Parenting Styles

Recently, I was reading through some old research and assignments that I had laying around my spare room; and it really got me thinking about parenting and how complex it is. When I think about it, I am fairly new to the game of parenting, but I like to think that I am reasonably good at it!

Not once however, have I given any thought to what type of parenting category that I might fit into – or even that there could be recognised, universal parenting styles that we all fall into, and so I was fascinated when I found information to the following effect:

According to some recent psychological research, there are two major factors that determine styles of parenting, and the relationship between parent and child. These quite broad categories are parental warmth and parental control. Surprisingly, what much of this research has found is that too much of either factor can be detrimental to children.

From a psychological perspective, different parenting styles generally fall into one of four broad categories. (Trust us psychs to want to put things in boxes ).

These four categories are: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Rejecting/Neglecting.

Authoritarian: Summarised as ‘Cold with control’, people who parent within the authoritarian vein are those who have firm control over their children; but in a way that can be cold, and somewhat unresponsive to the child.

Often authoritarian parents will seek to dominate, and are likely to administer punishment before stopping to consider the child’s point of view. Authoritarian parents are often fond of the phase “If you want to live under my roof, then you will at ALL times abide by my rules”.

What research shows about children who are raised in an extreme authoritarian environment is that they tend not to perform as well at school, and often behave aggressively or display large amounts of hostility. These children also report that they feel trapped or are afraid of confronting/discussing things with parents.

Rejecting/Neglecting: This style of parenting has two sub-categories; those that fall into the rejecting category, or those who are deemed to be neglecting. Rejecting parents are often hard on their children and are more actively involved in rejecting them, whereas neglecting parents often ignore their children and just do not pay any heed to the general responsibilities that come with parenting.

Permissive: Permissive parents tend to have little or no control over their children and can be summarised as being warm, yet lax. According to some research, this type of parent will often fail to set boundaries for their child, and avoid confrontation with them because they would prefer to be seen as the child’s friend rather than as a figure of authority. Children that are raised in this type of environment are found to be more impulsive, less independent and confident.

Authoritative: summarised as warm with control, the authoritative parenting style is akin to the middle ground of all four parenting categories. Parenting in this style includes setting clear boundaries for children, but using more supportive methods of discipline that can involve discussion and explanation. The key here is that there is a good flow of communication. Another important factor to note about this parenting style is consistency (which as I understand it, is quite important for children).

The question is which are you? Are you a mixture of different categories, or do you not fit any at all.

NB: I neither agree nor disagree with the information in this post, I am merely reporting and commenting on some research that I read and found interesting. To create this post, I used a variety of books and journal articles; if you would like specific details let me know.

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