Prior to having a child did you ever think about the type of parent you wanted to be?
I’m sure we all have these dream scenarios of being the perfect parent, but reality unfortunately steps in the way.
I’ve thought a lot about the type of parent I don’t want to be, but researching four of the most common styles has really proved to be helpful from a guidance standpoint.
The four most common parenting types are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved. I’ve touched on each of the four below.
Let me tell you one thing.
If you think you are going to be an authoritarian parent, it’s safe to say that this is going to be an uphill battle.
Because this type of parenting basically means parents set the rules and kids are going to follow them without question.
With this form of parenting it is believed that kids will follow the rules 100% of the time. I know what I was like as a kid and don’t for a second see this as being a realistic form of parenting.
One negative of authoritarian parenting, from my standpoint, is that it really seems to discourage any “coloring outside the lines.” Sure, kids that have been parented this way may follow the rules a bit more than others, but it also means they will likely grow up very risk adverse.
Another common practice of this style is that there tends to be more focus on punishments instead of consequences. You’re essentially ruling with an iron fist.
Here are five signs you might be an authoritarian parent:
- You have little to no patience for misbehavior.
- You try to shame your child so that they behave. Note: this is pretty horrible.
- You are a frequent spanker.
- You think discipline is more important than fun. You may also have the nickname Sergeant Slaughter.
- You (unfortunately) don’t trust your child to make a decision.
I feel like I know a number of kids that were raised with authoritarian parents and they create a pretty predictable behavior pattern. Meaning, at some point in life — normally in the early to late teenage years — the kids just go nuts and act out in just about every way possible. From my standpoint this would be a parental nightmare.
A good argument could be made that authoritative parenting is the most popular type of parent.
In short, this type of parent sets rules and expects their child to follow the rules, but also understand that the rules will be broken.
Whereas an authoritative parent rules more from a punishment perspective, an authoritative parent takes more of a consequence and reward approach.
Research has shown that these types of kids generally grow up happy and successful. They also tend to have the ability to judge risks on their own and grow up to be well rounded adults.
There are a lot of things to like about the authoritative parenting model. Here are five facts about this style that I stumbled on via Parenting Science.
- Warm, responsive parenting promotes secure attachments and protects kids from developing internalizing problems.
- Parents who avoid reprimanding kids for academic mistakes (e.g., “I’m disappointed in you”) may have kids who are more resilient problem-solvers and better learners.
- Talking with kids about thoughts and feelings may strengthen attachment relationships and make kids into better “mind readers.”
- Encouraging independence in kids is linked with more self-reliance, better problem solving, and improved emotional health.
- Authoritative parenting may help prevent aggression and reduce peer problems in preschoolers.
I don’t know about you, but from that list number four really seemed to stand out for me.
This seems like a good baseline parenting style to start with.
I know a number of kids that had this type of parent growing up. It can seem like a good idea at first, but tends to end up doing more harm than good.
Permissive parents essentially take the friend model. They don’t offer much discipline but instead encourage their child to routinely talk to them about their problems and life in general.
This may seem like a good idea at first, but the one extreme caution that comes to mind is that… we are talking about kids here. It’s great to have them like you, but sometimes we simply need to be the parent. Kids are called kids for a reason.
Here are five risks that come along with permissive parenting.
- A lack of guidance can negatively impact problem solving skills.
- This one is pretty interesting. Given the lack of rules, these kids tend to have more problems with obesity. Sometimes it’s good to say know to that extra cookie.
- The lack of goal setting can prove to be a negative for a child’s academic development.
- These kids, in general, can have behavior issues because they don’t know how to deal with their emotions as well as a child that may have had an authoritative parent.
- Studies have shown that this parenting can lend a hand to increased alcohol and drug use and other behavior.
I don’t know about you, but being a 100% permissive parent seems to be a bad idea.
Uninvolved parents… are exactly that.
They, in a way, are like kids themselves.
They don’t take care of their child and have this magical expectation that they will raise themselves.
There is likely some scientific data out their to back up all the negatives around this parent style — that is, if you somehow don’t have the common sense to see that this is a bad idea.
I have some firsthand experience (to be clear, not my parents) with this type of parenting. In this instance there were two kids involved.
Kid one seemed to turn out OK in his early years due to outside family influence. As he got older and family wasn’t as readily available he started to spiral and, unfortunately, never flourished as an adult.
Kid two was expected to be raised by Kid one, and video games. As you might guess, this didn’t turn out so well. He was extremely aggressive in nature, hated rules of any kind, couldn’t express himself and is most certainly not living up to his potential as an adult.
In my opinion, this is a really tragic way to parent a child. You might also label it as neglectful.
My Take on Parenting Styles
I believe that a blend of authoritative and permissive parenting may be the ideal blend. The split would be something like 90/10.
Based on the numbers above, authoritative would be the primary parenting style. There’s a lot of positive data behind this style.
Sprinkling in a little permissive parenting may lend its hand to connecting with the child and creating a more open line of communication. Granted, the key is to not take this too far and having the foresight to know when you need to pivot from style to style.
Thanks for taking the time to read this summary of the four main types of parenting styles.