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Understanding Parenting Styles: Their Importance and Effects

Updated on October 30, 2015

Every child looks at their parents for every kind of support, especially during their formative years. The way parents rear their child builds the foundation from which they would eventually base every single decision they would make as they grow up. This is why it is very important to put more focus on observing a child and figuring out what kind of parenting style would suit them.

The Importance of Adjusting to Different Parenting Styles

A lot of parents discipline and train their children the best way they know how, but is it truly working for the child? Each child has a different personality, and the way they learn differs from other children. For parents to be sure that the values they are trying to instill will be something that the child understands and holds on to, specific parenting styles are applied.

Parenting styles affect a lot of factors that are important in a child’s development. It shows what discipline strategies are applicable to each child, helping them learn why discipline is important and why they need to act a certain way at certain times. It also helps in establishing effective communication between parents and their children, ensuring that children truly understand what they are being told. Parenting styles would also affect the way you nurture your children and the amount of warmth and understanding that they feel from you. In turn, all these will dictate the amount of maturity that they will develop through time and the speed at which they could attain this.

Authoritarian Parenting

From the term itself, this parenting style stresses that the parents have complete authority over their children. It puts a lot of emphasis on obedience, with most decisions leaning towards the idea that the parents are always right. More often than not, disobedience to any of the strict rules established by the parents would always result to different kinds of punishment. There is also a big tendency for parents who use this style to believe that no explanation is needed in establishing rules and carrying out punishment, leaving children in the dark.

Although this is a very common parenting style used, there are a lot of negative effects that this may cause. Parents often forget about the emotion that should be involved in raising a child, leaving the relationship between parents and their children strained. The demands that these parents set are often too high that it could cause severe lack of confidence in a child. As early as in a child’s preschool days, you could immediately see that kids who are being raised in this kind of environment are unhappy and withdrawn and tend to lash out when they get frustrated.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents are the exact opposite of authoritarians. Discipline is something that is often set aside with the parents being too indulgent. These parents expect and demand very little from their kids, and avoid confrontational situations as much as possible. Permissive parenting means approaching child rearing in a friendlier manner, allowing their kids to decide for themselves with very little regulation or control.

Although a lot of parents feel that letting their kids do what they want to do will make them the happiest, it does have a lot of long-term consequences. Children who are raised in this environment often grow up to be very impulsive, and have very little sense of responsibility. They also have a tendency to become selfish, mostly because they were not trained to think about how their actions would affect other people. These children often get into trouble because no limits have been set, allowing them to roam freely without thinking about their actions’ consequences.

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is a healthy mix of the two parenting styles mentioned previously. It would remind you of a democracy, where there are certain rules set, but the opinion of the child would still matter. Authoritative parents would still have authority over their children, but the lines of communication are open in case their children have questions or doubts about the rules they are implementing. Every rule and action is explained, making sure that the kids understand everything that is done and what the consequences are for each action. Instead of dictating every move that a child makes, being an authoritative parent means grooming and preparing the child to become responsible for their actions, letting them experience things while continuing to guide them on which path seems to be the better one to take.

For obvious reasons, this remains to be the most effective parenting style. Because of the equal amount of discipline and nurturing, children who grew up in this environment often follow the rules because they understand that each decision they make have consequences. They also know how to make responsible decisions, and are often able to control themselves more effectively. They have high self-esteem because they have been taught to make responsible decisions at an early age, with proper guidance from their parents. They also have the tendency to excel in their craft, and are able to establish healthy relationships with people around them.

When Parenting Styles Differ

Although it would be great to have both parents adapt to the authoritative parenting style, there would always be instances when couples would have conflicting beliefs on how to raise their kids. These differences could also affect the way the kids are brought up, as there is a very big tendency for them to side with one parent and have very little respect and sympathy for the other. This could form even more destructive relationships.

When your style differs from your partner’s style, always remember to meet halfway. No matter how strongly you believe in the style you are hoping to enforce, respect your partner and listen to their side. Compromise is always the best way to do it. Show your children that you are united in every way to avoid hostility centered towards a single parent. You can read about the different parenting styles and what the feedback is for each of them, making it easier for you to understand and resolve any differences you may have with your partner. Never argue about these things in front of the kids because this would be greatly destructive for them. Instead, try to settle any arguments about decisions that involve the kids in the safety of your bedroom, or any other place where the kids will not hear you.

Sometimes, the way people are brought up influences the way they handle their kids. Always remember that circumstances change, and parenting methods also need to change sometimes to adapt to the changing times. The key here is to be open to these changes and understand that your top priority as a parent is to raise responsible kids that would be able to stand on their own when the right time comes. If it gets too tough, understand that it is normal to get frustrated as a parent. You can always seek professional help or do some research on things that you can do to make your parenting style more effective. Understand that some methods work on some people, but will not work on others. Be open to criticism and take every failure as a way to improve your style. Embracing all the failures and working towards a better outcome will make this a learning opportunity not only for your child but for you as a parent as well. Grab this opportunity and create a great relationship with your children who will, in turn, create even better relationships with their own families in the future.

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    • lyoness913 profile image

      Wendi Pembridge Skilling 24 months ago from Overland Park, KS

      I find I am a sort of 'fly by the seat of my pants' parent. :) My boys are very well rounded, and I am sure I made a lot of mistakes! Great hub!

    • kgmonline profile image
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      Geri Mileff 24 months ago from Czech Republic

      @lyoness913 - Hi Wendi! Thanks for the comment. Great to hear about your boys! :)

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