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Parenting Styles

Parenting Styles

Author: Erick Taggart

Identify various parenting styles and their effect on children.

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Hello class. So arguably the most important relationship that a person can have throughout their life, particularly as a young child, is with their parents. So correspondingly, a lot of developmental psychology research has gone into looking into what the effects that parents can have on their children as well as how to improve those kinds of relationships.

In the 1960s, a psychologist named Diana Baumrind observed a large number of preschool children and interviewed their parents. And through all of this research, she identified that there were three certain parental styles that they tended to go towards. A parental style is an identifiable pattern that parental caretaking and interaction can take on with their children.

And these three categories that she came up with were authoritarian, overly permissive, authoritative, and later on through other kinds of research, a fourth one was added, which was negligent or neglectful. So let's go over each one of these in detail.

So the first style of parenting that we're going to talk about is the authoritarian style, which is to say this style is identified by the strict rules that the parents enforce, as well as the idea that the parent wants complete obedience from the children. Generally, the parent uses punishment as a response to any kind of disobedience they have.

I like to kind of think of this as the military style of parenting. The idea is that the parents are generally obedience and status oriented. Those are the things that they're worried most about. Generally the parents don't give any kind of reasoning behind any kind of discipline that they give.

Their general reason is, because I said so. So if you've heard that before, that's an authoritarian style of parenting. The parent also doesn't give many choices or options for the child as well.

So what effect can that have? Well, generally children of authoritarian parents are obedient, which is a positive thing or a negative thing depending on how you look at it. But they're also emotionally distant. They tend to be withdrawn, and they're apprehensive, particularly about social interactions.

They generally lack curiosity, and they're not very outgoing. So generally under Baumrind's ideas, she didn't see this as being a very positive approach to parenting. Secondly and on the other end of the spectrum, we have overly permissive parents.

Overly permissive parents, they give little guidance, or they give a lot of freedom to their children. And they don't generally hold their kids accountable for anything that they do. So there isn't any kind of consequences or discipline involved. These are generally non-traditional styles of parents, and they allow a lot of sort of self-regulation by the children, let them do what they want.

What I like to refer to this as is the laissez-faire version of parenting where it's all hands off. The parents generally try to avoid confrontation. So the rules that they do set out are generally not enforced, and the children get their way most of the time.

So what effect does this one have? Well, most children of overly permissive parents tend to lack any kind of self-discipline. They tend to be very self-involved and very demanding. They ask a lot of other people.

They're often very immature in their social interactions with others, and they misbehave a lot as well. They act out as a way of sort of getting attention or trying to get what they want. Oftentimes later on in life, they're aimless. They don't tend to have very set goals in their lives.

The third parental style and probably the most positive according to Baumrind is the authoritative style. And notice they're very similar, authoritarian and authoritative, so it's important to differentiate these two. An authoritative style is a style where the parent is very democratic or very child-centric, which is to say that the parents respond to the child's needs.

And they can be very flexible in their rules. At the same time, though, their rules are fair and consistent, and they provide limits and consequences that are overtly told to the children. So they have certain expectations for the child's behavior, even if they are going to be responsive or flexible.

Authoritative parents tend to be very warm and nurturing, and they allow the child to express their opinions and to discuss their different options, again that kind of flexibility where they can be open to. They provide reasoning for the consequences they give, which is to say, they say, I am expecting this of you because and then give a reason.

And again, if that reasoning is in question, then they might change as a result. So children of authoritative parents tend to be very self-controlled and independent. They have good emotional control.

They understand how to regulate themselves, as opposed to the overly permissive children. They have good social skills, and they tend to be very self-confident, and they inquire about things. They're curious, as opposed to the authoritarian children.

Now finally, and sort of on the very low end of the spectrum, are the negligent or neglectful parents, which is to say, these are parents that are completely or to a very large extent uninvolved in their child's lives. They make no demands on the children. They don't have any kind of expectations or rules.

They're very indifferent, dismissive. They have no emotional involvement with their kids, or they may just avoid their kids altogether. And it's obviously a very sad situation. But it's important to know the consequences, again.

Now, the effects are that a child of a negligent parent is very independent because they've kind of had to make their own way over time. However, they're very afraid of being dependent on others, and so they tend to be very emotionally withdrawn. They don't get into relationships with others.

There's generally fear or anxiety attached to their lack of social support because they're all on their own, as well as they generally have an increased level of delinquency later on in life in adolescence and adulthood. And they have a higher incidence of substance abuse among them.

Terms to Know
Authoritarian Parents

Control and evaluate behavior and attitudes of their children; set strict rules with little flexibility.

Authoritative Parents

—Committed, loving and supportive while maintaining firm boundaries; —rational, intelligent, verbal “give-and-take”; —discuss rules and policies with their children.

Permissive Parents

—Less controlling, fewer demands with no clear guidelines for their children, consult with children about decisions, less enforcement of rules, and may use reason instead of direct power.