Parenting is certainly one of the most important and challenging responsibilities that anyone can have. However, as a public health issue, it is still not given the kind of recognition and support that it needs in society. It is a large variable that can be associated with childhood illnesses and accidents, juvenile crime, underachievement, unemployability, child abuse and mental illness. At the same time, if done right, the outcome is that of a well-balanced individual who’s as nurturing as his or her parents and a responsible citizen who’s driven to contribute to society and tries to make it a better place.
Parenting is simply the process of raising a child and supporting as well as looking after the child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development from the stage of infancy to adulthood. There are many delicate processes involved in parenting which require a lot of skill and sensitivity. Your parenting has the capacity to both positively and negatively impact your child. The aim is to expand the positive impact as much as possible and eliminate the negative impact that could occur unintentionally.
It is difficult for developmental psychologists to find direct relationships between the specific actions of parents and the behavioural patterns and personalities of children. And then again, two children from very different backgrounds and parents who have contrasting parenting styles can grow up to be quite similar in their personalities and tendencies. At the same time, siblings often have starkly different personalities and temperaments.
However, certain linkages between parenting styles and their effect on children is found in the studies. These effects can be long term and manifest during adulthood as well. A good parenting style can lead to a positive self-esteem and self-competence of the child. Development in many areas can be encouraged by good parenting. The effects of various parenting styles are discussed at length below.
Authoritative parenting style involves the characteristics of unconditional warmth, and responsiveness. The parent sets clear boundaries and rules for the child so that they can’t be misinterpreted and are well understood by the child. This allows for a good balance between discipline and affection for the child which enables them to develop in all aspects. Authoritative parents have high expectations from their children. This encourages the child to be more responsible, more ambitious and work hard at school, and otherwise. Authoritative parents also display supportiveness, and at the same time value their child’s independence early on in their development. As a result, the child develops a good self-esteem, better social skills, and is less likely to develop a mental illness. Cases of delinquencies of children are less likely to be reported from the households where authoritative parenting style is practiced.
Authoritarian parenting involves much more strictness and sternness on the part of the parents. They are unresponsive to the child’s emotional and social needs and often are emotionally unavailable. While authoritarian parents do set high expectations for their children, they also expect blind obedience on the part of the child which is anything but healthy. This results in poor academic performance, poorer social and emotional skills, higher chance of the development of a mental illness, low self esteem, drug abuse, etc.
Permissive parenting style involves a warm and responsive relationship between the parents and the child. However, due to the fact that lesser or no rules are set, and the parents are lenient and indulgent. As a result,the child is more likely to have poor social and emotional skills, display impulsivity and egocentricity in his or her behaviour, and have a problematic relationship with his or her parents as well as most other individuals in later life.
Neglectful parenting style is the worst possible approach any parent can adopt for parenting as it involves an entirely cold, unresponsive, indifferent and uninvolved behaviour on part of the parent. Moreover, no rules are set. While they do provide for their basic needs like a home and food they are not really involved in their lives with very little emotional involvement with their children’s lives. They are more likely to get involved in delinquent and impulsive behaviour and drug/alcohol abuse.
Good parents pay attention and cater to their child’s health and safety needs, emotional needs, social needs, and intellectual curiosity for learning new things. They also promote the development in these areas.
A simple way to do this is to have a balance between affectionate, warm behaviour and setting clear restrictions and rules which you must be strict about to an extent. The best parenting style is one which meets all the child’s developmental needs for attachment ( acceptance, stability, safety, nurterence), to express feelings and needs, need to build identity through competence and autonomy, the understanding of limits and boundaries and lastly to encourage play and spontaneity. Good parents will make mistakes but the key characteristic of a good parent, they will repair.
Poor parenting skills can be seen in the two contrasting tendencies of parents. Some parents are overly involved in their child’s activities, are overprotective and do not allow for the space to grow for their child. They may be too strict, and stern and be a little cold. Another tendency that parents often have is being too uninvolved, too lenient, and too indifferent to their children. Both the authoritarian and neglectful parenting styles lead to similar consequences.
Permissive parenting is harmful, too, but may not lead to delinquency. In the end, parents do have to let their children explore their independence and failures and learn from their own experiences.
At the same time, it is simply unhealthy and unacceptable to avoid and overlook any of your child’s concerns and problematic behaviors just because it is uncomfortable for the parents..
Getting professional help for learning how to parent and navigating through this beautiful yet challenging and demanding journey is a sureshot way that you can adopt to become a better parent and bring out the best in your child. Through counselling, you learn better skills and techniques that are proven to help you raise your child into becoming a well-adjusted and successful individual. We believe in a systemic approach to create harmony in your parenting relationship and a big part of that is ensuring that children feel good, as only then can they behave well.
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