Raising children is an art and there is no single formula that can define good parenting. Researchers have already found that different parenting styles have different impacts on the children. Based on the nature of kids, circumstances and many other factors, the parenting styles differ from kids to kids. It is very important to know your parenting styles for the healthy growth and development of your child as it has very serious impact on their lives.
There are four main types of parenting styles which are Authoritative Parenting, Authoritarian Parenting, Permissive Parenting and Uninvolved Parenting. Each style has a different approach to raising children, thus they are recognized with different types of characteristics. Here, take a look at the different characteristics of these parenting styles and find out which describes you the best.
Types of Parenting Styles
Do you maintain the perfect balance between too firm and too flexible? Authoritative parents have huge respect for individuality yet they love discipline. Instead of pushing their children to do something or obey their commands, authoritative parents generally discuss rules and expectations with their kids and family. They never deny the importance of discipline and setting limitations but they are not too strict to follow that blindly. Rather, this type of parents is more likely to encourage their children to solve problems and always ready to discuss their kids’ issues. Authoritative parenting style doesn’t provide excessive rules or illogical expectations.
What it looks like:
Generally, they are more responsive to their kids and willing to interact. They want to understand the kid’s psychology and willing to listen the questions they ask. Authoritative parents do not show lots of expectation from their child yet gives support, warmth and cooperation. Naturally, kids start thinking their parents are friendly in nature and so, they can share their feelings, likes, dislikes everything to them. Somehow if the kids fail to meet the expectations, these parents forgive and encourage continuously. If your kids want to go with their friends and ask their parents for permission, their parents may say “go, enjoy, but please come timely and take care yourself” –this is the perfect authoritative parenting example. This type of parents always enforces rules and explains the reasons for the rules as well.
Authoritative Parent Characteristics:
- Allow their children to discuss household rules.
- Understand the kid’s emotions and feelings.
- Try to build resilience by allowing their children to fail and learn from their mistakes.
- Place high priority on respect and fairness.
- Make consequences that teach life lessons.
- Balance freedom with responsibility.
Pros of Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parenting is considered as the most excellent type of parenting and research has shown that this type of parenting inculcates positive discipline within a child that makes the kid more practical, resilient, confident, respectful and happy.
- Responsibility: Kids who are raised by authoritative parents understand that they are responsible on their own for the choices they make and it leads taking good decisions.
- Respect: If you show respect others, they will respect you too –this is the basic strategy of authoritative parenting. Kids will automatically show respect, if you allow them certain freedoms.
- Leadership: Kids become confident by making their decisions on their own and that let them to take on leadership roles.
- Diligent: Authoritative parents support their children and help their children on their study. Not only that, the parents show interest in what their kids love to do.
Cons of Authoritative Parenting
Although it is the most popular parenting type according to the psychologists but it can be difficult and lengthy to implement sometimes. Actually, it depends on the circumstances which strategy will work on your kids the best. Kids are obstinate by nature, so sometimes the parents have to stay firm and strict to improve the poor behaviour of their kids.
Example of Authoritative Parenting
- If your kids have obsession in playing video games, watching television, spending time with mobile phones, then you should draw limits on screen time. But also take care that everyone in the family is obeying the rules while using mobile phones and TV.
- Authoritative parents do not allow kids spending in the kitchen all the time rather they allow their children to make simple meal like arranging milk-cornflakes or sandwich on their own.
- If the kids want to play with friends or spend time with their friends, authoritative parents won’t create interruptions but they also have a clear understanding what should be done before going out to play. They balance freedom with responsibility in this way.
Well, it sounds quite similar like authoritative parenting but there is huge difference between the two. Authoritarian Parenting defines a strict approach. They place high expectations and set strict rules without offering the kids’ choices. They believe that a kid should obey the rules just because they have set it or they have asked to follow it. Thus the aim of the authoritarian parenting is obedience and if not then they set strict punishments.
What it looks like:
In authoritarian parenting, they strict discipline with a little bit negotiation from the kid. Parents have rigid feeling regarding eating habits, sleeping schedule, study time and so many other things and they continuously insist the children to follow the rules they already set. They do not tolerate any tantrums that mean they continuously nag their children to clean their plates even if they are not feeling hungry. Communication in this parenting is generally one way and ofcourse it is from parents to the kids. Rules are not explained to the kids and if asked to explain, they may reply, “Because we have said to do.” Since they have high demands, these parents expect their children will behave exceptionally and won’t make any mistakes. Although they provide little direction about what their kids will do and avoid. The children are punished very badly for their mistakes, even sometimes they get astonished why they are being punished.
Authoritarian Parent Characteristics:
- Demanding and not responsive.
