Try as some parents might -- stage moms are a prime example -- they can’t mold their child into their exact vision. But parents do play a role in how their child develops, according to the type of child rearing practice or parenting style they follow. Your parenting style influences behavior, but so do genetics and the experiences children have outside the home with peers and other adults. According to the American Psychological Association, all three factors act together to determine how children develop. The factor parents can control is their parenting style -- of which there are four basic types, according to studies done primarily from Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
Of the four parenting styles, the authoritative style is the gold standard. Authoritative parents achieve the right balance of warmth and approval, in that they are responsive to a child’s needs, and explain the reasons that discipline might be in order. In other words, authoritative parents are affectionate and engaged with their child but they also set limits and enforce consequences when the child misbehaves. Children raised by authoritative parents are likely to be happy, kind children who can solve problems on their own and who are self-motivated and confident. They are usually excellent students, according to Education.com.
The balance tips with authoritarian parents who favor strict discipline. Authoritarian parents tend to have many household rules, which they expect their children to obey. They are consistent with discipline if their child misbehaves. But, unlike the authoritative parents who explain the reason for the discipline, authoritarian parents don’t believe they need to offer a reason. The answer, “Because I said so,” characterizes this parenting style. Authoritarian parents are less affectionate than authoritative ones and some withdraw love to get their child to obey. Children raised by authoritarian parents tend to be moody and anxious, but are typically well behaved. They are usually average to good students, according to Education.com.
With permissive parents, the balance tips the opposite way from that of authoritarian parents. These parents typically display a lot of love and affection for their children but maintain and enforce few if any rules. Many permissive parents want to be friends with their child. When they ask their child to do something, such as getting ready for bed, they typically end the request with, “OK?” If the child doesn’t get ready for bed, the permissive parent might play with the child until she’s ready to go. Children raised by permissive parents tend to be demanding and whiny. They become easily frustrated when things don’t go their way, and they lack empathy and kindness for others. They are usually average to poor students, according to Education.com.
Uninvolved is a dysfunctional parenting style, and is low on being responsive to a child’s needs and low on controlling and disciplining a child. Parents on the worst extreme of this style neglect their children or reject them completely. These parents do not have a strong emotional bond with their child, they aren’t involved in their child’s life, and if they provide discipline, it’s inconsistent and unpredictable. Children raised by uninvolved parents tend to be clingy and needy. They might be rude or act in unsuitable ways away from home. They tend to get into trouble with teachers or with the law and are usually poor students, according to Education.com.
- American Psychological Association: How Do Parents Matter? Let Us Count the Ways
- The New York Times: Raising Successful Children
- Education.com: Parenting Styles
- Parenting Science: The Authoritarian Parenting Style -- Definitions, Research and Cultural Differences
- Parenting Science: Permissive Parenting -- A Parenting Science Guide to the Research
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images