What Type of Parent are You?
Who would have thought you would benefit from a parenting manual when you decided to have children? Being a parent seems like a no-brainer, but being an effective parent requires considerable thought and effort. To a good extent, it depends on the role models you experienced from your parents, teachers, and caregivers.
In contemporary child psychology, parenting styles are based on the work of developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind and Stanford researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin. They delineated four main parenting styles — permissive, neglectful, authoritarian, and authoritative.
Doesn’t permissive parenting sound warm and kind? And in a way, it is. However, by being lax, they are not establishing firm limits or requiring appropriate behavior of their children. According to the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program developed by the American Psychological Association, children raised with a permissive parenting style “…tend to be impulsive, rebellious, aimless, domineering, aggressive and low in self-reliance, self-control and achievement”.
Neglectful parents either show no warmth or affection toward their children or only give lip service to how much they care. They are basically uninvolved, indifferent and provide for minimum or no basic needs. They are not really present for their children. How much time do you spend on your phone or playing video games, or absent due to work? Children of neglectful parents tend to have poor self-esteem and barely any self-confidence. Without having a sense of belonging and value to the family, these children may be devoid of dreams and may even seek out gang membership.
“Don’t ask. Just do it and do it now!” Authoritarian parents are more focused on obedience, discipline, and control than on nurturing their children. They are extremely strict and demand high expectations and unbendable rules. Children who disobey, disrespect, or make simple mistakes may face harsh threats, punishments, or shaming. To spank or not to spank? Do you want your children to fear you? Resent you? Act aggressively like you? Authoritarian parents can impart their stern views at a very early age. If they exhibit road rage or yell at their spouse, their children have learned sad, scary lessons. Children of authoritarian parents tend to have lower social competence, higher anxiety, symptoms of depression, and poor self-regulation, as in bullying and other behavioral problems.
Not to be confused with authoritarian parenting, authoritative parents are nurturing, responsive to their children’s needs, and supportive. Children know their parents are the bosses, set clear rules and expectations, yet are open to discussion. According to ACT, “children raised with this style tend to be friendly, energetic, cheerful, self-reliant, self-controlled, curious, cooperative and achievement-oriented”. These children feel secure in the world.
How to be an Authoritative Parent
Authoritative parents practice good self-control. They respond to their children rather than react. They provide limits for their children and recognize mistakes as learning opportunities versus “crimes”. Authoritative parents are role models who teach and encourage their children to use words, not physical aggression, to express emotions. Authoritative parents convey respect, interest, love, and caring. They communicate positive values through hugs, kisses, kindness, and firm words.
What kind of children would you like to raise?
Reference: ACT—a parenting program by the American Psychological Association