Why Parenting Style is Important to the Well-Being of Children
What is your parenting style? How does it affect your child?
We wonder why our children behave the way they do, but little do we realise that our parenting style influences their behaviour. Children are vulnerable and impressionable when they are younger. This is when their behaviour will be determined. As they grow into a teenager, they see themselves as independent and that they “know everything”. Nonetheless, this stage too is a critical one when it comes to behaviour. Becoming a teenager is a transitional period, marked by physical, psychological, and cognitive changes caused by biological factors. At this stage of their life, it’s important to boost the youngster’s self-esteem so he/she could be ready for the next stage in life.
Self-esteem refers to the positive and negative evaluation of the self; that’s the degree to which a person views himself/herself as worthwhile and competent. The ability to think, the ability to cope with the basic challenges in life, the belief in one’s right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy and deserving, which permits us to assert our needs & wants, achieve our values and enjoy the benefits of our efforts – all of these are characteristics encompassed by self-esteem. With self-esteem, children have the confidence in what they do and without it, they fear every step they take. It doesn’t matter if they succeed or fail, the most important thing is that they have the courage to get up and try again.
So how can we build the self-esteem of our next generation? This can be brought about by the type of parenting style we use. Your parenting style can influence everything from how much your child weighs to how she/he feels about herself/himself. Consequently, it’s important to make sure that the type of parenting style you use is supporting healthy growth and development. The way you interact with your children and how you discipline them influences them.
Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist, described three types of parenting styles in the 1960s based on parent-child interaction. This was improved upon by other psychologists (Maccoby & Martin) and now, parenting styles are categorised into four types based on the parent’s expectations and responsiveness:
- Authoritative Parenting Style
- Authoritarian Parenting Style
- Permissive Parenting Style
- Neglectful Parenting Style
Authoritative parenting is characterized by high responsiveness and high expectations. Authoritative parents respond to the child’s emotional needs while having high expectations. They set limits and are very consistent with setting boundaries.
Authoritative Parenting Characteristics
- Authoritative parents show warmth and awareness to their children.
- They have balanced expectations and responsiveness.
- They listen to their children and trust them to make their own choices.
- They set clear limits on behaviour.
- They provide reasons as to why this is the way it is, instead of demanding blind obedience.
- They use positive punishment and consistently enforce boundaries.
- They earn their children’s respect.
Children under Authoritative Parenting display these characteristics
- They tend to be happy and cheerful.
- They are independent and rely on themselves.
- They develop good social skills.
- They develop a good self-esteem.
- They have good emotional regulation and self-control.
- They display warmth and cooperation with peers.
- They engage more in school activities and less in violent activities.
- They are more likely to explore new environments with less fear.
- They have better mental health — less depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts.
Authoritarian parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness. Authoritarian parents have very high demands and expectations of their children, but respond very little to their emotional needs. Parents using this style punish their children and offer negative feedback.
Authoritarian Parenting Characteristics
- They do not show warmth or nurturance.
- They demand more and respond less.
- Demand blind obedience and punish children.
- They don’t give reasons to their children or trust them to make their own choice.
- No tolerant of mistakes made by the children.
- They shame children for mistakes.
Children under Authoritarian Parenting display these characteristics
- They tend to be insecure about themselves and their abilities.
- They have poor social skills.
- They develop low self-esteem.
- They display violent behaviour and harshness to their peers.
- They do not have emotional regulation or self-control.
- They fear to explore new things and environments.
- They are more likely to develop mental health problems — depression, anxiety and suicide attempts.
Permissive parenting is a type of parenting style characterized by low expectations and high responsiveness. Permissive parents tend to be very loving, but provide few guidelines and rules. These parents do not expect anything from their children and often seem more like a friend than a parent. Because there are few rules, expectations, and demands, children raised by permissive parents tend to struggle with self-regulation and self-control.
Permissive Parenting Characteristics
- Parents have a few rules, which are inconsistent.
- They are very nurturing and loving towards their children.
- They have the aspects of a friend rather than a parent.
- They set no limits to behaviour and resort to bribery (such as toys, money) to get the children to behave.
- They allow children to do as they like rather than teaching them about their responsibilities.
- Barely invoke any type of punishment.
Children under Permissive Parenting have these characteristics
- They lack achievements in many areas because they were not expected to do anything from their parents.
- They rebel when their needs are not met or when they are told no.
- They tend to show aggression instead of emotional understanding.
- They have no self-regulation or self-control.
- Poor time management and poor social skills.
- They are more likely to be selfish with their peers.
- They have no fear of punishment, so they will bully other kids.
- They are irresponsible for their actions.
- They develop antisocial behaviour.
Neglectful parenting is characterized by low expectations and low responsiveness. Neglectful parents have little emotional involvement with their children. They provide for their children’s basic needs like shelter and food, but they are uninvolved with their children’s lives.
Neglectful Parenting Characteristics
- They are emotionally detached from their children.
- They show little warmth and nurturing towards their children.
- They do not usually supervise their children.
- They have no demands or expectation from their children.
- They do not involve in their children’s lives.
- They are more likely to avoid their children.
Children under Neglectful Parenting display these Characteristics
- They feel neglected and unloved by their parents.
- They learn to provide for themselves always, so they develop a fear of dependence on someone else.
- Since they are ignored by their parents, they become socially anxious and develop antisocial behaviour.
- They show little interest in academic performance because nobody is expecting them to achieve anything.
- They get bullied by other children.
The Most Effective Style
Researchers have identified that the healthiest and the most effective parenting style is the Authoritative Parenting Style, as this type of parenting balances expectations & responsiveness. Authoritative parents are reasonable without being forceful, communicate love & warmth, set limits and discipline the child when necessary, all the while responding to the child’s needs.
If you are looking for help, whether for yourself or a loved one, our psychologists can assist in exploring underlying issues through therapy. Please visit our practitioners’ page to find out more, or call (03) 9820-5577 for an appointment or to make enquiries.
Psychologists at the Centre specialised in Youth & Child Psychology
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