• 10 Feb - 16 Feb, 2024
  • Mag The Weekly

Your parenting style can affect everything from your child's self-esteem and physical health to how they relate to others. It's important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development because the way you interact with your child and how you discipline them will influence them for the rest of their life.

Researchers have identified four main types of parenting styles:
• Authoritarian
• Authoritative
• Permissive
• Uninvolved
Each style takes a different approach to raising children, offers different pros and cons, and can be identified by a number of different characteristics. The truth is that there is no one right way to parent, but the general parenting style that most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend is an authoritative approach.

Authoritarian Parenting
Do any of these statements sound like you?
• You believe kids should be seen and not heard.
• When it comes to rules, you believe it's "my way or the highway".
• You don't take your child's feelings into consideration.
If any of those ring true, you might be an authoritarian parent. Authoritarian parents believe kids should follow the rules without exception and are famous for saying, "because I said so", when a child questions the reasons behind a rule. They are not interested in negotiating and their focus is on obedience.
Authoritarian parents may use punishments instead of discipline. So, rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they're invested in making kids feel sorry for their mistakes. Children of authoritarian parents are at a higher risk of developing self-esteem problems because their opinions aren't valued.
They may also become hostile or aggressive. Rather than think about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents or themselves for not living up to parental expectations. Since authoritarian parents are often strict, their children may grow to become good liars in an effort to avoid punishment.

Authoritative Parenting
Do any of these statements sound like you?
• You put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child.
• You explain the reasons behind your rules.
• You set limits, enforce rules, and give consequences, but take your child's feelings into consideration.
If those statements sound familiar, you may be an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents have rules and they use consequences, but they also take their children's opinions into account. They validate their children's feelings, while also making it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge. This is the approach backed by research and experts as the most developmentally healthy and effective parenting style.
Authoritative parents use positive discipline strategies to reinforce positive behaviour, like praise and reward systems. Researchers have found kids who have authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable self-advocating and expressing their opinions and feelings.
Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They're also more likely to be good at making sound decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.

Permissive Parenting
Do any of these statements sound like you?
• You set rules but rarely enforce them.
• You don't give out consequences very often.
• You think your child will learn best with little interference from you.
If those statements sound familiar, you might be a permissive parent. Permissive parents are lenient. They often only step in when there's a serious problem. They're quite forgiving and they adopt an attitude of "kids will be kids". When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick, for example, they might give privileges back if a child begs.
Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they usually don't put much effort into discouraging poor choices or bad behavior.
Kids who grow up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically. They may exhibit more behavioural problems as they don't appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness. They're also at a higher risk for hygiene issues and health issues due to lack of enforcement of healthy habits.

Uninvolved Parenting
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
• You don't ask your child about school or homework.
• You rarely know where your child is or who they are with.
• You don't spend much time with your child.
If those statements sound familiar, you might be an uninvolved parent. Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing. There tend to be few rules in the household. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing and parental attention.
Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. They don't devote much time or energy into meeting children's basic needs. They may be neglectful but it's not always intentional. A parent with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, for example, may not be able to care for a child's physical or emotional needs on a consistent basis.
At other times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they're simply overwhelmed with other problems, like work, paying bills, and managing a household. Children with uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self-esteem issues. They tend to perform poorly in school. They also exhibit frequent behaviour problems and rank low in happiness.