Parenting Styles

As everyone knows, parenting is a crap shoot at best and regardless of philosophy, you are bound to screw up somewhere along the line. On the rare occasion I run into a family where the parents (from the out side looking in) have raised all their children perfectly, I ask them, “How did you do it?” and inevitably they say with a shrug, “Lucky I guess” but it is never just luck. There is a reason behind why their kids turn out well. Luck undoubtedly has a part in it but there are a number of other variables which come into play one of which is parenting style.

We all have our own style and the social scientists out there have labeled four distinct parenting styles from which to choose. Although scientists like to pigeonhole things I personally think we (as parents) tend to dabble in all four, one of which is our foundation and the others come into the picture as the situation allows.

Below is a bit of a description of each of these styles as first categorized by [[Diana Baumrind]] a developmental psychologist who’s pioneering work in the 1940’s – 1960’s, laid the ground work for a flood of parenting gurus which followed in the decades after and even today.   I have also thrown in a fourth (neglectful) to round out a complete set of parenting styles. See if you can figure out which one Parenting Old School subscribes to, after which you can take the parenting style quiz to see what style your parenting falls under.

Authoritarian – This is the classic no nonsense do as I say, not as I do parenting style. “Control” is the key word with this style, where kids are expected to obey and obey immediately. Rules are the corner stone of this parenting style and parents enforce them with fear and intimidation. (Gods hand as it were)
Consequences are followed through upon without emotion or consideration of extenuating circumstances. A rule is broken then you must pay. This type of parent is seen as cold and unfeeling but this does not mean the parent(s) do not love their child, they just operate in a rigid world that does not allow for warm fuzzy’s.

Authoritative – This is the middle ground of parenting. You are in charge but the kids feel empowered because you allow some latitude in their behavior and decision making. In this style you would still enforce rules and say “NO!” but you would explain why you are saying “NO!” You would take into consideration extenuating circumstances and discuss with your child the importance of following the rules. You would provide your child with choices which you ultimately control but it gives the illusion that your child has made their own decision. This type of parent is seen as warm and considerate.

Permissive – This parenting style is perhaps the most common in today’s what’s in it for me world. It is the “Little Prince or Princess” method of parenting, where children can do no wrong and there is little if any boundaries or expectations in behavior. The household is not run by the adults but by the children. Decisions are based on the children’s wants and what the child wants the child gets. This type of parent is seen as being warm and accepting but flaky. At times this parenting style can be interpreted as being Neglectful because the parent has so little control.

Neglectful – This parenting style is rare and I have never seen it without extenuating circumstances which have dictated the condition of neglect. This type of parent tends to be detached from their child and sets little if any rules. Basic needs may or may not be met and the children will have to fend for themselves. Interesting enough however, some of the most fantastic kids I have ever met have come from this type of situation. In these cases they had to take on the adult role in the family and as a result they acted as such. With this said however, this is not the way to raise a child.

If you haven’t already guessed it, Parenting Old School is rooted in Authoritarian parenting style with definite Authoritative leanings. I do not believe parents need to explain every decision they make to their child. I should not have to make sure that my kids have a set of choices and yes they do have to follow the rules without question. This is all done warmly and lovingly (usually) and on occasion I will involve my kids in decision making but not because they want to but because I feel that it will be beneficial to them in doing so.

Parenting is an art form. A balance between right and wrong, ethical and unethical, beauty and blunder but it is perhaps the most rewarding task you can be charged with.