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Raising Children: The Importance of Parenting Styles

If you are a parent, you will know how complex and difficult raising children is. Parenting is a tough job and calls for a planned approach. Parenting is the style that you use as a parent to bring up your children.

There is no doubt that the environment at home has an impact on bringing up children. But environment alone does not affect children. Two children growing up in the same environment can turn out to be different. Along with the environment, the style of parenting also has an impact on children.

We look at the different parenting styles as identified by psychologists. We look at how these parenting styles affect children. This information will help you identify the ideal style to follow to raise children in a healthy way

Parenting styles and raising children

Every parent can have a different type of style to bring up their children. Psychologists have analyzed these styles and have come out with some common styles. Psychologist Diana Baumrind during the 1960s carried out studies on preschool children. Through these studies, she tried to understand various styles of parenting and how they affected children.

Based on her studies, she identified the following dimensions of parenting:

  • Strategies to ensure discipline.
  • Communication style.
  • Warmth and nurturing.
  • Expectations of maturity.
  • Control.

Keeping these dimensions in mind, she came out with three distinct parenting styles that parents used. She said that the style of parenting followed by all parents would come under one of these three styles. Subsequently, more studies were carried out by psychologists Maccoby and Martin during the 1980s. They added one more parenting style based on their studies.

The result of these studies is four different parenting styles. Every parent would adopt one of these styles while raising children. As a parent, it is important to understand each of these styles. The four parenting styles are:

  1. Authoritative parenting.
  2. Authoritarian parenting.
  3. Permissive parenting.
  4. Neglectful parenting.

Let’s look at each of these styles in detail to understand them better. Before getting into the details, it is important to look at two key factors related to parenting:

  • Demandingness, which refers to the extent to which parents control children’s behavior.
  • Responsiveness, which refers to the sensitivity of parents in responding to the needs of children (emotional and developmental needs).

Parenting styles can be clearly understood by using these two factors.

1. Authoritative parenting

Authoritative parenting is a style that is high on demandingness and responsiveness. While these parents have high expectations of children, they also show warmth and emotion.

The parents have strict rules and guidelines for children to follow. They demand that children follow these rules without exceptions. However, this style is democratic since it is high in responsiveness. The parents respond to the needs of their children.

Whenever children need support, warmth, and affection, their parents would offer it to them. They also give feedback. If the children fail to listen to their parents, they would prefer to correct them through feedback and support rather than through punishment. Their aim is to ensure children are socially responsible and cooperative.

This parenting style can help children be self-regulated while being independent.

2. Authoritarian parenting

In this style, the parents are high on demandingness, which is similar to the authoritative style. However, when it comes to responsiveness, they are low. The parental control over children is high, with stringent expectations from children. Failure to meet expectations is most likely to lead to punishments.

These parents are unlikely to offer support or warmth in response to children’s needs. Essentially, communication is one way from parent to child and the child is expected to comply. They believe in disciplining the child. They are unlikely to nurture the child and would use methods to toughen the child.

This is an old-school type of parenting that demands obedience and is dictatorial in nature. Such children are likely to be unhappy and can face social problems.

3. Permissive parenting

This style of parenting is low on demandingness and high on responsiveness. These parents are quick to respond to the needs of their children. They are willing to shower warmth, affection, and nurture the child. However, they are not demanding and do not have too many expectations from the child.

This is an indulgent style of parenting, where parents don’t know how to say no. While they are loving parents, they do not set rules for children, which could become a big problem later on.

Children who grow up in this style are unlikely to follow rules and may turn out to be spoiled brats. They are likely to face social problems in the future.

4. Neglectful parenting

This parenting style is the worst among all four. The style is low on demandingness and also low on responsiveness. These parents neither have expectations from children nor respond to their needs. It is essentially uninvolved parenting, where they are not much worried about the lives of their children.

Generally, such parents may have been exposed to similar parenting. This style does not offer anything of value for children. They get neither love and support, nor do they learn discipline and social responsibilities.

The children turn out to be impulsive in nature. Such children can end up facing serious problems like addiction, self-harm, etc.

Which is the best parenting style?

While each of these four styles has its own drawbacks, but the authoritative style of parenting is considered to be the best. The authoritarian brings up children by creating fear in them. Such children do not get the love they need. Permissive style results in spoiled children who are overindulged. Neglectful parenting can lead to delinquent children who get nothing from their parents.

Compared to the other three styles, the authoritative style helps children be disciplined. Children learn the importance of rules and boundaries. At the same time, they are nurtured and receive love and support from their parents.

The ultimate aim of parents should be to bring up children who are happy, socially responsible, and love their family. This should be kept in mind at all stages of parenting.

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