep-rooted issues, making it harder for them to rear their child properly.
Am I An Uninvolved Parent?
These types of parents will fulfill their child’s basic needs, but when it comes to their emotional and mental needs, they may often be unavailable. They have little to no expectations from their child.
Effect of Uninvolved Parenting Style on Children
Children brought up in this manner can be highly self-sufficient, but it is a skill developed out of necessity. They can often have trouble controlling their emotions and have various coping strategies that might be detrimental to them. They can also have difficulty in maintaining relationships and performing academically.
The Authoritarian Parent
Qualities of an Authoritarian Parent
Parents who expect their child to follow their every rule and enforce rigid discipline are known to be authoritarian parents. Parents have a one-way mode of communication, where they often justify their decisions by saying, ’’because I am your mom/dad”. Children are unable to negotiate with their parents and are expected to abide by the rules at all times. It can be explained as tough love by the parent.
Am I An Authoritarian Parent?
Authoritarian parents have high expectations from their child but may not be very nurturing. Since mistakes made by the child lead to punishments, children tend to be very well behaved. Children brought up in this environment can be aggressive but also shy and unable to make decisions for themselves.
Effect of Authoritarian Parenting Style on Children
Children tend not to have a lot of self-esteem, which can lead them to rebel against authority. Children will also have trouble in their relationships. According to Michele Paradise, it can lead to anxious or disorganised attachment styles in the child’s relationships as they become adults.
Parenting styles can be hard to figure out, and when you feel like you can’t determine yours due to past trauma with your family, it might be time to be introspective. It might be time to heal yourself first so you can be a better parent for your child, and the process can be challenging, but well worth it in the end.
Check out this series by Michele Paradise that delves into self, parenting and attachment styles, and other aspects that can affect adult relationships:
Modern Parenting Styles: Helicopter Parenting
While the above parenting styles have been studied since the 1960s, progress in society and technology has given rise to modern parenting styles. Helicopter parenting has become more prominent over the past few years. This parenting style is characterised by over-involvement. Since parents want to protect their kids and want their success, they can go overboard and make the child feel suffocated. Micromanaging every aspect of the child’s life, even getting involved in their relationships, ultimately makes the child co-dependent. Children may be unable to handle disappointment or know how to handle their problems with this type of parenting.
Not letting your child out of your sight from the time of birth is known as attachment parenting. In this, parents prioritise love and creating a nurturing environment. As the child ages, parents must slowly learn to give them more independence. When gone wrong, it could involve the parent breastfeeding a child as old as six.
Permissive parenting with clear rules and boundaries has been coined as ‘free-range’ parenting. This parenting style involves parents trusting the child more to do things by themselves. It can help develop resilience in the child.
Which Parenting Style is Best For Your Child?
As long as your child’s best interests are in mind, any parenting style may suit your situation. There is no guidebook to perfect parenting, and each situation requires a new solution. You may not have one specific parenting style; instead, it might be a mix of two or three parenting styles.
You may not have one specific parenting style; instead, it might be a mix of two or three parenting styles. Many parents may be one parenting style in the beginning, and as their child grows older, it can evolve into another. It is well-known that many aspects of our childhood can affect our adulthood, and influence our behaviour as well. As trauma-informed therapist Michele Paradise delves into her series, many patterns carry over from childhood to adulthood, and require healing. Ensuring that as a parent, you are doing the best for your child and taking their needs into consideration is crucial. You want to ensure that you are regularly discussing with your child anything that you feel is concerning, and that they are given a chance to voice their opinion too.
When you’re having difficulty figuring out what parenting styles apply to you, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you making an effort into creating a nurturing relationship with your child?
- Do you explain your decisions to your child?
- Is your decision the final say on any topic?
- What is your reaction when your child makes a mistake?
- When it comes to rules, are they open for discussion or not?
- Do you take your child’s feelings and emotions into consideration?
- Are you doing more than providing for your child’s basic needs?
- Do you feel like you have unresolved trauma from your past that is affecting your relationship with your child?
While the studies have shown that authoritative parenting is one of the best parenting styles, it doesn’t mean you always have to stick to that parenting style. When you have the right intention at heart, raising your child can seem like a fulfilling experience.
If you are concerned about your child or want to help them with their struggles as they navigate life, it might be helpful to take advice from experts. Here are some resources for you to have a look through:
Parenting is a journey, and you might not always get it right. Ensure that you are taking help when you need it, because there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Once you have educated yourself about various parenting styles, you will become more aware when you are interacting with your child.
Ultimately, your parenting style depends on both your child and you. Other factors also play a crucial role in your child’s development, and you cannot control them all. Parenting styles in psychology have been studied comprehensively, but the link between parenting style and adult development is still being researched. As a parent, knowing your responsibilities and how to cater to your child’s needs can make a big difference in how they grow up. Take good aspects of all of these parenting styles to ensure that your child grows up healthy and happy.