Humans have come up with different styles of parenting based on experience and wisdom passed down by generations of parents.
Parents can listen to all the parent style advice given by different people, books, doctors, etc., and then they have to eventually come up with a parenting style that works for them and their children.
We all know that a parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. So too for us humans, parents are considered the caretaker of their children.
The parent and child could be biologically related or not. Every species of animal have different ways of parenting. Some of them are caregivers for longer periods of time and others for short periods of time.
The ongoing studies and research done by developmental psychologists, family-focused sociologists, biologists, and neurologists also result in various theories and good practices that they ask the parents to follow in order to help them with parenting.
No two styles can be the same and no two parent-child relation can be the same.
In fact parents could use different styles of parenting for each sibling.
Parenting and parent involvement varies significantly, depending on the phase of growth the child is currently in.
The relation, the dependence, the expectations, everything changes from phase to phase.
Each one of us, whether a parent or not, is aware of at least one style of parenting – the one that our parents used while bringing us up.
We can choose to agree or disagree with that style because we exactly know the advantages and disadvantages of that parenting style.
When we talk about styles of parenting, the most discussed study was conducted by the American Psychologist, Diana Baumrind.
Based on her findings, there are said to be 3 main styles of parenting: Parenting Styles of Baumrind
Authoritarian which is also known as the “Too Hard” Style
In this style of authoritarian parenting, the authoritarian parent is usually harsh, demanding, and rigid, with low responsiveness.
Lots of (not all) abusive parents fall into this category of parenting.
These authoritarian parents are highly demanding and mostly unresponsive in this authoritarian parenting style.
Permissive which is also known as “Too Soft” Style
In this other extreme of parenting styles – permissive parenting style, the parents are very less demanding and highly responsive.
There are hardly any rules and it is more about the child’s demands and responding to them.
Lots of (not all) spoiled children are from this style of parenting.
Authoritative which is also known as “Just Right” Style
In this authoritative parenting style, the authoritative parent is highly demanding and hugely responsive.
The authoritative parents style is about being firm and not rigid.
In this middle-of-the-road parenting style authoritative, there are rules that can be bent depending on the situation.
This was Baumrind’s favorite style of parenting.
In this parenting style, Baumrind has spoken about the two ends of the spectrum and the one in between it.
With changing times, the relationship between parents and children have also changed.
We have moved from large households with many children to smaller families with fewer children.
A great number of people have shifted from low income households to better income households.
With the changing times, the rules of the society have also changed.
Corporal punishment for children is considered inappropriate in many countries today. Children are taught at schools to speak up if they are being subjected to abusive parenting.
In modern times, parental styles vary from those who want to get involved in every decision made for the child, to those who want the child to make decisions and own the consequences.
Somewhere in between are those who try to draw a line between aspects of the child’s life, where the parents will get involved, and those that rather the child to take care of independently.
Parenting styles vary from the one where the parent does everything for the child making the child’s life as easy as possible, to one where the parent wants the child to pave his own way right from childhood.
The former style results in children who are incapable of doing anything on their own and the latter style leaves the kid at the loss of direction.
Parents, in their effort to do the best for their children, sometimes end up overdoing things for the children.
Some others, in an effort to make the child independent, deprives the child of insights and wisdom that comes from experience.
Each style of parenting has a deep impact on the child, and the adult the child grows into.
Hence it is important that the parent makes a wise choice.
Though a midway path is what a lot of parents choose, the style may have to vary depending on the circumstances they face.
For example, a parent who usually lets the child choose the choice of subjects might insist on a particular college or university based on his research and financial capabilities.
Or, a parent who is always deciding for the kid might allow the kid to choose the sport of his choice.
Parenting styles based on love, respect, and trust are always better than ones based on fear.
Fear-based styles are known to drive the child emotionally and eventually physically away from the parent.
Whereas the one based on love, respect, and trust form a bond that can survive a lifetime even if there are ups and downs, misunderstandings, and mistakes.
