Everyone wants to be a good parent. From the moment we decide to parent and raise a child, we start asking ourselves one of the most important and challenging questions – How do we actually do that?
How should we raise our kids, so they grow up into successful, caring, and responsible adults? How should we parent them so they will feel loved, valued, and supported? Children do not come with an instruction manual, and discovering the best way to raise them takes time and practice.
In the field of psychology, the way we parent our children has always been an area of research. In the 1960s, developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on over 100 pre-schoolers, and using environmental observation, parenting interviews, and other research methods, she identified some important dimensions of parenting. These dimensions included discipline strategies, caring, communication styles, and age-appropriate maturity and self-control expectations.
Based on her findings, Baumrind suggested that most parents display one of three different parenting styles, each having a different influence on children’s behavior. In her study, Baumrind classified parental styles based on how parents respond to children’s needs and their requirements towards their kids.
Let’s look at the three most known parenting styles:
- Authoritarian: This style of upbringing is based on strength and obedience, and is characterized by strictness and distance toward the child. Children know their rights and responsibilities and are not
allowed to go beyond them. Contact with a child is formal, and warmth or concern is rarely shown. Parents have high expectations for their kids and do not focus much on their feelings. The phrase “Because I said so!” is often used.
- Permissive: This parenting style has no expectations, demands, rules, or consequences. It is often referred to as “stress-free parenting.” Children are given a lot of freedom, and parents are inconsistent in adhering to boundaries and rules. Parents tend to act more as friends to their kids; they emphasize open communication but don’t give their kids any directions.
- Authoritative: This style is characterized by respect for the children’s desires and achievement-oriented requirements. It has rules and consequences, but rational arguments back them up. Children are encouraged to talk about their needs and wants, and their voice is included in family discussions. The environment is supportive, and parents replace punishments for misbehavior with natural consequences and conversations. Emphasis is placed on empowerment.
So, why is it important to know my parenting style? Does it really matter if I am more laid-back or strict? Well, research has shown that how we parent our children directly influences the development of their personalities. This is because the kids internalize the messages they constantly receive from their caregivers. These messages then become children’s beliefs that affect how they view themselves and the world.
So, what to do when you are a parent and you notice some negative behaviors in your parenting style? Stay open-minded, invest in parenting books, sign up for a class, or start therapy to discover the roots of these behaviors. Reach out – we are here to support you and your family on this challenging journey!
About Aleksandra Startek:
Aleksandra is currently a Resident in Counseling at Healthy Minds Therapy, actively pursuing her license (LPC). She provides in-person therapy services in our Fredericksburg location as well as via telehealth.
Aleksandra goes beyond “talk therapy” and she will incorporate a variety of different approaches and techniques, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused. Her goal is to create a therapeutic space that feels effective for you and meets your needs and goals. Clients consider her a person-centered counselor as she will focus on your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. To learn more about Aleksandra, visit HERE.