- Little encouragement or nurturing
- Little explanation for punishments
- Set limitation in the choices for children
- Impatient, harsh and sometimes misbehave with the kids.
- Do not trust their children for allowing freedom.
- Uncompromising when it comes to following their rules.
Pros of Authoritarian Parenting
- Good Behaviour: As this kind of parents are very strict and compel their kids to follow the rules blindly, the children have good understanding in what to do and what not. Kids are also aware of the negative consequences if the rules are being disobeyed.
- Safety: Authoritarian parents give strong emphasis on both the emotional and physical safety that reduces a child’s risky behaviours. Children who already guess the consequence of a risky behaviour are more likely to avoid it.
- Goal-driven: Although the kids are not given lengthy instructions how to achieve something, with precise instructions they surmise what should be done to accomplish a goal. As the parents expect a lot from the kids, the children are bound to set a goal.
Cons of Authoritarian Parenting:
The style of parenting can lead to the kids into depression and anxiety. While these parents expect too much from their kids but they are not very responsive to the kids. That’s why the parents are often described as domineering and dictatorial.
- Rule-dependent: Authoritarian parenting is based on strict rules that the children must continually adhere to. But if the children face new situations then they get confused what to do as there are no established guidelines in their guidebook. Naturally, this makes the kid confused, insecure and diffident. They couldn’t take the decisions and suffer from lack of confidence.
- Low Self-esteem: Too much emphasis on cause and consequence gives hindrance to the way of a child’s natural ability of making choices. Sometimes, we have to make some choices on our own based on the circumstances. Kids, who depend on others or always go with their parents instructions, become indecisive. Then they have to struggle to adjust with the social and practical situations.
- Rebellion: These children become obstinate and gradually they become tired following endless rules. As a result, they will deliberately confront their parents and behave like a rebellious. Children also show aggressive behaviour outside the home.
- Fearful and Shy: Kids who are raised by the authoritarian parents are likely to be more shy and fearful around others. They get nervous and not feel open in social get together. Due to lack of social competence, the face immense difficulty in social situations.
Examples of Authoritarian Parenting
- Authoritarian parents have strict order regarding their children’s screen time and these limitations are must be followed by the kids. If the kids refuse to listen to their parents, the parents simply disallow it altogether.
- Before going out to play with friends, children have a clear understanding of what should be done. If things are not done, they have to face harsh consequences and they know it very well.
- If the kids don’t like the foods that they are being offered, then the parents conclude the matter with “eat or go hungry”.
Attachment parenting is derived from attachment theory that suggests some methods to promote the attachment of parent and infant not only by parental warmth, empathy and care but also by continuous physical closeness and touch. Psychologists find the characteristics of attachment parenting have similarities with authoritative parenting, but attachment parenting has one special characteristic and that is pure affection and physical touch.
What it looks like:
Attachment parenting is mostly applied during the baby and toddler phases, when the child needs most attention and physically closeness from their primary caregiver. It involves breastfeeding when necessary, bodily contact, adoration and less separation from your little one.
Attachment Parent Characteristics:
- Feed with care and respect.
- Respond with sensitivity.
- Provide constant nurturing touch.
- Practice positive discipline.
- Maintain balance in personal and family life.
- Take a baby’s cries as a need –not as a form of manipulation.
Pros of Attachment Parenting
- Less adversity and stress: Like authoritative parenting, attachment parenting has been found to cope up with adversity and stress. So, practically they become smart dealing with life’s challenges. Attachment parenting has no such negative impacts on their kids.
- Mutual Giving: If you give more time to your kids, the more they will give back to you. Small moments of pure joy give positive effect on the kid. When you adore the kid letting him feel the warmth of arms, they actually feel secured and calm.
- Peaceful Parenting: Be it breastfeeding or helping your kids to fall asleep, a beautiful biological pair is formed. There are sleep-inducing substances in a mother’s milk. As the mother suckles her baby, she produces more prolactin that brings a tranquilizing effect in the mom.
- Helps in Brain Development: A secure mother-infant attachment helps in enhancing brain development. Parent sensitivity and responsiveness builds preparedness in the child. This growth-promoting effect of attachment parenting makes the kids self-organized, disciplined and responsible.
Cons of Attachment Parenting:
Attachment Parenting is one of the most positive approaches for the kids, but it can be challenging for the parents. Understanding your baby’s cry, breastfeeding while needed, wearing your baby throughout the day or responding to every middle-of-the-night-cry can be tiring. In attachment parenting, most of the parents lack self-care as so much energy is continuously given to the baby.
Examples of Attachment Parenting:
- They are concerned about baby’s feeding and sleeping schedules along with physical contact.
- If the child is afraid of sleeping alone in the night, the parent may say, “Look, I am here, there is nothing to be afraid and things are same both in the darkness and in the light.” Parents give real life example and if needed, they also share the kid’s bed.
