When the future mother or father finds themselves stuck on the realization that they will soon be welcoming a new addition to the family, various insecurities and worries start to settle in. Some maybe are more reasonable than others, but the majority tend to be irrational concerns like the possibility of dropping your baby when you first hold them (which, by the way, will not happen, so don’t worry about it, you’ve got this!).
One of the main concerns new parents seem to be overcome by is what kind of parent they will be when their bundle of joy finally arrives home and they all start their journey as one big, happy family. Some parents fear they will be too lenient, some worry they might be too strict, and others even start to assign roles to each other, trying to decide who will play the “good cop and bad cop” during conflicts and such. The truth is, as much as you plan on parenting a certain way, you won’t actually know what your style is until you actually have to discipline your child when they do something they shouldn’t have done.
For parents with experience, it comes as no surprise to know that different parents have different styles of managing their children and that not all are constructive. Regardless if a parent is too strict or too laid-back when it comes to household rules, extremes always end up negatively impacting the child rather than helping them develop in a normal, healthy manner, and as such, what a parent of any experience level should really look for when they build up their own parenting style is balance.
Balance, by definition, means harmony. A child who grows up in a balanced environment, with plenty of praise, offered when they achieve something and just enough correcting when they do something bad, learning comes to them much easier, as the line between being creative and curious and being naughty and unruly is well defined, and even when it gets blurry, a proper parent will explain to them everything needed in order to retrace the line accordingly.
However, despite it being the most craved feature in a household, in relationships and in parenting alike (not to mention even in life altogether), it is also the hardest to come by, and just a little tricky to achieve if you have stepped off the wrong foot in your parenting journey. Despite that, it’s never too late to correct our parenting style and the behavior we put on display for our children to copy and adapt.
In order to be able to shift ourselves towards a more productive and overall more harmonious parenting style, though, we first need to know which are those styles, how they manifest and then be able to identify the one we are currently using. Only after that will we be able to start improving ourselves.
So without any further ado, here are the four parenting styles observed across the years, explained!
The Authoritarian Parent
The authoritarian parenting style can be defined through the words “strict” and “unreachable” if we were to sum it all up. Authoritarian parents are the kind of parents who have very high expectations of their child, even from a young age, although they are quite unreachable for the child who wants to express their own opinion in a matter and exercise their social skills, thinking, and self-esteem. Because of this unreachable trait, they not only expect to not be talked back to or reasoned with, but they also expect their child to listen to them and obey without any hesitation, which is a great blow to a child’s sense of independence and self-confidence. Not only that but how can they be expected to become responsible if all of their actions and decisions are taken by their parents? After all, children only learn from mistakes.
Since there aren’t many good outcomes, the negative effects this parenting style has on a child consists in: having a low self-esteem, poor social skills, poor sense of independence and sometimes even a lack of individualism. The children’s initiatives to learn, socialize, have fun and discover themselves are all muted by the authoritarian parent, who likes to be in control of every single aspect of their child’s life.
The Authoritative Parent
Not to be confused with the above Authoritarian parenting, the authoritative style seeks to establish the most balance possible in their parent-child relationship. The parent is warm and responsive to all their child’s needs, nurturing their mental health and being mindful of things that could affect their child – something an authoritarian parent is not. They’re supportive instead of limiting towards their children’s interests and they encourage their child’s sense of independence.
While they naturally still set rules to be followed and have their own high expectations, the outcomes are much more positive when the parent actually shows care for their child. The little one grows more confident, more independent and as such, more responsible, and fare better academically and even struggle much less with mental issues than other children of other parenting styles.
The Permissive Parent
A permissive parent is a non-confrontational one. They may be loving and responsive as well, but they’re way more lenient with rules, sometimes going as far as enforcing none at all, which leads to a generally more disorganized child, not to mention how spoiled they can grow up to be. As such, they can try to take advantage of their own parent’s indulgent behavior and manipulate them into getting the desired results, regardless of the situation. The parent often had trouble regaining control in the problematic relationship, in order to fix things, and they rarely hold the respect of their child anymore.
Their children grow up to be more impulsive, less responsible, selfish and generally careless about rules as that’s what they’ve been raised like.
The Neglectful Parent
A neglectful parent, in one word, is just “absent”. They’re uninvolved in their child’s life or lack the interest to take initiative and spend time with their child, let alone take part in their education and development process. They don’t care much about setting rules for their child since they don’t allocate enough time for their family to be around and be able to enforce those rules in the first place, or they simply don’t want the responsibility to have to look after their kid.
The lack of care, support and discipline affect the child in the worst ways, setting no base for their further development in life and forcing them to struggle to manage themselves as they go. And without a parent to pull them back on the correct path and teach them what’s good and what’s not, a neglectful parent’s child is more prone to act out and turn to delinquency and get roped into bad entourages as there is no figure of authority in their life to point the bad things out for them.
With the four parenting styles so easily contoured, you should try to identify the one you are currently using on your child, and adapt it to the one you wish to develop instead. Equip yourself with plenty of patience and determination and remember that it’s never too late to adjust your behavior and adjust your child’s as well!