June 10, 2010

How You Parent?

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” - Frederick Douglass
Thousands of parents face the same problems with their out-of-control teens. Each of them use different approaches on how to react and modify their child’s behaviour based of family traditions, religions and personal life experience. Approaches to parenting vary.
How you parent – your parenting style is influenced by your own parents, your personality, the stresses you face in your life, what you learn from people around you and your child’s personality.
During the early 1960s , psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 1000 preschool-age children. Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:
* Disciplinary strategies
* Warmth and nurturance
* Communication styles
* Expectations of maturity and control

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of four different parenting styles.

In this article we’ll consider each of them according TODAY’s World and CHANGES in Society, helping you to understand your own style and limits, and may be to encourage you to try some changes in your parenting style.

1. Indulgent or Permissive Parenting

According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive then they are demanding. They are non-traditional and lenient, do not require mature behaviour, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation”. Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent. Misbehaviour is ignored.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The permissive parent might not force the issue, and suggest a compromise instead -"We'll just sponge off."
Are you a permissive parent?
Popular in the 50’s and 60’s, this style was a reaction to the horrors of whole nations following the dictators in World War 2. Instead of following, children are encouraged to think for themselves, avoid inhibitions, and not value conformity. Parents take a “hands-off” approach, allowing children to learn from the consequences of their actions.

Although those raised in this style are creative and original, they often have trouble living in a highly populated community. Ignoring misbehaviour gives no information about expected behaviour. With no intervention, the bully wins, while the passive child loses, a perfect set-up to be a victim in later life.

Unlike the child-oriented 50’s and 60’s where one consistent adult was available to patiently guide self-discovery to the consequences of actions, today’s society is fast –paced with a multitude of adults playing into the child’s life each week. Without clear limits, children get confused, feel insecure, and can make poor choices.

2. Authoritarian Parents – 

expect their children to accept their values, judgments and goals without question. Commanding the child what to do and what not to do, rules are clear and unbending. Misbehaviour is strictly punished. (We are not taking here about Abusive Parenting that includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse and neglect. Abusive parenting causes lasting damage and must be stopped.)

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum. The authoritarian parent might use control, power, and corporal punishment, forcing the child into the tub.
Are you an authoritarian parent?
Predominant for most of Western history, authoritarian parenting is effective in societies experiencing little change and accepting one way to do things (agrarian – industrial societies). A master teacher (often the parent) instructs the child on each act.
This style mismatches a rapidly changing society which values choice and innovation. Rebellion often results from strict punishment. Children raised to follow the “expert” easily copy anyone including undesirable peers.

3. Uninvolved or Indifferent Parenting

An indifferent parent may not show much interest in the child’s needs. They believe that their job is to provide the necessities (food and shelter) but there is little or no emotional input.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The neglectful parent might let the issue go - and would probably have a pretty dirty - 4-year-old!
Are you uninvolved parent?
Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

We highly recommend reading:
Active Parenting - Parenting of the 21st Century
5 Building Blocks of Active Parenting

4. Authoritative Parenting

Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. The difference is in the area of psychological control. Parents have a lot of behaviour control, but there is no psychological control. They do not use methods of emotional blackmail, withdrawal of love, bringing in feelings of guilt or other negative tactics with their children.

This parenting style is more democratic. Clarifying issues, parents give reasons for limits. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Their disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive. Learning to take responsibility is a high priority. Children are given lots of practice in making choices and guided to see the consequences of those choices.
Out-of control children have “cool-off” time, not punishment.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The authoritative parent might discuss the problem and come up with a solution acceptable to both parent and child - an incentive such as a bubble bath, cookies and milk after the bath, or reading a story during the bath.

Are you authoritative parent?
Authoritative parenting is the best for today’s fast-changing information age where choice is constant and there is no longer just one “right” way. Children raised by this style learn to accept responsibility, make wiser choices, cope with change, and are better equipped to succeed in a work-force which relies on cooperative problem-solving.

Which Is Your Style?
We highly recommend reading:
Teaching Your Child Active Listening Skills
Maybe you are somewhere in between. Think about what you want your children to learn. Ask yourself these questions: Can your teen talk and negotiate with you? Can your children make decisions and make choices for themselves? Or because you are the parent, do your children have no say in things?

Can I change?
It's a parent responsibility to prepare their children to survive in this world without them. If your parenting style has been too strict or too passive, inconsistent or abusive you should try to change. You have habits and attitudes that are hard to break. Your children are used to the way that things have been. They are likely to resist change. But it can be done and it is worth the effort to build a better relationship. 


* The PRINCESS Bitchface Syndrome by Michael Carr-Gregg

* Parenting Styles, by Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide
* Do you know your parenting style? by Marie-Helen Goyetche
* Understanding the Reasons: Parenting Styles by Strong Bonds Jesuit Social Services
* Effective Parenting Styles. Why Yesterday’s Models Won’t Work Today, http://www.kidsource.com/better.world.press/parenting.html

* GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORIATIVE PARENTING : http://www.thesuccessfulparent.com/parenting-styles/assessing-your-parenting-styles

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