You might not think too much about your parenting style – it’s just how you do things, and it works well for you. But actually, psychologists have discovered that your child’s development is affected partly by you.
Research has found clear links between specific parenting styles and the behaviors of children as they grow up. These behaviors might even continue on to adulthood.
Here are a few of the most common parenting styles, and how they might affect child development:
The strict, authoritarian parenting approach is where parents lay out a set of non-negotiable rules for the child to follow. If the child doesn’t stick to these rules exactly, they’ll probably be punished. These high demands may lead a child to display obedience and proficiency, but at a cost: they’re usually far less confident, might struggle socially, and may deal with self-esteem issues.
As the name suggests, the authoritative parenting approach is fairly similar to the authoritarian approach, but tends to be a little more relaxed. Parents will still lay out a set of rules to be followed, but will be less punishing if a child breaks those rules at any point. Generally, children who are brought up with this style of parenting are the happiest and most capable in their development, and have the highest chance of success.
The indulgent approach
Parents who opt for the indulgent approach are most likely to ask very little of their child, and will set very few ground rules for the child to follow. Their expectations of their child’s behavior may be fairly low, and they’ll be more lenient in order to avoid confrontation. This style of parenting approach will likely lead to poor child development, and a child may experience lower levels of happiness and struggle with discipline at school.
The neglectful approach
The final parenting style that psychologists have identified is the neglectful approach. This is an uninvolved style of parenting where the parent and the child may communicate very little with one another. The parent may not set up very many rules at all, if any, and will, for the most part, detach themselves from their child’s upbringing. This will most likely cause the child to have very little self-control, and a much slower development than their peers.
Which parenting style is the best?
It’s fairly obvious that the authoritative approach is the most effective style of parenting in terms of the best child development.
Children need rules and boundaries set up to teach them a basic understanding of discipline, but getting the balance right is key to a child’s developmental success. Go in too heavy with the regulation and you risk affecting your child’s self-esteem, while being too passive may hinder your child’s gradual maturity.
Don’t be afraid to seek specialist help if you’re unsure about the best way to bring up your child. Parenting isn’t easy, and there’s support out there that’s designed to make your job more manageable.