Parenting Styles and How they Influence Children

How you parent reflects your unique personality. Your parenting style is formed by many factors and is based on an overall pattern of your actions, reactions and interactions between you and your child. Diana Baumrind and her fellow researchers have outlined various parenting styles based on the characteristics that particular style fosters in a child. A parenting style may encourage openness, self-sufficiency, self-discipline, achievement, friendliness or maturity.

Parenting Styles

Your parenting style will be characterized by four dimensions: communication styles, nurture and warmth, discipline style and expectations of maturity and control. Based on these, how you parent will predominantly fall under one of the four:

– Authoritarian. “Because I said so” is the theme of this style. Under this parenting style, a parent provides the rules and expects the child to follow without question; otherwise, a child can face punishment. Discussions and feedback on rules are frowned upon. The parent is not responsive to questions about the rules. According to Utah therapists, an authoritarian parenting style can produce rebellious and resentful children.
– Authoritative Parenting. This style is similar to the first, with high standards set, but the child is motivated towards self-discipline and maturity through love and warmth, rather than by punishment. The child is allowed to reason and the parent may consider the child’s point of view but standards are still expected to be followed. This style of parenting is a mix of firmness with nurture and care.  When the child also fails to follow the rules, the parent tends to be more lenient and forgiving rather than punishing. The disciplinary methods firm yet gentle guidance for the child, with an encouragement to be self-reliant and responsible for his decisions. With an authoritative parent, there are limits and expectations while the children are able to learn about the natural consequences of any mistakes they make.
– Permissive Parenting. “Do what you want.” This style of parenting allows the child the run on things. Parents don’t demand much from the child with regards to self-discipline and maturity and make no efforts towards confronting the wrong things a child does. Parents are more friends rather than disciplinarian. This style of parenting exhibits warmth and acceptance, but very little control. Children are allowed more freedom to decide what they want to do and what rules they want to follow.
– Uninvolved parenting. “I’m busy, don’t bother me.” This is marked by low communication, low responsiveness and low demands from the parent to the child. The parent is too busy with other things that he is not involved with the child’s life.

It is important to note that as parenting styles differ according to your personality, how your child reacts to your parenting style will also be based on his own personality.

It is obvious from the descriptions of the different parenting style that the authoritative style of parenting provides the healthiest balance between expectations and nurture, self-control and warmth. With an authoritative parenting style, there is a balance between developing a sense of responsibility and with respecting a child’s rights and privileges.

Where an authoritarian parenting style breeds resentment, dependence on a higher authority and a lack of spontaneity in the child, an authoritative parenting style encourages a child to still retain his sense of independence. On the other hand, where a permissive parenting style breeds children that have self-control and immaturity issues, an authoritative parenting style provides structure by which a child can develop self-discipline and a desire to work towards meeting expectations.
Authoritative parenting also allows for open dialogue about expectations and rules. This fosters independence in the child while providing controls and limitations on how he acts and interacts with others.

Getting Help as a Parent

Even knowing that an authoritative parenting style works the best, we may still find it difficult to develop that parenting style. Parents will do well to find outside help, such as family counseling in Utah. Some tips you can keep in mind to help you develop an authoritative parenting style includes:

– Knowing your child and his temperament. This understanding will help you attune your parenting with his unique personality.
– Set clear expectations and limits.
– Communicate with your child. Take time to listen to what he thinks about issues, especially when it comes to rules covering his behavior. Be sure to explain the importance and impact of the rules and system of consequences you want established in your home. Provo therapists can help you develop your communication skills.
– In the face of resistance, be sure to let your child know that you respect their opinions. However, you will need to be consistent and firm in your decisions and expectations.
– Get help. Maybe existing issues in your family will need to be dealt with. It is best to consider going for family counseling in Provo.

With some effort and Utah counseling, you can work towards being a loving, yet firm parent and help your child grow and thrive as responsible adults who make a positive contribution to society and the world in general.


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