Ever wondered whether the way you parent your child or the way you’re bringing them up, is good for them?
If there’s one thing that we as parents need to understand, it’s this — your child isn’t you.
Your child is a different individual with different needs.
Most Indian parents of today adopt similar parenting styles to the ones they were raised with.
But that’s not always good because of the vast generation gap — the kids of today need completely different types of experiences to shape up to the best of their abilities.
So here’s the burning question…
Do you feel that your parenting style is suited to your child in a way that it meets their needs?
We have with us an expert in child psychology and parenting strategies, Vidya Ragu, who explains to us the different styles of parenting there are and tells us about the pros and cons of each one.
This way, you can have a look and decide what will best suit your child!
Think about it…
What kind of parenting style have you adopted so far? Do you need to change it?
Is it doing your child more harm than good?
While this may all sound a bit overwhelming, stick around because it’s important for you to understand what’s best for you and your child.
There are two main components to any parenting style:
a) to what degree you believe the child should express themselves and practise their freedom and
b) the degree to which you want your child to develop discipline and obedience.
The perfect combination of these two factors would give you the perfect parenting style.
4 Different Types Of Parenting Styles:
1) Authoritative Parenting Style:
Let’s start by discussing the most effective style of parenting.
As explained by Vidya, the authoritative type of parenting is a style in which a structure is laid out for the child, and the behaviour that is expected of them is clearly explained.
It stresses the importance of parental guidance. Then, the child is given all the support, be it emotional or physical, to perform that particular task.
Although, the way in which they choose to perform the task is left completely up to them.
When the child completes the task, they are praised for it and are given reinforcements or rewards.
Here, you’re treating your child in a way that keeps in mind their own independence and their needs for self-expression, while also teaching them to differentiate between right and wrong on their own.
This is why whenever a parent following this style of parenting sets any disciplinary rules, they give the child reasons as to why it is or isn’t good for them, so the child can understand in a logical way.
Let’s take an example of this. Say, your child has been given a homework project and has been given a deadline along with it. That’s your child being informed about what’s expected of them.
Now, you, the parent, need to encourage your child to do the project in whatever way they see fit.
If they need material help along the way or have a few doubts, help them out. This would be you giving them the support they need.
Then, when your child has completed the project on time, reward them for it by buying them an ice cream or taking them out to someplace they like. This is the reinforcement part.
This would be the perfect example of positive parenting.
Benefits of authoritative parenting:
This makes your child grow up to be independent with set self-disciplinary rules for themselves.
They will be self-confident with amazing problem-solving abilities, as it allows the child to be creative in deciding how they want to perform certain tasks; and so, it’s a very effective style of parenting.
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2) Authoritarian Parenting Style:
Not to be confused with Authoritative parenting!
This is a parenting style where the same expectations of the authoritative parenting style are put forth, but it’s done in a more command-action process rather than giving the child a framework that they can work around as they like.
This style of parenting insists on the importance of parental control over the child.
Here, the only reason the child does the task that’s expected of them is that you’re saying so, and it has to be done in exactly the way you, the parent, wants it to be done in.
This is a very fear-driven type of task completion where the child does not learn to express, be independent, make their own decisions or understand why they’re even doing what they’re doing.
No encouragement or support is provided to the child. This parenting style is very common in Indian parenting methods.
Parents that adopt this parenting style are very unresponsive to the child’s wants and needs and impose what they think is fit for the child, onto them.
Taking the same example of a homework project being given, an authoritarian parent would simply tell the child to ‘do it’ and maybe even tell them something like, “It has to look like this.”
No expression, encouragement, or further support is given.
The intentions of the parents here are good, where they’re only trying to discipline the child, but they need to realize that it’s actually harming the child’s developmental process.
This style is mainly followed by overprotective parents.
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Ill-effects of the authoritarian parenting style:
Not only does this parenting style affect the lifelong bond that you’re trying to build with your child, but it’s also making the child grow up to be dependant on being told exactly what to do.
