How Parenting Styles Affect Children
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How Parenting Styles Affect Children

Parenting styles range from permissive to authoritarian. While a wide variety of parenting can produce respectful and responsible adults, most of us strive to do more than provide adequate parenting. Making good choices about parenting styles and practices can help your child’s self esteem, behavior and success in life. As any parent knows, good parenting is all about choosing your battles and forming a good, strong and loving relationship with your child. The parenting style that works for you and your children is a critical part of forming this relationship.


Historically, children were to be seen and not heard. Parenting in the past was highly authoritarian, requiring immediate obedience and keeping children in line with harsh punishments. Children were not entitled to explanations, and rules were simply to be followed. Following World War II, parenting experts began to suggest more gentle authoritative or democratic parenting styles.


There are four basic parenting styles. Authoritarian parenting is based on rules and punishments. Children are expected to follow the rules without question. Authoritative or democratic parenting styles do have rules and guidelines for behavior, but create a more gentle and nurturing environment, with room for questions, learning and personal development. Permissive parents do not set rules, guidelines or expectations for their children’s behavior. Permissive parents do love and nurture their children, but fail to provide needed structure. Finally, uninvolved parents neglect to provide either structure or love and concern.


Both authoritarian and authoritative-democratic parenting styles result in children who follow the rules, respect themselves and others and have a good chance of a successful life. Children raised in a more democratic household will typically have higher self esteem, be happier and less likely to rebel. Children who grow up in permissive households will be more likely to struggle with authority and do poorly in school. Uninvolved parents will produce children with a poor chance of success in life, low self esteem and difficulty with social relations in most cases.


Identifying your own parenting style may allow you to correct any problems and improve your relationship with your children. Parenting styles include both behavioral and psychological control, as well as communication and expectations. One of the best ways to look at your own parenting style is to look in the mirror. Without conscious effort, many of us parent the way we were parented.


While good behavior may be your first priority with a young child, developing a nurturing a loving relationship is equally critical. Combining high expectations with a loving, open and respectful relationship will help your children to have good self esteem, succeed in school and later work, and have good social skills.

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