Parenthood Styles

date Wed, 16 Jun 2021

A parenting style is indicative of the overall emotional climate in the home.

Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind identified three main parenting styles in early child development: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive.

These parenting styles were later expanded to four to include an uninvolved style. On the one hand, these four styles involve combinations of acceptance and responsiveness, and involve demand and control.

Research has found that parenting style is significantly related to a child’s subsequent mental health and well-being. In particular, authoritative parenting is positively related to mental health and satisfaction with life, and authoritarian parenting is negatively related to these variables. With authoritarian and permissive parenting on opposite sides of the spectrum, most conventional modern models of parenting fall somewhere in between.

Authoritative parenting

Described by Baumrind as the “just right” style, it combines medium level demands on the child and a medium level responsiveness from the parents. Authoritative parents rely on positive reinforcement and infrequent use of punishment. Parents are more aware of a child’s feelings and capabilities and support the development of a child’s autonomy within reasonable limits. There is a give-and-take atmosphere involved in parent-child communication, and both control and support are balanced. Research[vague] shows that this style is more beneficial than the too-hard authoritarian style or the too-soft permissive style. This parenting style results from incapable, successful, and happy children. When practiced without physical punishment, one gets the most favorable results with the least issues in today’s world. These children score higher in terms of competence, mental health, and social development than those raised in permissive, authoritarian, or neglectful homes.

Authoritarian parenting styles

Authoritarian parents are very rigid and strict. High demands are placed on the child, but there is little responsiveness to them. Parents who practice authoritarian-style parenting have a non-negotiable set of rules and expectations strictly enforced and require rigid obedience. When the rules are not followed, punishment is often used to promote and ensure future compliance. There is usually no explanation of punishment except that the child is in trouble for breaking a rule.  This parenting style is strongly associated with corporal punishment, such as spanking. A typical response to a child’s question of authority would be, “because I said so.” This type of parenting is seen more often in working-class families than in the middle class. In 1983, Diana Baumrind found that children raised in an authoritarian-style home were less cheerful, moodier, and more vulnerable to stress. In many cases, these children also demonstrated passive hostility. This parenting style can negatively impact the educational success and career path, while a firm and reassuring parenting style impact positively.

Permissive parenting

Permissive parenting has become a more popular parenting method for middle-class families than working-class families since roughly the end of WWII. In these settings, a child’s freedom and autonomy are highly valued, and parents rely primarily on reasoning and explanation. Parents are undemanding, so there tends to be little if any punishment or explicit rules in this parenting style. These parents say that their children are free from external constraints and tend to be highly responsive to whatever the child wants at the time. Children of permissive parents are generally happy but sometimes show low levels of self-control and self-reliance because they lack structure at home.

Uninvolved parenting

An uninvolved or neglectful parenting style is when parents are often emotionally or physically absent. They have little to no expectation of the child and regularly have no communication. They are not responsive to a child’s needs and have little to no behavioral expectations. If present, they may provide what the child needs for survival with little to no engagement. There is often a large gap between parents and children with this parenting style. Children with little or no communication with their own parents tended to be victimized by other children and may themselves exhibit deviant behavior. Children of uninvolved parents suffer in social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development, and problem behavior.

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