Knowing your natural parenting style is important so that you can adjust your natural responses to line up with how you want to parent. We are all surprised when what comes out of our mouth is exactly what our mother or father said. If you are like me, I love my mother but there are things I do not want to repeat. So, when I sound like mother – yikes! I saw a sign at a craft show that said, “mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.” Good or bad…what happens is early childhood, stays.
So being aware of how you were parented is key to purpose what type of a parent you want to be. Diana Baumrind, a psychologist published a study on over 100 preschool-age children. She identified four parenting styles. Psychology.About.Com describes these styles well:
“Authoritarian Parenting: In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.
Authoritative Parenting: Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).
Permissive Parenting: Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.
Uninvolved Parenting: An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.”
I’m sure after reading through the descriptions of each parenting style, you identified the style that you were raised with. Most parents are either a permissive parent (in Love and Logic® terms a “helicopter” parent) or an Authoritarian (In Love and Logic® terms a “drill sergeant” parent).
Psychologists agree being an authoritative parent (In Love and Logic® terms “a consultant” parent) is our goal. The reason is simple, an authoritative parent shares control with the child and allows as many natural consequences to impact them. By sharing control through choices and calmness, the child feels full emotionally and learns to own their own problems.
Below are some links from Love and Logic® to help you to share control and hand problems back to your child. By using these two simple tools, you will naturally develop into an authoritative parent and hopefully your child will repeat this empowering parenting style with their children.