There are many ideas on how to raise children. Some parents adopt the ideas that their parents used. Others seek advice from their friends. Some read books about how to be good parents. Others take classes offered in the community. Nobody has all the answers. However, psychologist Diana Baumrind and other social scientists already know which parenting practices are most effective and are most likely to lead to good outcomes for children.
The distrustful and unhappy preschoolers had controlling and unloving parents. The self-sufficient and happy preschoolers had demanding but communicative parents. The immature and dependent had warm parents who did not set limits. On this basis, Baumrid developed 3 parenting styles: authoritarian, democratic and permissive. Later, Maccoby and Martin (1983) added the neglected style making the count 4.
Diana Baumrind is a clinical and evolutionary psychologist whose work on parenting styles is groundbreaking, even decades after she published her studies in 1966, 1967 and 1971 about the effects that different types of parents have on raising a child. In his study, “Child Care Practices Preceding Three Patterns of Preschool Behavior” in the APA PsychNet summary of the American Psychological Association, observed three groups of preschoolers.
Find your parenting style
Ideas on how to raise children can be grouped into four styles. These are different ways of deciding who in the family has what responsibility.
1. Authoritarian Parenting Style
Authoritarian parents always try to control their children. These parents set strict rules to try to maintain order, and usually do so without showing much affection or affection for the child. They try to establish strict rules of conduct and are generally very critical of children because they do not meet the criteria. They tell the children what to do, they try to make them obey and usually do not give them options to choose from.
Authoritarian parents do not feel the need to explain why they want their children to do things. If a child asks about a reason or rule, perhaps the father will answer, “Because I said”. Parents tend to focus on negative behavior, rather than positive behavior, and punish or scold children, often severely, because they do not follow the rules.
Children of authoritarian parents generally do not learn to think for themselves or understand why their parents demand certain behavior.
2. Permissive Parenting Style
Permissive parents give most control to their children. They set very few rules, if they fix some, and those that do fix are usually not enforced uniformly. They do not want to be tied to a routine. They want their children to feel free. They do not set limits or have clear expectations of behavior for their children, and tend to accept them warmly and affectionately, no matter the behavior of the children.
Permissive parents give children as many options as possible, even when the child is not able to make a good decision. They tend to accept the behavior of the child, be it good or bad, and do not comment on whether it benefits them or not. Perhaps they feel unable to change the bad behavior, or choose not to get involved.
3. Democrat or Authoritative
Democratic parents help children learn to care for themselves and think about the consequences of their behavior. They do this by giving their children clear and reasonable expectations and by explaining why they expect children to behave in a certain way. They monitor children’s behavior to make sure they meet the rules and expectations. They do it warmly and lovingly. Many times, they try to catch the children when they behave well in order to reinforce the good behavior, instead of concentrating on the bad one.
For example, the child who leaves the toys on the stairs tells him not to do it because “someone could trip over them and hurt themselves or damage the toy”. Later, parents involve their children when they set rules and do chores. “Who’s going to mop the kitchen floor and who’s going to take out the trash?”
Parents who have a democratic style offer option according to the child’s abilities. For a small child, the choice may be between the red or striped shirt. For an older child, the choice can be between an apple, an orange or a banana. Parents guide children’s behavior by teaching them, not punishing them. “You hit some with the truck, it hurt, we’re going to keep the truck until you can play with it safely.”
4. Neglectful Parenting Style
Neglectful parents do not lay firm boundaries or standards. They show indifference towards their children’s needs and are least involved in their lives. These types of parents have mental issues like maternal depression, due to physical abuse or neglect during their own childhood.
Children of neglectful parents:
- Are much more impulsive.
- Unable to regulate emotions.
- Encounter addictions.
- Prone to mental issues — e.g. suicidal tendencies in adolescents.
What Parenting style do you use?
Maybe use a combination. Think about what you want your children to learn. Studies in child development show that the most positive results occur when parents use the democratic style. Children of permissive parents tend to be more aggressive and annoying, while children of authoritarian parents tend to be docile and submissive and to have low self-esteem.
No style will work unless you have a love relationship with your child.
Advice for Parents
Treat your child with respect. Talk to him and ask him questions. Be polite Avoid scolding, shouting and hitting. If your child misbehaves in public, take him home. Avoid humiliating him. Maybe I’m sleepy or hungry Next time, plan the trip after you have slept or eaten.
Be uniform. Do not be permissive in one moment and strict in another. Make sure everyone follows the rules, even you. Make promises only when you are sure you can fulfill them.
As parents, consult each other and keep a united front so that the child does not try to make them fight to achieve their purposes.
Encourage your son. Help build your self-confidence. Say, “I know you can do it” or, “You’ve worked very hard on that.” Avoid criticism. Do not compare one child with another.
Express your love Say the words, “I love you.” Give pats, kisses and hugs.
Spend time with fun. Do activities that you both enjoy.