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Affection or discipline? What do children need?

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Key points:

  1. Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all task, as each child is unique, and life is full of unexpected experiences that shape our development.
  2. Various factors such as family dynamics, economic situations, and a child’s personality influence how children react and develop in different situations.
  3. Parenting styles have a significant impact on a child’s behavior, personality, self-esteem, and psychology.
  4. Baumrind’s research suggests that the democratic style, which combines discipline with warmth and responsiveness, is often considered the most effective parenting style for healthy child development.

If there was a parent guide on what to say or how to act in each situation, being a parent would be another daily task, and a very simple one for that matter. However, each person is unique, so you’ll surely realize that what works with one child doesn’t work with another. In addition, life is unexpected and the future impossible to control. We are transformed by the different experiences we live through life. Many of these are good, but there are also negative ones that cannot be avoided, and that have an effect in our human development.

In addition, different factors such as family, economic situation and personality of the child, affect how our children react, act, feel, and think in different scenarios. For parents, sometimes it can be extremely difficult to make decisions about raising their children. In fact, some people say that parenting is one of the most difficult tasks, as there are many factors in play that can’t always be controlled. However, experts have found that parenting styles have a strong impact on the development of a child. According to several studies, parents contribute and help shape a child’s behavior, personality, self-esteem, and psychology. In fact, it has been found that children’s development, either positive or negative, depends in part on the parenting style adopted by their parents.

Psychologist Diana Baumrind has studied the effects of different parenting styles. According to Baumrind, these have two dimensions: responsiveness and control. The four parenting styles are classified according to the low and high of these two dimensions. Baumrind found that children who had been raised according to each of the parenting styles had some characteristics in common.

  • The authoritarian style is based on rigidity, demand, and control, with no signs of affection or response to the needs of the child. These are very demanding parents who raise their kids on firm discipline. Children who are raised according to this style tend to be unhappy, unfriendly, and feel unsafe. On top of that, they have much lower self-esteem than other children.
  • On the other hand, the democratic style is based on discipline, but with flexibility, affection, and response to the needs of the child. Children who are raised with this style tend to be competent, happy, and self-sufficient.
  • The permissive style is based on excessive affection, without discipline or limits. Therefore, these children tend to be dependent, immature, with low self-control, and low academic performance.
  • And finally, the negligent style is based on rejection, lack of discipline and affection. These are parents who are not involved, and don’t respond to the needs of their child. Children who are raised with this style tend to have problems with attachment, with other children, or have few friends.

Baumrind’s model of parenting styles helps us know what children really need for their healthy development. We now know that children need to be disciplined with limits, but at the same time they need warm and affectionate parents. That’s why child development experts recommend the democratic style as the best parenting style. Parents should set boundaries, give affection, and respond to their child’s needs.

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