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The Key to Their Future

Updated on August 26, 2013

Parents can have a profound effect on their children that can be seen throughout their lives. Parents are there for their children when they grow up, and the style they use to raise them defines them for the rest of their lives. The children will be shaped for the rest of their lives by the techniques used, and as such the parents literally hold the key to their children’s future.

There are many different parenting styles that can benefit or harm the growth of children. The many different parenting styles can be put into two general categories, lenient and strict. These categories can be further broken down into various parenting styles that are distinct to certain parents. The most beneficial style of parenting for me would be one that is a hybrid of several categories. The hybrid style would allow my parents to get the most out of my personality.

The strict and lenient parenting styles are very broad distinctions that encompass almost every parenting style. The strict parenting styles include parenting styles from the “Drill Sergeant” parenting style to the “expectation” parenting style. The strict parenting styles are the kind that the parents put forth rules or expect certain things that cause the children to work towards something. On the other hand, the lenient parenting styles include everything from the “Distant” parenting style to the “Care-free” parenting style. The lenient parenting styles are the kinds that describe parents who do not set rules that interfere with their child’s life in a major way.

The strict category encompasses a broad spectrum of parenting styles, but the common factor between them is the parent’s level of involvedness in their children’s lives through rules, guidelines, or other mediums. The differences in how parents involve themselves in the lives of their children bring about the various parenting styles.

One of the various strict parenting styles is the “Drill Sergeant” parenting style. The drill sergeant parenting style is one of the most involved of the strict parenting styles. The parents are the metaphorical drill sergeant in this parenting style because they set down the law for their children to abide by. The drill sergeants actively put themselves into the lives of their kids to ensure that they reach whatever goals the drill sergeant has put for them.

A well known parent who falls under the drill sergeant parenting style is Robert E. Lee. Lee was, almost literally, a drill sergeant. He served in the military, and the strict rules set forth in the military are reflected in his parenting style. Lee regarded his children in a very formal manner in his letters even referred to his wife as “your mother” when talking to his children. The letters Lee sent to his children also reveal his personal beliefs on how to behave. Lee doesn’t always tell his son what to do, but when he does he makes sure that his son understands why he must do so. Lee states in his letter to his son “You must study to be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage.” which shows how he set forth standards for his children (Bennet).

Another style of parenting that falls under the category of strict would be the “expectation” parenting style. The expectation style is the kind that will set guidelines, but instead of enforcing them it will encourage their children to do so on their own. This style will try to interfere just enough that its children will succeed in their goals, but not so little that its children don’t know what they do for them. This is considered a strict parenting style because the strongly suggests or influences their children to do what they want.

A great example of the expectation parenting style would Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote to his children often as they were off learning from various teachers. In one of Jefferson’s letters to his daughter, he wrote that “I wrote you also on the 23d of May, so that you still owe me an answer to that, which I hope is now on the road” which shows that he was trying to stay in touch with his daughter through long distances to stay up to date on her progress. Jefferson also stated in his letter that “send me a copy of the maxims I gave you, also a list of the books I promised you.” This statement shows that he gave his daughter the chance to expand her knowledge on her own, and from him asking about it he reminds her about the books. This simple act of reminding his daughter through asking for a list, allowed Jefferson to affect his daughter’s education in just the manner he wanted to without appearing controlling (Gawalt). These kinds of methods to direct children are commonplace for this parenting style.

The opposite end of the spectrum for parenting styles would be the lenient parenting styles. The lenient styles are the kinds that have parents who do not have as much involvement in their children’s lives. This style is defined by the techniques the parents use to have little, if any, involvement in their children’s lives.

A well-known parent who uses a lenient parenting style is Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt used the distant parenting style to let his children grow into the people they were meant to be. In a letter Roosevelt wrote to Archie about his son’s having friends over, he wrote “I interfered but once” which shows how he would treat his children at certain points in their lives. Roosevelt allows his children to do as they want to a certain point. The one time that Roosevelt interfered with his son’s sleepover was when his son tried to use “sulphureted hydrogen”, or better known as hydrogen sulfide, in a prank on the other children. Roosevelt gave his children a leash to do as they wish and let them grow as individuals, but not so much that he was not able to parent his children when necessary (Roosevelt).

The Carefree parenting also falls under the lenient category. This parenting style uses techniques that allow its children to have minimal reason to worry about certain things. This style allows the children to become carefree in certain areas to become more focused on others. This style is mostly accomplished by parents taking on certain responsibilities to ease their children’s workload. A famous parent who uses this parenting style is F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald expressed his use of this style in a letter to his daughter. Fitzgerald wrote “Don’t worry…” sixteen times with various endings to let his daughter know not to worry about them. Fitzgerald takes these responsibilities out of his child’s life to let her focus on other tasks, and allow her to grow into who she will become (Fitzgerald).

A strict, or a lenient parenting style can be useful to bring out the best in certain children, but a hybrid of the two would be most beneficial to my personality. My personality is one that requires guidance and a reassuring hand, but not so much guidance that I cannot do things on my terms. The hybrid parenting style that best suits me is actually the one that my parents use. This parenting style is a hybrid of all of the styles mentioned before in this essay; drill sergeant, expectation, distant, and carefree.

My parents exhibit traits from all of these styles in various ways that allow me to benefit from them fully. My parents took the best from each of these techniques that suited me as an individual. They used the expectations of the drill sergeant style to make sure I knew what they expected. They used the expectation’s parenting style to make sure I had the support I needed to ensure success in whatever I wanted to accomplish. They used the distant parenting style to give me the space I needed to do things my own way. They used the carefree parenting style to help me with the different responsibilities I had.

My parents utilized all of these parenting styles to form a hybrid that was specific to my personality. I was able to build a work ethic because of the drill sergeant parenting style. I was able to get assistance when I needed it because of the expectation parenting style. I was able to develop a process of doing things on my own because of the distant parenting style. I was able to do everything that I did because they took some responsibilities off of my shoulders, and onto their shoulders.

This hybrid parenting style allowed to me to become the person I am today, and was unique to my personality. This parenting style may not suit all children, but it allowed me to flourish. Certain children may flourish under the strict parenting styles, while others may flourish under the lenient parenting styles.

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