- If your kid needs extra time to finish what he is doing but you are going late to go somewhere, then you can practice attachment parenting by saying “You will get another minute, but after that we have to go, as you know someone is waiting for us.”
Permissive parents are those types of parents who give permission to almost everything fun. They are friendly and warm in nature and avoid saying “no” to their kids. Permissive parenting includes less discipline and more fun. They are more likely to stand back and allow their kids to take the decisions on their own. Often, these types of parents achieve Best Friend Forever from their kids. Children, who are reared in permissive parenting, tend to get unlimited freedom. Even their activities are not closely monitored.
What it looks like:
Being permissive with a baby doesn’t mean of feeding or make her in falling asleep in the particular timing; rather permissive parents allow them having snacks whenever they want it instead of their scheduled time. They may not ask the kids to clean up their toys after they have done playing.
Permissive Parent Characteristics:
- They do not provide strict rules, even they less few or inconsistent rules.
- Prefer to be the best friend of their kids rather than an authority figure.
- Give few commands to the kids and emphasize freedom over responsibilities.
- Allows the child to take his/her own decisions.
- They are not severely concerned about safety, takes risky circumstances as learning opportunities.
Pros of Permissive Parenting
In recent times, Permissive Parenting has achieved immense popularity and considered as “free-range” parenting.
- Self-Assurance: When children are given enough freedom, they become more confident to express themselves and willing to try new things. The kids won’t think the consequences and if they fail sometimes, they remain equally strong.
- Explore new things: More freedom and less discipline allow the kids to explore new things and choose decisions on their own. Exploring new adventures bring a sense of confidence and self-esteem into them.
- Creativity: When there are few limits, the kids can experiment with their passions and hobbies. Their mind becomes more open to learn new things. Kids who grow up in rigid environment are also become social and cooperative in future.
Cons of Permissive Parenting:
Permissive parenting is not that cool as it looks! There are some disadvantages which you have to remember before considering your kid as a friend. Rules are highly needed for making the kids disciplined. Without a set of precise boundaries, there is no sense developed in the kids about what is wrong and right.
- Without proper boundaries, children tend to do whatever they like without proper understanding of the negative consequences. It can increase the chances of getting involved in risky behaviours.
- According to some studies, children who are raised under permissive parenting are more prone to anxiety and depression. They are not taught to share their problems; in future these become burdensome to them.
- Too much freedom brings behavioural issues and they become rebellious in future. Rules and respect is connected to each other. If you are unable to teach them how to respect others, you will not get enough respect from your child.
Examples of Permissive Parenting:
- Permissive parents give unlimited access of enjoying video games and TV instead of setting limits.
- Some days the parents ask the kids to clean their room or playing stuffs and sometimes not. There are no hard and fast rules given by the parents.
- They allow their children to eat whatever and whenever they would like. There are no restrictions of eating, sleeping or play schedules.
Uninvolved parenting, sometimes also called as neglectful parenting. This parenting style is also characterized by little supervision and less responsiveness to their kids. They are unable to meet the kid’s emotional and physical needs and expectations.
What it looks like:
Uninvolved parents have little involvement with their children. They just provide the basic needs but remain indifferent to their physical and psychological nourishment. Uninvolved parents fail to connect themselves with the emotions of a child.
Uninvolved Parent Characteristics:
- Parents remain emotionally distant from the kids.
- Just because they are too busy to solve their own problems, they find little time to interact with their kids.
- Give little or no supervision, often the kids are neglected.
- No expectation or demands for behaviour as they won’t teach as well.
- Provide little warmth, love and affection to the kids.
- Forgets important meetings regarding their kids.
Effects of Uninvolved Parenting
There are no such good things about uninvolved parenting rather it brings negative consequences to the kids.
- As the parents are indifferent, neglectful and dismissive, the kids undergo a number of different negative effects. Due to lack of family support, the kids become anxious and stressed.
- Children become fearful while depending on others. They suffer from low self-esteem and that’s the reason they are unable to form healthy and trusting relationships.
- They start doing things on their own without understanding the consequences and risks.
- Kids won’t understand the special connection with their parents as the parents are less responsive to them.
- Often the children feel socially isolated as they find difficulty in handling social situations.
- The children of uninvolved parents have poor performance in almost every aspect of their lives including academic performance, social skills, and emotional skills and so on.
Based on the circumstances, characteristics of the kids, and so many other factors, there are different parenting styles. As every child is not the same and every family is different, the parents have to figure it out which parenting style will suits them the most. There are no hard and fast rules that all parents have to fit in one particular parenting style among the five. Sometimes they have to apply a combination of two or three.