Raising a child is no child’s play. Ever since a child is born to a couple, an arduous and complex journey of parenting begins for them. However, parents adopt different parenting styles in raising their children depending upon the complexities of life.
Experts on the basis of their observations have broadly divided four styles in which parents raise their kids. These parenting styles are Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved.
Concept of parenting styles
The concept of parenting styles was introduced in the 1960s by Diane Baumrind. She conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children to explain differences in the way parents attempt to control and socialize their children. She identified some important dimensions of parenting such as disciplinary strategies, warmth and nurturing communication styles, and expectations of maturity and control.
Based on the dimensions, she suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles i. e. Authoritarian; Authoritative; Permissive.
Later, in 1983, researchers Maccoby & Martin (Socialization in the Context of the Family: Parent-Child Interaction) added the fourth style of parenting – Uninvolved.
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Four types of parenting styles
1. Authoritarian Parenting
In such a type of parenting, parents believe that children should follow the rules without exception. Authoritarian parents don’t like to negotiate with children and focus on obedience.
They don’t take the feelings of kids into consideration and if the children ask for the reason behind a rule, their usual response is “Because I said so”.
Such parents have high expectations from their children and want them to meet the expectations. They may use punishments, sometimes severe, to get their expectations fulfilled. Instead of teaching the child how to make better choices, they make the child feel sorry for his or her mistakes.
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Effects on children
Children of authoritarian parents are likely to follow rules, but they are at a higher risk of having self-esteem issues.
Research shows that such children don’t see their parents as legitimate authority figures. They often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents rather than concentrate on their future goals and may turn hostile or aggressive.
Since authoritarian parents are often strict with their children, chances are that their children become liars. They are also more likely to engage in errant behaviors such as smoking, skipping school, and underage drinking. Such children are more depressed than other kids and, as a result, are more likely to have poorer academic records.
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2. Authoritative Parenting
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Authoritative parents put in a lot of effort to create and maintain a healthy relationship with their kids. Such parents set clear and consistent rules, but they take their children’s opinions into account. They also explain the reasons behind their rules.
Such parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems in their children. They create a loving and supportive environment for them, use praise and reward as a strategy to inculcate positive behavior.
They also have reasonable expectations for their children. Experts consider this type of parenting as the most reasonable and effective form of parenting.
Effects on children
Children of authoritative parents rate higher when it comes to mental health. They are likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.
They are comfortable in expressing their opinions. It has been observed that such children are most likely to become responsible adults.
Researchers have found that children raised by authoritative parents have higher levels of self-esteem and quality of life than those raised by other types of parents. It has been observed that adolescents with authoritative parents are less likely to have problems with substance abuse, engage in unhealthy sexual behaviors or violence.
3. Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents are generally loving and caring. They set rules but are often lenient in enforcing them, as they think that children learn best with little interference.
They are also quite forgiving. They step in only when they see serious problems in their children.
Although experts do not encourage such type of parenting, children of such parents often praise their upbringing and give credit to parents for helping them develop into independent and decision-making adults.
Such parents usually deviate from traditional parenting techniques. They behave with their children more like friends than parents. They encourage their children to talk to them about their problems.
Effects on children
It has been that children of permissive parents struggle academically. They often exhibit behavioral issues. Studies show that such children have more perceived stress, low self-esteem and are more likely to be the victim of bullies.
Since permissive parents are often lenient, their children are more likely to develop health problems such as obesity and dental cavities. Permissive parenting may also lead to teenage drinking.
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4. Uninvolved Parenting
Uninvolved parents don’t spend much time and energy looking after their children and their basic needs. There is little interaction between parents and children, due to which such parents have little idea about the activities of their children.
They have less information on how kids are doing at school, have completed homework or not, and who their friends are. Therefore, such children lack guidance, nurturing, and parental attention.
Paying less attention to their children is not always intentional on part of such parents. Sometimes parents lack knowledge about child development. At other times, they are overloaded with problems such as managing a household or office.
Single parents find little time to look after their children. If parents have mental health issues or substance abuse problems, they may not be in a position to take care of their children.
Effects on children
Children of uninvolved parents have behavioral issues. They are likely to struggle with self-esteem. They perform poorly in school and rank low in happiness. They have trouble controlling their emotions, are susceptible to depression, have difficulty with social relationships, and are antisocial.
However, it has been seen that such children are resilient and likely to become self-sufficient out of necessity.
Experts on the basis of their observations have identified four parenting styles, but it’s not necessary you will fit into only one category.
Sometimes you will see yourself as a permissive parent and other times as an authoritative parent. Experts suggest that authoritative parenting is the best parenting style, but there is no need to worry if you identify yourself with other parenting styles more.
Parenting is an evolving process. With dedication and commitment, you can cultivate a positive relationship with your child. Over time, your child will grow as a responsible adult, if you will manage to provide him or her with a supporting, healthy, but not “too controlling” environment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which factors influence parenting styles?
There are many factors such as cultural, social, political, and economic factors that affect parenting styles. Apart from that, the behavior and beliefs of parents also play a key role in children’s development.
What is the importance of studying parenting styles?
Studying parenting styles serves many purposes in the relationship of parents with children. It helps in children’s moral and psychological training, their growth and development, and familiarizing them with the social norms.
What is the most preferred parenting style and why?
Experts believe that authoritative parenting is the most effective style. Children growing up with authoritative parenting are more likely to be confident children. Such children have more chances of achieving academic success, possess better problem-solving and social skills.
Do parenting styles change?
Sometimes parenting styles change from one child to the next and also when the parents have more or less time and energy to devote to their children. Parents’ own concerns in life can also affect parenting styles.