Raising competent and independent children to become successful adults is the challenge of all parents. Parents can employ several styles of parenting, including permissive parenting, authoritative parenting and authoritarian parenting. Each of those styles has varying degrees of discipline and tenderness, and the parents who use them come from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. While experts tend to agree that the authoritative style raises the most well-rounded and secure children, with its mix of high expectations and unending support, the other methods are still commonly used.
Permissive parenting is common in the United States, as parents tiptoe around their children, not wanting to upset them, according to WebMD. If you give in when your child has a tantrum, your preteen disobeys you or you believe that your teenager will do whatever he wants no matter what you say, you might be a permissive parent. These parents worry about pleasing their children. Little discipline exists with these children, and they don't have to assume much responsibility.
Authoritarian parenting, on the other hand, includes a strict discipline plan and a rigid rule system, according to an article on the Parenting Science website. Children are given responsibilities at an early age and they are expected to be obedient at all times. Parents do not need to explain themselves or go into the underlying reasons behind the actions they expect their children to perform. In this system, parental love and tenderness is not openly shown and children act as underlings rather than individuals. This style is seen more in Asian countries and is not as prevalent in the United States.
Authoritative parenting is a style to which many parents aspire. It includes maintaining high expectations for your children, but at the same time, providing them with understanding and sympathy. Authoritative parents allow their children to see when they're disappointed with them, and engage in consistent rule-setting, but always with the backdrop of loving support. The Parenting Science article explains that authoritative parents show their children warmth, discipline with rationality and calm, and hold high standards of behavior from their children. As an authoritative parent, when you do discipline, you ensure your children understand what they did wrong, why you are reacting as you are, and what they need to do in the future.
Each of these styles will remain with your children well beyond their childhood years and into adulthood. Author and parenting expert Margaret Paul, in a Huffington Post article, used an example of a woman brought up by authoritarian parents. She felt lonely and misunderstood throughout her life. She couldn't go to her parents for anything and didn't feel close to them. In response to her upbringing, when this woman had a child of her own, she became a permissive parent. She showered her child with love and affection, but put herself and her needs aside, giving her kid whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. Experts suggest authoritative parenting because it moderates these two extremes. Children feel loved and important, they understand the motives behind discipline, and yet they are expected to behave in certain ways and feel consequences if they fail to do so. As they grow into adults, they will be able to parent their own children in an even-handed way, and they will love themselves while expecting big things of themselves.
- WebMD: When Parenting Styles Differ
- Parenting Science: The Authoritative Parenting Style - Warmth, Rationality, and High Standards
- Parenting Science: The Authoritarian Parenting Style - Definitions, Research, and Cultural Differences
- Huffington Post: Authoritarian Parenting, Permissive Parenting or Loving Parenting
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images