Lately, there’s been lots of talk about how the French parent their children. A few months back, we were talking about Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom and how she parented her children. Parenting books take up more room on the shelves at the book store than at any time in our history. What’s a parent to do?
There are 4 major styles of parenting: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive and Uninvolved. All four have their pros and cons, and most people blend two of them together, rather than stick to one type all the time. In addition, we move between styles often depending on the personality and temperament of our children. Remember, there is no ONE right way to parent, and each person needs to choose what style works best for them:
1.Authoritarian is a parenting style in which the parent sets strict rules that must be followed verbatim. Authoritarian parents are very demanding, and if the children do not follow the rules they are usually subjected to some form of punishment.
2.Authoritative is another parenting style where strict rules are established by parents that must be followed by the children. The difference between this style of parenting and authoritarian is that the parents listen to what the children have to say, and they explain the reasoning behind the rules.
3.Permissive parents employ few rules and expectations on their children. They are very lenient with their children. The children of these parents are not punished because there are no expectations by the parent as to how the child should behave. However, these parents are very nurturing and caring towards their children.
4.Uninvolved parents usually provide for the child’s basic needs, but do not do much above that. Uninvolved parents have few demands of their children and are basically detached. There is little nurturing and communication between parent and child.
When a parent can step back and truly take an honest look at how they are parenting their children, it might aid in tackling problem behaviors in the child. For example, an Uninvolved parent may have children who lack motivation and confidence. These children might be withdrawn. Permissive parents are generally very warm and nurturing, but their children may be impulsive and willful.
Life stressors and difficult circumstances in our lives can nudge us into a different parenting style as well. It’s very easy to slip into a style, and then feel like the task of changing your style is overwhelming, or impossible.
The most optimal style of parenting is the Authoritative one, in which there are strong boundaries, rules are meant to be followed, and children are expected to learn independence. When children break the rules or become disrespectful, the child is treated with respect, and will likely hear the reasoning behind the rule, but consequences for misbehavior are in place.
The Authoritative style can also be the most challenging, because it requires thought, persistence and determination.
If you feel like your parenting style isn’t working, it’s never too late to make some changes. We all get lost from time to time on the road map of life, and it’s never a bad idea to pull over and ask for directions. Consider these questions when evaluating your parenting:
·What type of adult am I creating?
·Do my children run the household, or do we work together as a team?
·Is there an atmosphere of genuine love and respect in our home?
·Do I feel good about our family life and my choices?
·Am I communicating and connecting with my child?
If your answers lead you to believe it’s time for a change, don’t be afraid – take charge and take control of your own learning. There are so many ways to try out a new method – by reading a book, taking an online course, checking out a local parenting class, or even talking with trusted friends.
This is important work we are doing here – and 10 or 15 years from now – maybe sooner – we’ll be glad we took the time to be the best parents we can be. If we make mistakes, we brush ourselves off, stand up tall and tackle the next day. And just like we tell our children, mistakes happen, and are usually our most painful, but effective teachers.