Views On Parenting
There are different views on parenting. It is well to take note and see what is applicable in each instance.
The perfect parent does not exist, so just be a real one.
Most parents try-hard. They keep the child’s interest in mind. They want to do their best and they always think they are. Some turn out to be lucky and others don’t.
Most people enter parenthood full of fear. Fear of not being able to do justice to the role they have taken up.
But as they learn to trust their instincts, and base each of their decisions on love and logic, they learn to sail through.
Parents learn a lot from their peers. Exchange of views on parenting, what works and what doesn’t is always helpful.
One’s views on parenting can be an amalgamation of how they were raised, what they saw around while growing up, and how much they have read up about the different parenting styles.
Parenting is no doubt, is a skill. A skill that can come naturally or be learnt.
A young parent can be as effective and impactful as a parent of a dozen children. A parent can learn from mistakes and be better skilled with every new child.
Parenting is an all-consuming task that asks for a lot of dedication, love, and patience.
It can be daunting and discouraging at times.
Parenting is pulling through all of the ups and downs, and not giving up hope. The love for the child is what helps them pull through.
Parenting is not easy. It is challenging. Be it an infant, a teen, or a child away at college.
A parent can only do so much.
Every child is here to fulfill his or her destiny and the parents can only facilitate things to the best of their abilities.
Parenting is also filled with love, laughter, hugs, tears of joy, the excitement of the first step, the first word, the first day of school, college, etc., and infinite such moments of joy.
It is about making memories and filling up photo albums with these most beautiful memories.
In the eyes of the child, the parent is invincible.
When parents do their best, keeping the best interest of the child in mind, that parent is the best parent.
There is no other yardstick to measure a parent’s parenting skills.
There are things to be mindful of in terms of the empowerment of youths, should there be a youth at risk. And knowing what is empowerment, and what is the art of empowerment, ties in with the various styles of parenting.
Tips In Parenting
Every parent can give tips in parenting. Some of these tips of parenting that they have implemented, and others that they wish they had.
Here, we will discuss some of them.
Spend Quality Time With The Children
There is no better way to good parenting than to spend quality time with the children. There is no other shortcut. It takes time and effort over and over again for years together.
Give Children The Best To Imitate
Children are excellent imitators. So give them things that are the best to imitate.
No matter what you say, what you do always matters.
Create An Atmosphere of Love, Respect And Optimism
Children who grow up in an atmosphere of love, respect, and optimism, imbibe all of it and thrive to become adults who appreciate love, respect, and positivity.
Let Children Overheard Your Praises About Them To Others
For your own children to improve, let your children overhear when you share wonderful things about them with others.
Children make a big deal of what their parents think about them. They try to become that – what their parents think.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is true in most cases and so it is important for the parent to think and speak well of their children. This holds true for children of all age groups.
Help Develop Confidence
Behind each youngster believing in himself or herself, is a parental guardian who first believed.
The confidence that the child builds by knowing how much the parent trusts him, is immense.
That young child with confidence grows up into an adult, beaming with confidence, to take on the world.
Be Steadfast And Resolute
Be firm, steady, and resolute and teach the child to be the same. It is important that the child learns that it is possible to be resolute without being rude or disrespectful. This is an important trait for the child to develop.
It is important to be consistent while parenting.
It is important that all those involved in parenting are speaking the same language and do not contradict each other.
The child can either be left confused or can take advantage of the situation.
There is a lot of things that the child learns in childhood that stay with him or her throughout his or her life.
A lot of habits are formed in childhood.
Healthy eating, respecting one another, accepting diversity, being responsible for one’s actions, facing the consequences of one’s decisions, not giving up, etc., are habits that are easily formed as a child, and as a young adult while living with parents.
Hence the responsibilities of parent and their ‘parentings‘ are paramount. And the different styles of parenting help support parents in their roles.
Contributors: Kazim Abasali and Deepa Kadavakat