When the issue of parenting is being discussed among singles, intending couples, just married couples or even married couples what comes to mind is how to take care of the messy stuffs the kids litter around the house, providing meals that the child will eat at each intervals when he/she is hungry, sourcing for money to take care of the children, changing of diapers during the day and at night or even trying to make a noisy child calmer. If we could look deeper at parenting, you will agree with me that it goes beyond what have been listed above or what you think I did not pen down. Above all, parents have a significant role they play in the well being of their child from his emotional stability, behavioral habits, and intelligent quotient to mention a few.
Just the way a mirror brings out the real image of you, so it is with parenting.
Permit me to site this true life examples of a young boy in the late 90’s who was about 11 years old living with his step mother and father who was a sailor. Whenever the father is gone for work, his step mother maltreats this young boy and even refuses to give him food. I got closer to this young boy and would sometimes get food for him to eat. Gradually, this little boy got accustomed to his step mother way of life towards him, that I got shocked when he uttered a statement. He did something wrong, and I told him to desist from such because if his step mother finds out, she will beat him. The little boy said to me in all boldness, that he has gotten used to any punishment that would be melted on him.
A female friend of mine who is happily married with kids and in her late thirties still looks at her husband disdainfully sometimes even though he is a gentle caring man. This lady grew up to witness her father assaulting and maltreating her mother for years and this ugly picture she finds very difficult to erase from her past. She believes all men are the same even though her husband is an opposite of her father. The past still hunt her present.
Parents influence their child’s social skills directly, indirectly and through management of their child’s activities. Parents are their children’s first teacher, and provide them with knowledge that is necessary for survival through direct instruction. They also influence them unintentionally through their own daily actions, such as conversing with other adults while their child is present.
Though parenting styles can differ from one family to another but we will be looking at some of them in this article.
1. AUTHORITATIVE PARENTS
A parent who rates high in both demandingness and responsiveness is considered authoritative. The authoritative parenting style, more than any other, aids in ensuring healthy development, because children are taught to follow rules, ask questions and have their own opinions. Research conducted by Betsy Garrison and colleagues for Louisiana State University on how parenting styles influence cognitive ability found authoritative parenting in both fathers and mothers to be positively correlated with cognitive development in children. Social development also benefits from this parenting style, because communication is welcomed and children feel more comfortable with peers and in other social situations.
Authoritative parents regularly communicate expectations and potential consequences, thereby raising a child in an environment that provides both security and confidence, which helps build his self-esteem. Because of the example his parents set for him, he learns valuable social skills and is able to have healthy relationships with others.
- AUTHORITARIAN PARENTS
The child of an authoritarian parent — a parent who offers too much structure and too little communication — often feels insecure, performs for approval, and connects approval with love. The child may have low self-esteem and have difficulty in social relationships.
Authoritarian parenting demand total cooperation from their children and have no tolerance for questions or breaking rules, and would employ severe consequences if they were not met. This parenting style expects high degrees of maturity from the child with low levels of parent-child communication. An example of an authoritative parent would be one that demands that their kids get good grades, but do not support them or give them any recognition when they do well at school. More importantly, their social development is negatively affected due to not being encouraged to have opinions, being shy and constantly worrying about disappointing their parents.
This type of parenting can be seen as more aggressive because the parent rates high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. An authoritarian parent would also expect their rules to be enforced without question, no matter the situation. Authoritarian parents also are less likely than others to use more gentle methods of persuasion, such as affection, praise and rewards, for their children.
Consequently, authoritarian parents are prone to model the more aggressive modes of conflict resolution and are lax in modeling affectionate, nurturing behaviors in their interactions with their children. (Baumrind, 1991)
3. INDULGENT PARENT
Indulgent or permissive, parents focus more on being their child’s friend than a disciplinary figure. There is an extensive amount of parent-child communication, but very low levels of maturity and demands required of the child. Children raised by indulgent parents have higher self-esteem, better social skills and lower levels of depression, which aids in positive social development. The decreased maturity and independence associated with parental indulgence harms a child’s emotional development because he is not required to grow in these areas.
Freedom without limits can be destructive to a child development; without consequences, children don’t have a sense of boundaries. As a result, the child from a permissive home will seek structure to help them feel valued, validated and secure. He may have problems with relationships, and lack the self-discipline necessary for social interaction with his peers. His school work may suffer from lack of organization and motivation. This child often lacks responsibility, has difficulty with boundaries and commitment, and is unaware of the importance of significant consequences.
Permissive parents are highly responsive to their children, but neglect the demanding side of parenting. These parents do not discipline their children much at all, but are responsive to all their desires and wishes. A parent that is very permissive would likely buy their children whatever they want, and allow them to stay out as late as they want.
- UNINVOLVED PARENTS
This kind of neglect can be very dangerous to a child because it affects his sense of self, self-esteem, and well-being. These kinds of parents seem to be completely disengaged in responsiveness and demandingness, and are considered rejecting-neglecting. These types of parent that don’t show up to any school functions, ignore their children, and are totally focused on their own needs.
This parent negatively impacts a child’s ability to trust — not only relationships, but also adults. It also makes him take on responsibilities far too early, robbing him of his childhood. Children of uninvolved parents often have problems with intimacy and friendship with their peers. While there are no demands or rules to follow for the child, there is also no communication and no encouragement from the parent.
Whatever behavior a child puts up, shows the type of family he grows up from.
Children of authoritative parents are usually capable, self-assured, and popular in their social life. These children are more likely to have and incremental view of intelligence, where they associate effort with a positive outcome. Baumrind, a well renowned psychiatric researcher, says that when they reach adolescence, these kids are relatively high in academic performance and low in drug use and delinquent behavior. Authoritarian parents tend to have children that are unhappy and have low self-esteem, and keep to themselves. This is most likely a result of the intense pressure from their parents to be successful, and can often result in the opposite effect, with their children doing poorly in school. The children of permissive parents have the ability to do just about anything they want, so they tend to be impulsive and perform poorly in school. In addition, during their teenage years these children are more likely to experiment heavily with alcohol and drugs. Generally, these children have a disregard for rules, because their childhood was totally lacking in boundaries. Children of rejecting- neglecting parents also tend to perform poorly in school. They also have trouble forming peer relationships based on their fear of abandonment. As adolescents, they are more likely to experience depression, engage in risky sexual behavior, and misuse drugs and alcohol. The negative effects these children experience tend to worsen throughout their lifetime. Ultimately, parenting style has an extreme effect on child development, which lasts well into adolescence and adulthood.
It is very important to note that even though you might not think about your parenting style on a day-to-day basis, your parenting style has an enormous effect on your child. As stated above, authoritative parenting produces the best results in terms of social, academic and behavioral skills that prepare the child for their future. One way to implement a more authoritative environment in your home would be setting clear rules for your children, but also being open to conversation that is specific to different situations. An important part of authoritative parenting is bidirectional communication in which the parent listens to what the child thinks and adjusts their expectations, in addition to making their own rules. Another thing parents can do is monitoring their children’s behavior, but also trusts them to make the right decisions, and make them responsible for their actions. Ultimately the most important thing is to behave in a way that you would want your child to emulate, listen to your child’s needs, and set clear boundaries that are appropriate and helpful to the child. Every parent wants the best for their child and to help make this happen remember to be aware of how your actions impact them.