Your parenting style can affect everything from how much your children weigh to how they feel about themselves. It is important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development, because the way you interact with your children and how you discipline them will impact the rest of their lives.
According to Leslie Hundt, Center Coordinator for Ebenezer Child Care Centers Southside with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, “There are four parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved. Some work better than others, but the key is to balance all types of parenting with love and discipline.”
Authoritative parents have rules, and they use consequences. However, they also listen to their children’s opinions. They validate their children’s feelings, while making it clear that the adult is ultimately in charge.
Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems before they start. They also use positive discipline, praise and role modeling to reinforce good behavior.
Researchers have found that children who have authoritative parents are more likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their own opinions and accepting the opinions and ideas of others.
Children raised with authoritative parenting tend to be happy and successful. They are also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.
Authoritarian parents use phrases like, “Because I said so,” when children question the reasons behind rules or requests. They are not interested in negotiating, and their focus is on obedience.
Children are not involved in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. Instead, parents make the rules and enforce them. Authoritarian parents may use punishments instead of discipline. So, rather than teaching children how to make better choices, they punish children to prevent repeated behavior.
Children who grow up with authoritarian parents tend to follow rules much of the time, but their obedience comes at a price. The authoritarian parenting style is associated with poor outcomes for children. This occurs when parents show a high level of discipline and a low level of warmth, love and compassion. It can result in unhealthy social and emotional development and rebellious children. Rather than think about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents. Since authoritarian parents are often strict, their children may grow to become good liars to avoid punishment.
Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They are quite forgiving, and they adopt an attitude of “kids will be kids.” When parents do give consequences, they may not follow through with them. They give privileges back if children beg, or they may allow children to get out of punishment, if they promise to be good.
Permissive parents often encourage children to talk with them about their problems, but they do not discourage poor choices or bad behavior. Permissive parents encourage freedom and independence and avoid conflicts.
Permissive parenting is high in love and low in discipline. Children may feel entitled, with a sense of superiority. This happens because parents do not create and enforce boundaries with them.
Children of permissive parents are more likely to engage in experimental behavior. They are also at a higher risk for health problems, such as obesity and dental cavities, because permissive parents struggle to enforce good food habits.
Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing and parental attention. Boundaries for children are non-existent.
Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. Children’s physical needs are met, but their emotional needs are not. Children with uninvolved parents often grow up to have no meaningful relationship with their parents, perform poorly in school and have frequent behavior problems.
Most parents do not fit into one parenting category. Rather they use a variety of styles, depending on the situation or the child. Studies are clear, however, that authoritative parenting is the most effective parenting style. Even the best parents struggle. When it comes down to it, parents who balance love and discipline help children to grow into well-adjusted, competent adults.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other childcare providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.