It might not seem like it, but children are extremely fragile beings. What you say or do to them, how you treat them and behave around them, matters. I can think back to things that were said to me by older people when I was younger, both positive and negative, that have affected me until today. It’s so much deeper than we think.
The smallest things matter, especially when you are young. Now imagine something deep, like the environment in which you were raised. Was it authoritative, permissive, neglectful, or authoritarian? How is it affecting your adulthood? That’s the basis of the Parenting Styles.
In the 1960s, Diana Baumrind noticed that preschoolers exhibited distinctly different types of behaviour. Each type of behaviour was highly correlated to a specific kind of parenting. Baumrind’s theory is that there is a close relationship between types of parenting styles and children’s behaviour, which leads to different child development and outcomes in their lives.
You probably have a friend who, growing up, was living like in a military boot camp. The parents enforced very harsh rules and there was no discussion. In such homes, explanations are rare, and statements like Because I said so are common. These parents are dictatorial and want their children to be quick to do as they say without any hesitation. These parents are not interested in what their children may think about anything and certainly are not allowed to express what they think or feel. They are the ones who believe that children should be seen and not heard. Rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they’re invested in making kids feel sorry for their mistakes. Children who grow up under these conditions end up with rebellious, controlling, submissive or disconnected attributes.
This isn’t to say that rules are not necessary. It’s the approach to these rules that need to be redefined.
On the other hand, there was always that friend whose home was a favourite place to hang out. The parents were super lenient and allowed them to do just about anything they wanted. That’s the permissive parenting style. Such households don’t have rules, and the consequences to the mistakes are not severe. They adopt the attitude of “kids will be kids.” They don’t like to disappoint their children so they go to great lengths to remain on their good side. When you’re a kid you probably admire such houses. However, children of permissive parenting tend to have low self-control, possess egocentric tendencies, and encounter more problems in relationships and social interactions.
Neglectful parents are the uninvolved ones. They give their children a lot of freedom and generally stay out of their way. In other words, they do not parent and guide their children through life. Such parents do not ask their kids about homework and don’t spend too much time with their kids. They could be busy, suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse problems, or maybe they just lack knowledge of childhood development. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing, and parental attention. When this happens, the children learn to raise themselves as an adaptive measure. Children of neglectful parents grow up to be impulsive and cannot self-regulate emotions. They encounter more delinquency and addictions problems. Lastly, they have more mental issues.
This is the ideal parenting style which you may want to adapt for your children. Authoritative parents are reasonable and nurturing and set high, clear expectations. In such a household, there are boundaries but there is also freedom. A lot of effort is put in maintaining a relationship with the parents. There are reasons behind the rules. Such parents validate their children’s feelings, while also making it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge. Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behaviour problems before they start. They use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behaviour, like praise and reward systems.