What kind of parent are you? Now that you are all grown up, you know all too well the effects parenting can have on children. And if you are not too worried about your parenting strategy then that probably means that you had some pretty good parents. Sadly, the fact that you had great parents doesn’t likely mean that you will use a parenting style that will benefit your kids the most.
Most of us don’t give parenthood styles much thought until it becomes time for you to start raising your own little ones. It is mostly adults who lived troublesome lives and now face the consequences of this type of upbringing that ponder on this subject the most.
We all want what is best for our kids and want them to enjoy their short lives as a youth because of how tough adulthood can be. The best thing you can do for your child is not to bestow him or her with gifts, toys, or money. The best thing you can do for your little one is to raise them with parenting strategies that will turn them into responsible, caring, and happy adults when they are all grown up.
What is a Parenting Style?
The parenting styles that are referred to in psychology were first developed by psychologist Diana Baumrind who studied at the University of California in the 1960s. She worked along with Maccoby and Martin to develop her theories and these theories have proven to be instrumental when it comes to identifying psychological parenting issues.
Baumrind developed her strategy after noticing a significant difference in preschoolers. There clearly were main types of behaviours in children and these behaviours were directly linked to their upbringing and especially to the way they were raised.
After conducting research, she identified three different parenting strategies, authoritative parenting, disciplinarian parenting, and permissive parenting. This study was then extended to include a fourth parenting strategy, the neglectful or uninvolved parenting strategies.
In short, your parenting strategies are the type of strategies or the method you use to raise your children.
What Kind of Parent are You?
If you have a little one running about then you are likely one of these four parent types. But which one are you? Before you can identify your strategy, you must first learn more about the main types and their differences.
What are the 4 Types of Parenting Styles?
It is important for new parents to learn more about the 4 parenting strategies or methods there are, because these styles can have a huge impact on the way kids will one day behave. Some parenting styles can even be destructive to children and may cause various mental and social problems.
If you want to know what type of parent you are, then it is important to carefully read through the characteristics we are now going to list with the main parenting strategies there are.
The Authoritative Parent
Authoritative parents are parents who have high hopes and big dreams for their children. These parents are also attentive, warm, and responsive. Authoritative parents usually have clear rules and boundaries for their kids and they offer children valid explanations for these boundaries.
Characteristics of Authoritative Parents
An easy way to see if you are an authoritative parent is by going through our list of characteristics of these parents. If you see yourself in most of these characteristics then you are indeed an authoritative parent:
- You have high expectations for your children and want them to achieve in terms of education, career, and relationships when they reach maturity.
- You set clear rules and boundaries for your children and guide them to help them stick to these boundaries.
- You provide explanations and reasons for your actions or for the boundaries that are put in place for your kids.
- You use reasoned disciplinary methods and also often negotiate with them in order to achieve a better outcome in the future.
- You are affectionate towards your children and often spend time engaging and playing with them.
- You encourage your children to be independent by allowing them to make some of the decisions for themselves.
- You encourage responsibility by giving your children certain chores and responsibilities to tend to.
- You invest a lot of time and effort to help your child perform better on an academic level.
This parenting style is often referred to as a democratic parenting strategy because children are often engaged in decision making and their desires, likes, and wishes are often considered for events, outings, and home life.
Effects of Authoritative Parenting on Children
Every parenting strategy has a different effect on your child and all of these can have some positive and negative side effects on children. Here is a quick look at the common outcomes of children who grow up in an authoritative parenting environment.
- These children perform well on an academic level.
- These children usually have more positive self-esteem.
- They have better social skills and make friends easily or socialize easily.
- Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety aren’t as likely to arise.
- These children usually don’t show delinquency.
- They usually are more independent and make their own decisions quicker and easier.
The Disciplinarian Parenting Style
Disciplinarian parents are a lot like authoritative parents but there are quite a few differences. Disciplinarian parents also have high standards for their children. But unlike Authoritative parents, they require blind obedience and are not always eager to explain or reason with their children.
They communicate with children through orders but are not likely to explain the rules that are put in place. When children question rules, these questions are considered backtalk. Disciplinarian parents are very strict when it comes to punishment and they use corporal punishment strategies to control their children.
While these parents also want what is best for their kids, they can be unresponsive. These parents tend to be distant and are not eager to show compassion or emotion. They use a tough-love approach to strengthen kids.
