Sachin is 31 years old and was raised by parents who were extremely affectionate towards him. However, everyday discipline was neglected. Growing up, Sachin would sulk if he did not get his own way and often displayed non-interactive and disruptive behavior, caring very little for others' feelings. The lack of parental involvement in nurturing discipline and responsibility meant that he did poorly at school and struggled through college years as well. Even now, Sachin doesn't show much persistence in completing tasks. He has also shifted several jobs, often moving on when things get slightly difficult.
Extensive research conducted on the topic of parenting suggests a significant correlation between parenting styles and the development of a child's attitude, personality, and behavior, all the way into adulthood.
Based on studies initiated by various researchers, particularly by Diana Baumrind, four basic parenting styles have been identified.
Four Styles of Parenting
In this style, parents tend to exercise power and control over the children. Strict rules are established by the parents without providing an explanation for the rule. If the child questions them, the parent might simply reply, "Because I said so" (one-sided communication). Failure to follow rules usually leads to punishment. Often, parents express less affection and also restrict the child's emotional expression. The parents behave more like dictators and the children are expected to submit to their rule. Independent thinking and decision-making is not encouraged.
This often results in children who are obedient and high performing. However, they may not rank as high in happiness, self-esteem and social skills.
In contrast to the above mentioned authoritarian style, permissive parenting is characterized by a high degree of indulgence and affection towards the child. As in the case of Sachin, permissive parents tend to make very few demands from their child. Discipline is compromised as they are lenient, avoid confrontation, and act more like a friend to their child than a parent. Demands are given in to easily. The child's wishes tend to rule the household.
This frequently results in children who rank lower in happiness and self-control. These children are at risk of experiencing issues with authority and also tend to perform poorly in school. Because they have never been told 'no', they tend to feel entitled and have difficulty following rules. They may also be fairly needy in relationships, always wanting the partner to indulge their wishes.
Some parents fulfill their child's basic needs but tend to remain emotionally detached from the child. Lack of attention and affection towards the child is quite common in this style of parenting. In severe cases, these parents may even neglect to fulfill the basic needs of the child.
These children suffer in various areas of their lives. They generally lack self-control, can be aggressive, have low self-confidence and rank lower in cognitive and social competence as compared to their peers. As adults they may get into bad relationships or abuse substances to fill the emotional void in their lives.
Parents with an authoritative style are able to discipline their children by establishing rules and limits. However, this is done in a collaborative fashion where there is two way communication. Unlike authoritarian parenting where punishment is often utilized, authoritative parents are more nurturing and supportive in their style. They are committed to raising a socially responsible and emotionally secure individual. The child is allowed to assert his/her own will but not go over the limit. Firm limits are set and reasonable demands are entertained.
This parenting style results in children who are happy, have good social skills, high self-esteem and are competent.
Let us keep in mind that the idea behind the information in this article is not to point fingers/blame ourselves or our parents. Rather, it is to think about and understand the type of parenting style that was utilized by our own parents in our upbringing. How does it impact the way I am today? How might it impact the way in which I raise my own child/children?
While authoritative parenting is researched to be an ‘ideal' parenting style, in India we are exposed to different cultures, religious backgrounds, educational levels and social contexts, each with its own ideas and values related to parenting. It is always possible for parents to blend those elements that they truly value along with the qualities of authoritative parenting, thereby creating a unique style of parenting that will be appropriate in their particular family context. Through it all, open communication can help keep the parent-child relationship healthy.
In our busy lives today, we have to handle the pressures of daily living, mental and physical exhaustion, a lack of time and a work-life balance. It is normal and natural to have a bad day once in a while or not feel in of control. Understandably, it can impact the way we parent in spite of theoretically knowing what is best.
You could take the quiz "What is Your Parenting Style "
"We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future."
Franklin D. Roosevelt