Many child psychologists believe parenting style is the most crucial element in children’s physical health and how they view themselves and others and relate to the world around them. The way you praise and discipline them will be with them for the rest of their lives. That’s why adopting a style that nurtures and supports them is essential. Researchers have identified four primary parenting styles.
This is the preferred parenting style, according to experts. Parents taking this approach work hard to create and instill a good relationship with their kids. They set boundaries, enforce rules and dish out consequences for breaking them. But they explain why the rules are important. Researchers say children with authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults.
Did you have a childhood friend whose parents were overly strict? Chances are one or both were authoritarians. This type of parent typically believes in the “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy, also known as corporal punishment. This type of parent usually doesn’t consider a child’s feelings and has zero tolerance for rule-breakers. Psychologists say children raised in this manner are at a high risk for developing self-esteem issues.
Permissive parents often try to be a friend to their children more than a parent. While they may set rules, they usually don’t enforce them or dish out punishment. When they do, they are more likely to reinstate privileges quickly if their child begs or promises to be good. While they love their kids, they don’t put much effort into correcting bad behavior. Experts say children from these households are more likely to struggle at school, have a higher risk for obesity and health problems and have low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem and academic and physical problems can also result in kids whose parents don’t make an effort to be involved in their lives. The uninvolved parent never asks their children about homework or who their friends are and doesn’t prioritize spending time with them. It’s usually not because they don’t love their children. Rather, they may be overwhelmed with debt, work or other issues.
Whatever style you or your co-parent fall under, it’s not impossible to change your habits and work toward an authoritative parenting style. Even if your former spouse’s style differs greatly from yours, the key is to compromise and agree to put your child’s needs first.