6 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments
Have you ever wondered which parenting style is best?
If you walk into the parenting section of any bookstore you’re bound to find a multiple of books with authors claiming they have the answer to best parenting. From researchers to mums to famous people – everyone seems to be an expert in parenting. Parenting advice comes in all shapes and sizes. No-wonder parents are so confused about which parenting style is best to achieve peace and harmony at home.
The developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind (and later Maccoby and Martin) spent years researching parenting styles. They found the most commonly used parenting styles and deciphered which parenting style is best. The categorized parenting into four broad parenting styles:
The Four Parenting Styles
- Authoritarian parenting – placing demands, but low responsiveness
- Authoritative parenting – placing high demands and expectations
- Permissive parenting – placing low demands and responsiveness
- Neglectful or Uninvolved parenting
So which parenting style is best?
Over time the researchers concluded that ‘Authoritative’ parenting was the most highly recommended.
What is Authoritative Parenting?
Authoritative parenting combines warmth, sensitivity and clear boundaries. It has been found to produce the most positive results academically and emotionally in children.
Authoritative is different to Authoritarian parenting which is rigid and creates a demanding environment for children. In contrast, parents who engage in Authoritative parenting are observed to be in control. They also parent with the best interest of their children in mind. Authoritative parenting centers on setting limits, reasoning with children, and being responsive to their emotional needs.
Authoritative parenting sets high standards for children. However, these standards are coupled with empathy, respect and are nurturing. Authoritative parents are supportive to children’s needs, clear on their expectations and parent consistently.
Examples of Authoritative Parenting
Meal times are usually the place where parenting styles are put to the test. Fussy, messy and distracted eaters can push parents buttons. The reactions parents have towards a child’s refusal to eat, highlights their parenting style very clearly.
- The Authoritarian parent is likely to get angry and demand the child sit there until the meal is finished.
- The permissive parent is likely to make something else the child prefers.
- The Authoritative parent is likely to discuss why the child does not want to eat and the reasons why it’s important to eat in that moment
- The Neglectful parent is likely to ignore the child’s demands completely or provide a meal that is unsuitable in the first place.
Benefits of the Authoritative Parenting Style
There are a range of benefits to choosing the Authoritative parenting style for both your child. Research shows this style tends to produce:
- Secure attachment – helping a child to feel secure, understood, and calm
- Improved academic performance
- Reduced anxiety and increased self confidence
Steps to introducing an Authoritative parenting style
There will be times when you notice yourself slipping back into your old parenting habits. However, with time and commitment you will start to see the benefits of this parenting style.
It’s very important to begin by ensuring that you have worked on your own self-esteem and self confidence. Parenting styles are highly influenced by how you feel about yourself, particularly if you are suffering from low self-esteem. You can work on yourself at the same time as introducing a new parenting style. Make sure to make yourself a priority too.
Authoritative Parenting steps:
- Decide on your family’s clear boundaries and make sure you discuss these prior to enforcing rules around them
- Ensure the rules are fair and everyone understands the consequences that may happen as a result of behaviour (particularly older children)
- Be consistent – don’t bend the rules because you’re tired, overwhelmed or because you feel bad
- Don’t dismiss your child’s voice – listen and take on board your child’s perspective and explanations of behaviour
- Be flexible and adaptive (ie if your child has a good reason for bending a rule, take this into consideration when assessing the consequences of the behaviour)
- Encourage independence in a manner that is healthy and safe for your child
At the end of the day, you can decide which parenting style is best for you. With each parenting style you have the flexibility to intruduce rules and boundaries that suit you.
The Authoritative parenting style highlights the significant benefits for your child. However, you can decide on the boundaries you set, the rules you follow and the manner in which you implement these rules. Be consistent, be warm and trust in your decisions to produce the best outcome for your child.