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Parenting Styles and their effect

Updated on April 2, 2013

Different Parenting Styles – their effect on children

Parenting or rearing children is the aspect of raising a child by teaching them obedience, discipline, respect and providing support as well as love. Parenting is crucial to a child's development so it is extremely important to carefully choose a style of parenting that will help to create a healthy and happy child.

Broadly speaking there are four different styles of parenting. The choice of a particular style is often dependent on factors like culture, family size, parental background, socioeconomic status, educational level etc.

1) Authoritarian Style : This involves setting strict set of rules which require rigid obedience. If rules are not followed punishment is often used to discipline the child / children. This style of parenting leads to children who are obedient and proficient, but they usually rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.

2) Authoritative : This style relies more on positive reinforcement and uses punishment infrequently. Parents are aware of a child's feelings and capabilities and try to support the development of a child's personality within reasonable limits. There is a easy give-and-take atmosphere in parent-child communication. This usually leads to children who are happy, capable and successful.

3) Permissive : The Permissive style is more popular in middle-class families. In this case child's freedom and autonomy are valued and the parents tend to rely mostly on reasoning with the child. There is little if any punishment or rules in this style of parenting. Results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation.

4) Uninvolved : Parents are often emotionally and sometimes even physically absent. They have little or no expectation from the child and rarely communicate with them. They do not have any behavioral expectations from the child. They provide everything the child needs for survival with little / no engagement . This style of parenting ranks lowest. Usually results in children who tend to lack self-control and have low self-esteem

It would seem from the above discussion that the Authoritative mode of parenting would be the best parenting style . However it must be kept in mind that what may be right for one family or one child may not be suitable for another.

In the same household there are instances of different styles of parenting being used by the father and the mother. For example, the father may display an authoritative style while the mother may favor a more permissive approach. The parenting styles of individual parents combine to create a unique blend for each family.

The authoritative and permissive parenting fall on opposite sides of the spectrum while most conventional and modern models of parenting fall somewhere in between.

Previously the family used to be comprised of the father who was essentially playing the role of breadwinner and often had little time or patience for parenting. Therefore the father mostly followed the authoritarian or uninvolved style. The mother who was essentially a homemaker took care of the kids and would mainly follow the authoritarian / authoritative style.

However with changing times the broadly defined roles of the father and mother have become blurred and consequently the style of parenting has also undergone a sea of change. It is currently seen that more parents prefer to be a friend of the child rather than opting for the authority figure. This has both a positive as well as a negative effect.

Nowadays children are not afraid to share their secrets with their parents as due to permissive style of parenting mostly used by parents they feel comfortable with them. However discipline often takes a hit as the parents do not lay down rules and the modern child remains unable to lead a disciplined life in mature years. Most of them do not like to follow rules / show scant regard for them which does not auger well when some vocations need a disciplined person.

The lack of discipline also often leads to an immature person who is incapable or hesitant in taking responsibility for his / her actions/ words. Such a person may feel like a misfit and drift through life.

It is not that authoritarian style of parenting is without its pitfalls. We all know someone or other who always has to look up to an authoritarian figure for permission and approval. The person might lack the capacity to take decisions for one’s own self. The style of parenting in fact should be suited to the child in question as often children have different sorts of personalities. So the style that would be effective for a submissive child would not be a hit with a stubborn one.

In fact no particular parenting style can be said to be the best. The trick is to be flexible enough to make adjustments to the basic type by adopting some practices from other parenting styles.

Which style of parenting do you prefer out of those listed below.

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