Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Just as every person is different, every parent has his or her own temperament, personality, beliefs, and attitudes towards their children, themselves, and the world. Some parents tend to be overprotective while some are overly permissive, while some might be warm as spring others may be overly critical or neglectful. It is important to identify which parenting styles we see in ourselves to become aware of the effect of our behaviors and beliefs on our children. This attitude will translate into being a better parent who is conscious of how we can influence positively or negatively our children’s lives.

What is a parenting style?
Its the particular way we rear our children, that involves the parental investment we have in our children. This parental investment involves emotional attention, physical, economic, material, and energetic resources, considering not only quantity of parental investment but quality as well. Each parenting style has its own effect in the temperament and personality of our children, just as the methods our parents used with us shaped our relationship with the world. There are several theories concerning parenting styles, however they all tend to identify two extremes of the spectrum: 

Authoritarian style and permissive style. This article concentrates on the model of Baumrid (1978) with four styles of parenting : authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, neglectful. 

Authoritarian Style
• High standards and expectations for children
• Firm rules
• Discourages dialogue about rules, no reason to justify a “no”
• Rigidity
• Punishments are unpredictable, not justified, or tend to physical and psychological aggression, prizes and rewards are uncommon.
• Not responsive with children´s needs and concerns.
• As another consequence children of authoritative parents can be more prompt to rebellion during adolescence, might show poor independence and creativity, and might not show their feelings for fear of being punished.
• Less likely to develop healthy relationships in adulthood. 

Authoritative Style
• Demands high levels of expectations and standards, encouraging compliance over process.
• Encourages discussion within family about rules, discusses the pros and cons and reasons for these rules and other values
• They invite their children to explore, not to just follow instructions, to be curious and live their own life
• Punishments are justified, measured, and constant, as are rewards and prizes
• Parents are warm and sensitive to their children’s needs
• As a consequence, children coming from this parenting style seem to be more independent, confident, and show more initiative than other methods

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Permissive Style
• Not demanding of their children, lower expectations than authoritative or authoritarian
• Warm and responsible, sensitive to concerns and needs
• Drive to be liked by their kids. They fulfill any childhood desire.
• Punishments are not part of the behavioral repertory, they lack of consistence
• As a consequence of this parenting style children can be impulsive and can develop difficulties in social relationships
• Solid relationships with parents in adulthood
Neglectful Style
• Not demanding, they don’t have high standards for their children
• Limited compliance with following the rules and directives
• Seem disengaged of their children lives (needs, tastes) and more focused on their own lives
• Punishments are erratically given and unpredictable such as prizes
• Lack of communication and emotional openness
• As a consequence children might be prone to risky behavior, difficult social relationships, and confusion ambivalence

What if I fit in different parenting styles?
You might see that you fit into only one category, or that you have several attitudes that match the profiles in different categories. That is perfectly normal, these categories aren’t absolute and they can be very flexible, so a person can be sometimes authoritarian, and sometimes permissive, otherwise one person can be authoritarian during childhood then progressively be more permissive, they are not rigid categories.
There is a need to be self-critical and conscious about what parenting style was used in our own education, which parenting style are we currently using in our parenting, and which parenting style we would most like to be identified with. Recognizing these patterns will lead us to a better understanding of the demands and expectations we give our children and how we shape their behavior.

Grobman, K.H. (2003). Diana Baumrind’s (1966) Prototypical Descriptions of 3 Parenting Styles.
Popkin, M.H (1998) Active parenting of teens. Atlanta, GA: Active Parenting Publishers.— (2002) Active parenting now.Atlanta, GA: Active Parenting Publishers

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