Parenting styles (part I)

We’ve heard a thousand times about the different parenting styles that are out there, maybe we even encountered first-hand a great parenting hack at our local Starbucks. With so much information out there it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. However, just remember that the most common parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful.

The parenting style you and your partner finally develop plays a big role in determining the kind of environment your child will grow up in. The authoritative style is defined as being warm and responsive, setting clear rules and expectations, being supportive and placing great value in independence encouraging the child to become autonomous. The children whose parents adopt this style tend to have high-academic performance, better self-esteem, good social skills and, according to some studies, lower delinquency rates.

On the other hand, the authoritarian style is characterized by strict rules and their reinforcement, strict discipline, unresponsiveness, high expectations and control through punishment. The children whose parents adopt this style tend to have lower academic performance, lower self-esteem, poor social skills and, according to some studies, may be associated with substance abuse and delinquency.

The permissive style is emotionally warm and responsive, it has few or no rules at all, they’re reluctant to enforce discipline, have trouble saying “no” to their children out of fear of disappointment. The outcome associated for the children includes impulsive behavior, egocentricity, poor self-control, poor social skills and problematic relationships.

The last style is the neglectful one, in which parents are cold and unresponsive, there are no rules, they’re not involved and are indifferent to their children’s needs and wishes. Consequently, the children tend to exhibit impulsive behaviors, low emotional intelligence, substance abuse and delinquency.

Although there are cases and exceptions regarding cultural background and temperament, it comes as no surprise that the authoritative parenting style has the most positive developmental outcomes in children. When thinking about the specific needs for one child (everyone is unique), you can stick to the same parenting style and simply try out different approaches.

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