Parenting is more than just giving birth to a child; it is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the intricacies of raising a child and not exclusively to the biological relationship [Wikipedia]. Parenting, I must say, is a God-given responsibility to nurture and raise a total and complete child by all good standards.
A parenting style is a strategy used by parents to raise a child. A clinical and developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind, identified four major parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved.
- Authoritative parenting: This is a style of parenting where parents are approachable, reasonable and flexible. Authoritative parents allow enough freedom of expression for the independent development of their children and are assertive enough to maintain control over them. They use both reason and authority to achieve their parenting goals. They communicate frequently and appropriately to the children’s level of understanding and are good listeners. Such parents are role-models; that is, they teach by example and not just by barking orders to the children. They acknowledge their mistakes and apologize when necessary. Authoritative parenting is believed to be the most beneficial to children.
- Authoritarian parenting: This is the direct opposite of the authoritative style. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians who exercise absolute control over their children. They are less nurturing, reasonable and flexible. They make and enforce strict rules without any explanation. They are highly intolerant and aggressive. Their communication is one way: from parents to children. Authoritarian parents are hard to please and difficult to satisfy. They frequently shout at and beat their children at the slightest provocation. Children raised by authoritarian parents tend to be sheepishly obedient, quiet and sad. They often suffer from depression and low self-esteem. They are also hard and cold. Children experts believe this style of parenting has great negative consequences on children’s over-all well-being.
- Permissive parenting: This style of parenting overindulges children. Permissive parents never discipline their children. Though they set rules, they rarely enforce them. They give their children all they want in the name of showing them love. In order to get their children’s approval as good parents, they unconsciously allow their children to control them. The children of permissive parents often become spoiled, bossy and self-absorbed. They are more likely to struggle academically and may exhibit more behavioural problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules.
- Uninvolved parenting: As the name implies, these parents provide the basic needs of their children, but are not directly involved in their growth and development. Although it may not always be intentional, uninvolved parent give little or no guidance, nurture and parental attention to their children. Being uninvolved does not necessarily mean such parents to do love their children. Many of them are just too overwhelmed by their own problems to deal with their children’s. They could be experiencing financial, emotional or social stress that they do not even realize that they are not providing the emotional support their children need. Even if they do realize that they are not engaged with their children, they continue to prioritize their own needs above those of their children and these often makes the children feel unimportant.
We have looked at different parenting styles and I must say that the authoritative style is the best approach that would give us beautiful results. In addition to that, I must conclude by saying that to raise a total and complete child, you as a parent needs to partner with God, the greatest Parent, the Father of all. Taking this all-important step will make your parenting journey much easier, stress-free and worry-free.
[Culled from Christian Women Mirror, September2018 Edition]