What parenting style works best? Parenting is not easy. Children are not born with a set of instructions, although many parents would love it if they were. Research provides information that reveals what works and what doesn’t. Which style produces happy children? What is your style?
Believe it or not children do like structure and discipline. Without this children may develop the “I want it now syndrome,” lack of self control and poor self-esteem. As a Licensed Professional Counselor I have worked with many children and adolescents whose parents provide little guidance and few limits. These children frequently complain that their parents don’t care about them.
Consider the following parenting style:
Authoritarian parents put high standards on appropriate behavior and have swift and often harsh consequences for what they feel is inappropriate behavior. These parents display little warmth, affection or nurturing toward their children.
Discipline is strict and often physical. Communication from parent to child is high and from child to parent the communication is low. Children raised by authoritarian parents are often quiet, obedient, conscientious, and unhappy.
Permissive parents tend to be laid back and place few demands on their children. Discipline is not the focus for these parents; maturity standards for children are low.
These parents are very warm and nurturing towards their children.
Discipline is rare. Parent to child communication is low; child to parent communication is high. Children raised by permissive parenting have poor self control and are even less happy than children raised by authoritarian parents.
Like authoritarian parents set limits and enforce rules. These parents run the family more like a democracy. They listen to their children and try to help them solve problems together. Maturity development is encouraged.
Discipline is moderate and involves a lot of parent child verbal communication to discuss problems and assure understanding. Parent to child communication is high and child parent communication is high. Parents are forgiving, and open to compromise when appropriate. Children raised by authoritative parents are self confident, smart, good communicators, and have a better chance of being successful. Most importantly these children are happy.
Your child’s temperament needs to be taken into consideration. If your child is fearful and withdrawn they will need a gentler touch and a boisterous child may need more structure but with warmth.
Most professionals will agree that the authoritative parenting style works best. Watch for an upcoming article on to “Punish or not to punish”.
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Reference: “The Developing Person Through The Life Span” by Berger