Parenting is life’s great example of “just winging it”. Growing up you get to see what life is like as a child that has parents and then all of a sudden you are a parent that has children. There is no introductory course, no onboarding process, and definitely no training manual.
In the end, parenting is ultimately just a big exercise in figuring things out as you go. While every parent may be different and making up their own rules, psychologists have been able to break parenting down to 4 distinct parenting styles.
Studies show that the authoritative parenting style is the most effective and beneficial to children. Authoritative parents typically have high expectations for their children yet they are able to balance those expectations with understanding and supporting their children. Authoritarian parents are usually clear in their reasoning as well as the consequences of negative actions.
Authoritative parents typically put structure to a child’s day and strictly enforce bedtimes. While authoritarian parents run a type ship, the lines of communication are always open allowing children to feel they can speak to their parent without fear of judgment or negative consequences.
Neglectful parents can sometimes inflict the most harm on their children with the least amount of effort. Neglectful parents may spend a majority of their time apart from their children and rarely take any time to learn about the child’s life.
Children that are raised by neglectful parents may find it difficult to form relationships with others as they grow up. By speaking with a therapist or counselor, parents that may use a neglectful style can learn to become more involved in their children’s lives.
A permissive parenting style can lead to its own sets of problems even though it is founded with good intentions. Permissive parents are often seen as the “cool parents” to other children and can sometimes be more of a friend than a parent.
While a permissive parent is often very nurturing and loving, the negatives typically outweigh the benefits. Children with permissive parents can develop self-control issues, may become self-centered, and will often have issues with authority.
This is the classic “spare the rod, spoil the child” approach to parenting. Authoritarian parents are very strict and are known to only offer “because I said so” as an explanation. Authoritarian parents rely on fear to lead and this can often lead children to become better at lying and deception.
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