How the parents groom their children differs according to their countries, cultures, socioeconomic and academic status. Yet the research has found that the basic patterns of parenting are similar across the globe. The concept of ‘Parenting Styles’ helps us understand these basic patterns. Simply speaking, Parenting Styles are the different ways in which different parents nurture and discipline children.
Let’s find out more.
What are the different Parenting Styles and their effects?
US-based developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind’s research from 1970s onward found that the parents’ way of expressing expectations (demandingness) and responding emotionally to their children (responsiveness) show certain patterns. She called them ‘Parenting Styles’. She described three main styles- Authoritarian, Authoritative and Permissive (Indulgent). Later researchers added another category- Neglectful- to these three.
Research has proved that these parenting styles play an important role in the child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development.
What is Authoritarian Parenting Style?
All demands and expectations, little or no responsiveness. All control, little or no affection. That is Authoritarian parenting style in short.
To understand this, let’s go to Sanjay’s house.
Sanjay’s Authoritarian parents hardly display any warmth or support for him and expect him to ‘tough it out’. They practically decide everything for him.
They have strict rules and boundaries about the way he leads his life at home, at school and with his friends. They tell him- rather, ‘order’ him to do (and ‘not to do’) things. They demand results. There is no scope for any discussion or debate about the decisions or opinions. If he disobeys, disagrees or fails in any task, then there are punishments in form of scolding or even, beating.
The effect on Sanjay is there to be seen. Although he is well-behaved at home or in front of adults, and even, shows good academic and extra-academic achievements, he is insecure and indecisive. He lacks confidence and feels stressed and anxious in face of challenges and adversities. He may bully others to take his anger and frustration out.
What is Permissive parenting style?
No demands or expectations, all responsiveness. No control, all affection. That is Permissive parenting style in short. (This style has also been termed Indulgent or Neglectful Indulgent parenting style.)
To understand this, we will check out Ahmed’s home.
Ahmed’s permissive parents shower a lot of affection on him and accept his every demand and behavior without bothering about good or bad consequences. There are no rules or boundaries about how Ahmed goes about at home, in school or with others. Ahmed practically calls the shots in all matters, regardless of his age or maturity. Except for compliments and praises, there is hardly any other parental communication that can be considered as guidance or critique. There are little or no parental demands or expectations, and little or no concept of discipline. Parents act as ‘Friends’ rather than guiding adults, and they are okay to be ‘led’ by their child.
Ahmed’s behavior is for all to see. He is immature, impulsive, and irresponsible. He is self-centered and thinks the world of himself. He is unpopular as he tries to boss his friends, have his own way and is a sore loser. He has little self-control and easily picks up harmful habits and behaviors. He may not have a good academic or extra-academic record.
What is Neglectful parenting style?
No demands or expectations, no responsiveness. No control, no affection. That is Neglectful parenting style in short. (This parenting style has also been termed Negligent, Uninvolved or Neglectful Abusive parenting style.)
To understand this, let’s check out Christina’s household.
Christina’s neglectful parents don’t display any affection and practically ignore her. There are no rules or boundaries. There is no meaningful attempt to connect and communicate. She is left to fend for herself and sometimes even her basic needs (food, clothing, health, education, shelter) are not attended to. She often gets subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
Christina has become introvert, immature, lonely, fearful, and resentful. She doesn’t trust people and is unable to make new friends or relationships. She is depressed and even has attempted self-harm and other risky behaviors. Sometimes, she acts out through angry, aggressive outbursts.
What is Authoritative Parenting Style?
Reasonable demands and expectations with good responsiveness. Adequate control with enough affection. That is Authoritative parenting style in short.
Out of all 4 parenting styles, Authoritative is the one, which has found to give the best results in grooming the child positively.
To understand this let’s follow Anuradha’s family.
Anuradha’s authoritative parents display plenty of warmth and love, but they also show authority by clearly communicating their demands and expectations, while setting up age-appropriate rules and boundaries. There is ample scope for family debates and discussions, where the parents listen and consider Anuradha’s (and other family members’) viewpoints before taking and communicating the final decision. Failures are not frowned upon. Autonomy and problem-solving ability are encouraged with appropriate parental guidance and limits. Discipline is enforced consistently and fairly.
Anuradha has grown to be a mature, happy, confident, resilient, and independent individual, who trusts her judgement and takes her own decisions, and does well in studies and extra-curricular activities. She shares strong bonds with family and friends.
Are there any more parenting styles?
Pop Psychology has thrown terms like Tiger Parenting (for authoritarian), Dolphin Parenting (for authoritative) and Jellyfish Parenting (for permissive).
Other popular terms are Helicopter Parenting for the over-involved, over-concerned parents who like to constantly hover around their children, checking on and involving in their every day-to-day activity or Snowplowing Parenting/Lawn-mowing Parenting/Bulldozer Parenting for the over-protective parents wanting to clear all obstacles from children’s path. These parenting styles do not offer the children the space or opportunity to develop independence, problem-solving ability, and resilience.
Parenting styles are not water-tight compartments. Many parents keep switching styles at times. This means sometimes the authoritative parent may use an authoritarian style or a permissive style on the fly according to the need of the hour.
Parenting Styles: Summary
- Parenting styles are the basic patterns of parental nurturing and disciplining.
- Authoritarian, Permissive, Neglectful and Authoritative parenting styles have been the most studied parenting styles.
- Authoritative parenting with a good balance of control and affection has been found to have best outcomes in terms of child’s social, academic, emotional, and cognitive development.