Parenting styles and the messages they deliver.

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Psychologists have pretty much narrowed down parenting styles to four types. Regardless of the type, it has more to say about who we are and how we were raised than anything else. No matter the style, most of us are trying to nurture, provide, guide, protect and love our children. In no particular importance of relevance or frequency, here are the four styles.

  1. Permissive parenting: This type of parenting is often also known as the “indulgent parenting”. It may seem that the parents do not care but that is not the case. This type of parenting allows children to almost get away with anything and behave however they want. It is characterized with very little discipline as parents rarely intervene or reprimand their children. The main reason behind that is the low expectation of maturity and self-control. Permissive parents usually do not dictate what their children do. Rather, they tend to react more than guide. They are better known or perceived as friends rather than parents. Mostly, this arises from fear of confrontation and conflict. They are pretty lenient, look for self-regulation, and having mature behavior is not a requirement. Believe it or not the outcome of such parenting are children who are not happy, have problems with school and authority, have little self-regulation and rarely act maturely. Leniency and permissiveness does not produce a message of self-sufficiency and maturity and high self-esteem.
  2. Authoritarian parenting: This for the most part, means rules that are strict and punishment that could be severe for breaking those rules. The parents lay down the law and the children are expected to follow word for word. The most common reasoning given by parents to their children is: Because I said so. Without much if any explanation, children find themselves following rules they do not understand and learning behaviors they may not agree with. But voicing their opinion is not an option. So the parenting end up being demanding and their relationship is usually unidirectional…from them to the kids. No explanation necessary! If you guessed that the outcome of such parenting produces children that are obedient and effective and efficient, you would be correct. Alas, these children are marked by low self-esteem and rarely if ever are happy.
  3. Authoritative parenting: Think of this style of parenting as a democratic authoritarian. The parents lay down rules and regulations and they expect their children to follow them. The parents here do give and take with their children and do encourage feedback which allows for growth of the children on all levels. Children experience assertive and supportive parents who are nonintrusive but firm and responsive. As expected, children of such a style are usually happy, successful and very capable.
  4. Uninvolved parenting: Pretty much the system here is so lax. There are very few expectations, minimal demands, very little communication and barely any responsiveness. Such parents fulfill basic needs but are as detached as can be from their children. No wonder their children end up lacking self-control, are among the lowest products of parenting, are incompetent and have almost no self-esteem.

Perhaps we all go through these phases at some point or another, but as you look at these styles you may be able to better understand yourself, and how you became who you are. I hope you are also able to see in a clearer vision how the messages that come across impact your children’s lives. This is not the porridge of Goldilocks. This is not a taste contest. This is the shaping and building of our children. And no-where else demands nearly as close and detailed and delicate and dedicated effort as with them.