Even as an adult, they can only complete tasks that involve no creative problem-solving skills and are only able to follow specific commands.
This, in turn, drops their academic performance as they grow up, and even gives them a very low self-esteem as they have no means of expressing themselves.
When they’re constantly being punished for tasks or behaviour that didn’t go exactly the way the parent wants, they get confused and feel like they aren’t good enough.
It induces self-blame and affects their self-confidence for a very long time.
This, in turn, can lead to your child growing up to face various mental health problems.
It can also affect their future relationships as they may find it hard to be emotionally expressive.
They may grow up to be aggressive and hostile and can begin to place most of their focus on their anger towards their parents.
3) Permissive or Indulgent Parenting Style:
In this parenting style, the parent is free and easy-going with every demand of the child.
Now, this may sound like a good thing, but is it really helping the child?
The parent here places all their focus and attention on pampering the child and letting the child just do what they feel like doing just so they don’t get upset.
The parent’s goal here is to just keep the child happy at all times.
No disciplinary rules or structure is imposed on the child. The parents, in fact, succumb to the child’s demands.
In the same example given above, if the child wants to do the homework project later, the parent agrees to it.
If the child maybe even wants the parent to do it for them, the parent does it, just so the child won’t cry.
Taking another example, the child can even shout at the parents, and the parents don’t react poorly because the child is ‘throwing a temper tantrum which is okay’.
If the child, for example, doesn’t want to go to school, the parents agree and let the child be home, sometimes for more than a couple of days.
The child gets whatever he/she wants either by crying or by commanding and ends up getting it, which only goes on to reinforce the fact that they can get anything at all that they want, simply by doing these things. It becomes an endless cycle.
Ill-effects of the permissive style of parenting:
The child here has grown up having everything done for them.
When they grow up and realize that they need to develop a sense of responsibility and work hard for anything they want, they find it really hard to cope.
They also find it hard to follow any rules or fit into any structure as they grow up.
4) Non-indulgent, Uninvolved, or Neglectful Parenting Style:
Vidya explains to us that this is a parenting style in which no expectations or structure is even communicated to the child.
The two parents never talk about or decide which parenting style they have adopted for their child, and so go about following different methods of parenting to raise the child.
The child, in turn, adapts differently to each parent and changes their behaviour accordingly.
Here, the child is never told that they have to go to school, or that they have to do their homework.
The child basically doesn’t know good from bad because they’re never told anything. The importance of school or homework is never explained to the child.
Your child needs to feel that you’re involved in their development and that your concerned about what goes on in their life.
The parent here believes that the child can manage on their own.
Here it would be a poor bond and poor communication between the parent and the child, leading to disassociation with the family and family culture.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s extremely challenging for any parent to strictly follow and stick by any structure they’ve set for their child.
Choosing the right parenting style is difficult because every parent’s intention is to provide the best environment for their child.
But, sometimes, what’s best for the child is hard for you, as a parent, to enforce. It takes patience, time, and practise.
Parenting psychology is often either completely focused on being fully liberal to the child’s needs or being so strict in order to feel in control of what happens in your child’s life.
Finding an equilibrium between the two would be the best parenting tip to raise your child.
Vidya explains to us that the authoritative style of parenting is the best way to ensure a secure bond, a self-disciplined and an independent child that knows the difference between right and wrong.
She emphasizes the importance of setting expectations and making sure the child understands the familial culture.
For example, letting the child know that the family always eats together when everyone is home, is an expectation that you’re setting. The child feels very involved and important here.
It’s also important for both parents to agree on a parenting style and follow it together.
It’s okay for you to be permissive sometimes, and it’s okay for you to say ‘no’ strictly at other times, but ensure that the dominant way in which you deal with your child’s problems and behaviour is more of a two-way street where your child can express themselves while meeting an expectation that you have set for them.
So now that you know about the 4 different parenting styles, which one would you recommend having at home? Feel free to drop a comment below and share your views with the parenting community 🙂
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