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Types of Parenting Styles

on 31/01/2015

Jerisson, a 12-year-old teen, has just recently entered into a whole new school environment. For a few weeks, he has been seeing his school counselor because he finds himself feeling totally worn out every day; juggling between endless extra classes and stacks of school works – however, he never has the courage to share these concerns with his parents as he fears of his parents’ reaction.

 

If you’re in Jerisson’s parents’ shoes, what are your reactions to this? Will you see his problems as just an excuse and listen to none of his words, or allow him to express himself? Or have a heart-to-heart conversation and allow him to voice out his concerns? Or sweep his problems under the rug and pretend nothing happens? Or just abide whatever requests without hesitation when he openly pour his heart out?


Whatever your reactions, it actually boils down to the parenting style you adopt.  Parenting style, as portrayed by Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist known for her research in parenting style, is the mold for the children’s psychosocial and behavioural development. A thorough understanding about parenting style, especially the impacts on adolescents’ development, definitely helps in navigating the adolescents.


Customarily, the following are the four major parenting styles adopted:

 


Authoritarian

 

Valuing obedience as a virtue and punitive approach in disciplining a child, authoritarian parents are highly dominating and always forcefully insist the child to follow their directions, based on a set standard of conduct. They perceive that their authority is unquestionable and offer no explanation for their decisions. Besides, they are not responsive to the child’s needs as they strongly believe what they do are the best and wisest decision ever.

 

For instance, if an authoritarian parent brings their child to go for tuition, and if the child whines, “Can I know why do I have to go for tuition?” Typical answer from the parent will be: “No question and just do what I told you to!”

 

This left the child with no choice but to follow the rules. Consequently, the child will think that    adherence to strict discipline precede independent behavior. More often than not, they will become either rebellious with aggressive behaviours (usually boys), or dependent on parents if they are submissive (usually girls). 

 


Authoritative

 

Authoritative parents are characterized using a democratic approach – high demand and high responsiveness. Even though they are strict in laying down the rules for their child to obey, yet they are still willing to lend their ears with their child and engaged in heart-to-heart talk. Despite their assertiveness in making their child realize their expectation and “bottom line”, they are still nurturing and supportive, especially when their children failed to meet their expectations.

 

For example, when their child sighed dejectedly at their poor exam results, the authoritative parents, instead of finding faults and blaming their child mercilessly as what authoritarian parents do, the authoritative parents will give their child a hug or a pat on the shoulder and offer some encouragement, such as “It’s good that you learnt about your weakness now. I know you’ve tried your best. Just don’t give up and try harder next time!”

 

If the child brought up by authoritative parents, he or she will tend to be firm, socially competent, independent, self-disciplined and always be considerate and values other people’s opinions.

 

 

Permissive (Indulging)

 

Permissive parents are typical “Mr. and Mrs. YES” who are highly responsive towards their child’s needs, yet undemanding. Being lenient and only take on the role of “friend” instead of parents, they have low expectations towards the child and always allow the child to have his or her way. Thus, they hardly participate actively in influencing the characteristics development of the child and they merely view them as the resource for their child to seek advice. 

 

Sometimes, a child will make an unreasonable request, such as “Mum, can I not attend the class because I didn’t do homework.” Subsequently permissive parents will give in to the child by saying, “Oh, poor baby! Sure, you may skip the class!” Such is the example of permissive behaviour showed by these parents.

 

As a result, the child becomes impulsive, defiant and disrespectful of authority, henceforth the child is more inclined to get involved in juvenile delinquencies. They can also be dependent and egocentric, as well.

 

 

Uninvolved (Negligent)

 

Perhaps “Hollow Parents” is aptly described how uninvolved the parents really are! As suggested by the name, they show indifference, or generally detach themselves from their child’s life. Though they manage to fulfil their child’s basic needs, they hardly communicate with the child. Hollow Parents are usually preoccupied with their tasks or they have given up on their parental role and consider been parents is a job.

By the way, it is quite common to hear this from uninvolved parents, “I have no time for you. Take this money and find yourself something to do.”

Due to the minimal care from parents, they usually produce the child who lacks self-control, low self-esteem and even demonstrates repugnant behaviour due to lack of love, care, attention and warmth from their parents.

 

Therefore, it stands to reason that authoritative parenting is generally endorsed as the most effective parenting style in raising competent and self-reliant adolescents with healthy development.  However, it’s also quite likely that most parents adopt a mix of different parenting styles, depending on the circumstances. Individual parents may also differ in terms of parenting style, for instance one parent may be permissive while the other is authoritarian. In this case, it will be a matter of reaching consensus on the consistency in enforcing rules on certain teenage behaviours.

 

In a nutshell, all parents should love their children unconditionally, and always strive to give the best for them, regardless of which parenting style they’ve adopted.  So, choose your parenting style wisely as every decision you’ve made will shape your children’s behaviour in the long run!