Characteristics of Disciplinarian Parents
The easiest way to see if you are a disciplinarian is by reading through the characteristics that these parents usually have. Here is a quick look at the characteristics of disciplinarian parents:
- You tend to be unresponsive when your child is looking for attention or wanting something that isn’t part of your normal routine.
- You have strict rules set in place and are quick to discipline when these rules are not followed.
- The punishments you decide on tend to be quite harsh compared to the punishment of other parents.
- You have high expectations for your child when it comes to academic performance and behaviour.
- You expect your child to be obedient and to never question your rules or punishments.
- You are less affectionate and tend to avoid social contact or interaction.
Effects of Disciplinarian Parenting on Children
Children with disciplinarian parents usually tend to show the following social and behavioural effects:
- These children appear insecure.
- They are usually less independent and seem afraid to make decisions.
- They can have weak or even low self-esteem and tend to have poor social skills.
- They show more behavioural problems.
- They can perform poorly on an academic level.
- They are more prone to mental health problems.
- These children are more likely to struggle with drug abuse.
- They can work relentlessly but don’t tend to be happy about their position.
The Permissive Parenting Style
Permissive parents are very common in our modern-day society for one simple reason, both parents work and there isn’t a lot of time to spend with children. To make up for the loss of time and attention, parents often indulge their kids by giving in to their every whim.
Permissive parents usually don’t have many rules or boundaries and they are not very eager to enforce those few rules that are in place. These parents are also warm and indulgent. They hardly ever say no to their kids because they do not want to disappoint them.
Characteristics of Permissive Parents
Most permissive parents believe that they are fantastic parents because their children get so much in life. Here is a quick look at the main characteristics that could tell you if you are such a parent.
- You are very warm, affectionate, and very responsive every time their children want to interact.
- There are very few rules in your home and you hardly ever react when the rules that are in place are broken.
- You are very lenient when it comes to activities, chores, and rules.
- You like to spoil your child with gifts and often give in to their demands.
- You like to spend a lot of time with your children and often put your own social life aside.
Effects of Permissive Parenting on Children
Permissive parents think that they are giving their children a much better upbringing than they had but this parenting style has an opposite effect on your child’s future. Here is a quick look at the most common behavioural outcome of children raised in this type of environment:
- These children cannot follow rules.
- They have poor self-control.
- These children often have difficulties in relationships and struggle to interact socially.
- They typically cannot tend to their responsibilities.
The Uninvolved Parenting Style
Uninvolved or neglectful parents have also become more common in our modern-day and time. This is mostly because there are so many distractions for the modern adult. They have work responsibilities to tend to, entertainment such as movies and games can be very addictive, and social media and the internet can take huge chunks of time out of their daily lives.
Uninvolved parents usually do not see that they are being neglectful. These parents do not set firm boundaries and they do not have high standards for their children. Uninvolved parents often struggle with mental health conditions such as depression, physical abuse and they are indifferent when it comes to their children’s physical and emotional needs.
Characteristics of Uninvolved Parents
If you are an uninvolved or neglectful parent then the following characteristics will apply to you:
- You do not have rules in place for your children.
- You don’t really care or act when children break the rules.
- You are indifferent about the academic choices your child makes or the hobbies they enjoy.
- You tend to be cold towards them and are not particularly affectionate.
- You tend to be distracted and are often unresponsive when your child is seeking attention.
Effects of Uninvolved Parenting on Children
This type of parenting strategies can have the most devastating effect on a child’s future. These children often struggle with the following behavioural problems:
- These children tend to be impulsive because they are used to following their own head without any consequences.
- They show signs of delinquency and may even break toys that are precious to them.
- They are vulnerable to addictions.
- They tend to suffer from mental health conditions.
- These children are also prone to depression and suicide.
What is the Best Parenting Style?
The Authoritative style is the best parenting strategy because it results in the fewest behavioural problems and these children are typically much more acceptable in modern society.
Children who are raised using this style are usually positive, social and they have good self-confidence. These kids are also taught from an early age to abide by rules which keep them out of trouble as adults. They are also better off compared to Disciplinarian kids because they learn to negotiate early on and they know much more about the world because they have always been able to ask questions.
These are the type of children who are able to take the lead, get along socially, stay within legal limits and they are usually the ones who get along much better with other people.
