If only parenting came with a manual! But it doesn’t. Parenting requires navigating a variety of important but often contradictory values. With the added complication of attempting to parent your children with other adults with different parenting styles. How would you rate your parenting style on a graph measuring warmth (low and high) and firmness (low and high)?
Neglectful Parenting Style
This style is characterized by low scores of warmth and firmness. It says, “I don’t care, do what you want.” These parents are aloof and distant displaying low levels of demandingness and control. Unfortunately, children raised in this style often struggle with authority figures and rules. Of all the styles, they are most likely to engage in serious emotional and behavioural disorders.
Authoritarian Parenting Style
This style is characterized by low scores of warmth, but high levels of firmness. It says, “Do as I say or else!” These parents are aloof and distant, but require that children adhere to high standards and strict discipline. This style is very typical in more traditional families where children should be seen and not heard.
Permissive Parenting Style
This style is characterized by high scores of warmth and low levels of firmness. It says, “What would you like to do today.” These parents are exceptionally nurturing, accepting, loving, but have difficulty maintaining discipline. Often deemed the child’s “best friend” this parenting style does not allow children to learn that there are limits to acceptable behavior.
Authoritative Parenting Style
This is where we all aim to be: Parents who are both very warm and nurturing, yet very firm and in control. It says, “This is the way, let’s talk about it.” In this style, it is possible for children to know that they are very much loved and feel secure in consistent boundaries. As much as it is a parent’s responsibility to set boundaries, it is a child’s job to test them.
Nobody is perfect. Based on our own life experience, values, circumstances, etc, we default to a parenting style most suitable at the time. Ultimately, we all hope to produce well-adjusted secure children by functioning in the authoritative parenting style. Contact me if you are finding it tough to be the parent you long to be.