Long holiday is with us again. Our children are soon joining us at home to relax and even prepare for the next class or even colleges. It is a time when we as parents are expected to undertake our parenting roles seriously hence complementing the good work done by our teachers. Are we ready and what type of parenting style would you be employing to ensure that we mold these souls into future responsible and reliable citizens?
We are in an era where most of the parents complain about their children’s behavior. Kids are seen as difficult, irresponsible, aloof, indifferent, looking for quick fixes and even cunning. In other words, they are hard to be understood even though we stay with them in the same houses, homes, apartments, institutions etc.
This scenario begs the question on whether these behaviors have anything do with the way the parents do up bring their children into adulthood.
Development psychologists like Baumrind, Maccoby, Martin and Eleanor in 1960s faced with a similar challenge, conducted a study on different parenting styles to find how they could contribute to current and future behaviors. Baumrind identified some important dimensions of parenting which included disciplinary strategies, warmth and nurturing, communication styles and expectations of maturity and control.
For her, majority of the parents display three different parenting styles namely: Authoritarian, Authoritative and Permissive. Maccoby came up with a fourth one called Uninvolved parenting style.
This piece is to guide you as a parent on what percentage you contribute towards your child’s mannerisms.
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The authoritarian style requires the child to follow strict rules failure to which harsh punishment is meted. The parents do not explain the reasons behind the rules, operates on a ‘because I said so’ environment. The parents tend to be domineering and dictatorial and prescribe to the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ school of thought.
The authoritative parenting style also establishes rules and guidelines. The difference is that they are more democratic. They listen to their children, provide warmth, feedback and provide adequate support. They nurture and forgive when mistakes occur. They are supportive rather than punitive.
The permissive style of parenting is indulgent and parents have few demands to make of their children. They rarely discipline as they have little expectations of maturity and self-control. They are lenient, non-traditional and avoid confrontations.
The uninvolved style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and very little communication. These parents fulfill the child’s basic needs; food, clothing and shelter but are generally detached from the child’s life. No guidance, structure, rules and support is given to the child.
These four styles impact child differently. Authoritarian style could produce an obedient and proficient child but low in happiness, social competence and self-esteem while an Authoritative style could lead to happiness, capable and most likely to be successful child. Permissive style could mould a child with social anxiety due to problems fitting in and one who could have a problem with authority. The last which is Uninvolved, is lowest across all life domains, lacks self-control, low self-esteem and drive towards self-improvement.
The big question now is, where do you belong? Are you an authoritarian, authoritative, permissive or uninvolved parent? ‘Could you have contributed to your child’s behavior? Do you see your action or inaction in what you cherish or condemn in your child’s character? Studies shows that authoritative parents are the best as they are reasonable, fair, just, provide rules as well as explanations for their rules which in turn are internalized by the children.