Your parenting style is likely to impact the way your child grows up. Being responsive to your children, and at the same time, setting clear rules and limits, is crucial for you as a parent. Based on this, four main styles of parenting have been identified:
- “Just do it or else” – Some parents adopt a highly authoritarian, dictatorial style. They expect children to obey orders without questioning. Rules are well defined in such households and breaking them usually invites punishment. Such a system is typical of societies where little change is expected and deviance from normal behavior can be costly such as a rural or agrarian society.
- “A no means a no” – Some parents are firm, assertive, and authoritative without being authoritarian. They set clear rules, and are firm about discipline without using harsh punishment. Children in such homes are expected to be socially responsible.
- “Do anything you want” – Parents with this style believe in the permissive or indulgent approach. They do not demand responsible behavior and avoid confrontation with their children. Several parents in the 50s and 60s adopted this style.
- “I don’t care what you do” – Few parents remain uninvolved in their children’s lives, which in few cases, borders on neglect.
Typically, most parents are variations or combinations of the above four styles.
There is no “right” or “wrong” parenting style though we all have prejudices on what we think works best based on our own experience and values. Research, however, has shown the effects of various parenting styles on children:
- Children that have grown up in authoritarian settings, tend to show average performance in school but lack spontaneity, effective social skills, and self-confidence.
- Children who are brought up by authoritative parents, grow up to become more responsible. They easily adjust to situations that demand cooperation.
- Children with permissive parents tend to be more creative but some research indicates they may develop behavioral problems as they grow up because they do not accept responsibility.
- Children with uninvolved parents perform poorly at school.