The Ministry of Education in Bhutan designated April as ‘Positive Parenting Month’ in 2009.
As a School Parenting Education Awareness (SPEA) focal person then, I took a lead role in sharing on positive child rearing and parenting styles to the parents of my students. Although there are myriads of parenting styles, either commonly practiced or inherited from our parents, psychologists have revealed a plethora of literature on which and what kind of parenting styles impact best to the lives of our children.
The groundbreaking dimensions catalogued by the psychologist Dianna Baumrind, in the early 1960s still remain as the bedrock of bibliography for parenting styles, even after these 45 years. She was credited for classifying 4 significant dimensions of parenting:
1. Disciplinary strategies
2. Warmth and nurturance
3. Communication styles
4. Expectations of maturity and control.
Almost 2 decades later, based on these dimensions, it was Maccoby and Martin, who added another feather of parenting styles. Hence, the 4 kinds of parenting styles that have evolved today are:
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1. Authoritarian Parents
Authoritarian parents design strict rules for their children to follow and keep the things in order. A very high standard of conduct is always set and failing to meet such bar by their children is never easily acceptable. Punishment is often viewed as a solution to achieve their mark. The parenting climate is harsh and rigid since the parents are highly ‘obedience and status oriented’.
Such parenting is often based on the motto, “Do what I say”, since the parents assumes the role of the ultimate boss. The children have a very limited choice and options. Authoritarian parents command the children to do work without explaining them why they need to do it.
Because children are groomed under tensed emotional climate, they are said to be low self-esteem resentful, frustrated, and pressurized, fear and socially withdrawn.
2. Permissive Parents
Permissive parents are practically the opposite of authoritarian parents. Children have the control of everything. Parents are said to make rules, but they are inconsistently enforced even if it means failure of their children. Hence, in such parenting climate, children are free to take up as many choices as available (with little parental guidance), even if they are incapable of being a good decision makers. If the children fail to reach their expectations, such parents nurture and forgive instead of being punitive.
Under such parenting styles, the children are said to be self-centered and demanding, lack of self-discipline, aggressive and have inclination to clash with their authority.
3. Authoritative Parents
Authoritative parents are also called as democratic parents. They maintain firm expectations, limits and standards of child’s behavior but at the same time, make them responsible based on their capacity and let them learn the consequences of their own behavior by providing clear explanations. The children of such parents are given adequate autonomy by considering their views and opinions. Good activities and behaviors are always reinforced. It is often considered as more balanced parenting style since any kind of limits and standards are established jointly by parents and children.
The children of such parents are positive to relationship and society, emotionally stable and perform better in their lives.
4. Uninvolved Parents
As it is clear from the term itself, such parents are always disengaged from the child’s behavior. It is also called as disengaged parenting. The parents show extremely low responsiveness and limited sense of nurture. Such parents are either routinely busy or self-involved due to which they care less of the child by showing a very less demand.
Children from such parents are said to be lonely, emotionally and socially withdrawn, develop less sense of importance to parents and their life, vulnerable to juvenile delinquencies, addiction and crimes. They will have low self-esteem, stressful life, and poor performance and often demonstrate defiance to their immediate authority.
It is worth figuring out one’s own parenting style. There is nothing called ‘late’ in changing it. But to change it, we need to school our attitude first and develop a high sense of bond with our own child, which many, are fully aware. I am on a journey to learn it very soon.“Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do” – Matt Walsh