Different Factors that Affect the Parenting Strategy Outcome
While parenting strategies can have a huge impact on a child’s behaviour, there are several other elements that could affect the way your child behaves. Here is a quick look at the other elements that could affect the way a child behaves:
Ethical and Cultural Differences
In some cultures, certain parenting strategies do not always have the best outcome. Cultural differences often make it hard for parents to follow a specific strategy and this can have negative results on children’s academic performance.
For some cultures, other elements like peer support are much more effective than the type of strategy the parent’s use.
Children can have all sorts of temperaments and some children just don’t respond well to certain treatments.
Sensitive children, for example, can make it very difficult for parents to adopt the Authoritative style and may cause them to switch over to Disciplinarian strategies just to avoid outbursts when a child is unable to negotiate a positive outcome.
Aggressive children can also be too dominating when it comes to Authoritative strategies and only stick to the rules when they are raised using Disciplinarian strategies.
Financial Limitations or Wealth
Finances can also have a huge impact on a child’s behaviour. Children who grow up in poverty-stricken households can become very self-conscious even though their parents might want to adopt the Authoritative style simply because parents do not have the means to allow for negotiation.
Financial limitations might also force parents to be uninvolved because they might never be around since both need to work to keep the household going. Children raised with extreme wealth may feel neglected because their parents are so busy maintaining their own businesses.
Mental Health Conditions
Many children are born with mental health conditions that are not linked to the parents raising strategies. Conditions such as depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder can be genetic and can also have a huge impact on the behaviours a child shows no matter how hard a guardian tries.
What is Considered a Toxic Parent?
It can be hard to identify a toxic parent because toxic personalities can show up in any of these strategies. Toxic parents may seem caring and engaging and might stick to all the right strategies but they can still give off a toxic effect. Here is a quick look at the main characteristics of toxic parenting:
- These parents always place their feelings above the needs or feelings of their children.
- These parents cannot see a child’s boundaries. They believe that they have a right to stomp over a child’s boundaries because they own their home and are responsible for the child. Examples can include prying on a child’s private life, bursting into a room whenever they like to, or listening into conversations.
- These parents love to use a child’s guilt to control the way their children behave or to force them to do certain things.
- Toxic parents demand a child’s attention and instant gratification. They tend to feel threatened when their control over a child starts to slip.
- These parents usually don’t talk to or listen to their kids. Instead, they tend to talk ‘at’ their children.
- One of the worst traits of a toxic parent is their way of taking love and affection away when a child doesn’t act the way they want them to.
- Toxic parents can also be overly critical. Instead of guiding and helping a child reach a goal, they can become judgmental when a child doesn’t meet the desires or dreams the parent has in place for them.
- Some parents can become jealous of their children’s achievements and might start to make comments to break down a child’s self-esteem.
- These parents often hold a child responsible for their happiness and achievements. They might force a child to choose between them and another parent or they might feign sadness and disappointment when a child doesn’t choose the academic direction or sports they want them to do.
- Children of these parents are often afraid of them. They might be afraid of disappointing a parent, that a parent might retract their love and affection, or they can be afraid that their parents might resolve to self-harm should they not act in the desired manner.
- Extremely toxic parents are also the ones who resort to physical, sexual, and mental abuse.
Can You Change Your Parenting Style?
Changing parenting styles isn’t easy because it involves changing your lifestyle. Many everyday activities will need to be amended. For example, if you are an unresponsive parent then you might need to start putting away your phone so you can be more alert and engaged.
If you are a disciplinarian parent, you might need to tone down your punishments for your child and become more open-minded, or at the very least, learn to communicate better so you can explain to your child why you have certain rules in place.
It might be difficult to change your parenting strategies but it is not impossible. To become the kind of parent you truly want to be, you can start by reading modern parenting books on Authoritative styles, set yourself and children clear rules and you can undergo parenting workshops.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Everyone makes mistakes. The only thing that separates you from toxic parents and that might keep you on track of the strategy you want to follow is to keep trying.
You will fail several times when it comes to implementing your strategy. You will also make a great many mistakes and even the best parents get bad days where they become neglectful.
But in the end, it is all about your will to keep trying. Don’t give up. Get up each day, set your focus on your strategies, and keep trying to reach your goals. Parenting is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life.