Which Discipline Styles Work and Which to Avoid – September 2015

– Let’s face it, even though we want them to, children do not always listen. When they don’t, it is up to parents to discipline them appropriately, which can sometimes be a challenge for even the most experienced parent. Disciplining children doesn’t just mean punishing them when they do something wrong, it also means providing them with the discipline necessary to succeed in their lives.

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, “There are four discipline styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved. Some work better than others, but the key is to balance any type of discipline with love.”

Authoritative Parenting
This discipline style is the most recommended. It is linked to well-adjusted children with good grades, the ability to cope in difficult situations, high self-esteem, and strong social and emotional skills.

It is associated with the ability to moderate children’s behavior and respond with warmth, love, and compassion. The parents are compassionate but firm. They provide expectations for children to live up to such as doing their homework, and they encourage children to think independently.

Anderson says, “Authoritative parents consider their children’s choices, yet ultimately make the final decision. A bond is created between them, because the parents have their children’s needs at heart.”

Authoritarian Parenting
Anderson says, “This parenting style is associated with poor outcomes for children. It 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.”

Children are expected to follow rules without questioning them and make decisions on their own. Authoritarian parents tend to anger easily. Unfortunately, communication often involves arguing and even fighting.

Permissive Parenting/Indulgent Parenting
Permissive parenting is considered to be better than authoritarian but not as good as authoritative. It is high in love and low in discipline. It can lead to children who feel entitled and have low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority. This happens because parents do not create boundaries for their children. These boundaries provide security. Children are more likely to engage in experimental behavior.

Permissive parents encourage freedom and independence. They try to avoid conflicts. The parents are often afraid that they will “mess up” or emotionally damage their children.

Uninvolved Parenting/Neglectful Parenting
This parenting style lacks control, love, and warmth. It is considered to be the worst disciplinary style. As the name suggests, the parents are uninvolved and neglect their children. Children’s physical needs are usually met, but their emotional needs are not. The children often grow up to have no meaningful relationship with their parents. They feel abandoned.

“Uninvolved parents don’t necessarily neglect their children on purpose. They may be experiencing a down point in their lives such as addiction or abuse. They can’t deal with their own problems and do not have the tools required to be good parents. Their children often grow up with deep emotional issues,” says Anderson. “However, there is hope! Some people find help in religion, great role models, or counseling.”

Anderson says, “Even the best parents struggle to get their children to behave. When it comes down to it, parents who balance love and discipline produce well-adjusted children.”

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 child care 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.