Categorized | Parenting

Parenting style—what is it?

Posted on 06 December 2012 by admin

As all parents know all too well, parenting is complex, and there are no easy answers. The interaction of many specific actions and attitudes on the part of parents come together to affect a child’s development. Parenting style refers to thebroad overall pattern of parental actions, rather than to a single act.

Types of parenting style
Descriptions of parenting styles grew out of the work of Diana Baumrind and other researchers in child development. They looked at children who had the qualities most of us would want in our children: independence, maturity, self-reliance, self-control, curiosity, friendliness and achievement orientation. The researchers then interviewed the parents of these children to ascertain which elements of parenting fostered these qualities. They identified two important ingredients: a) responsiveness, or warmth and supportiveness, and b) demandingness or behavioral control. Four styles of parenting, as listed below, are based on these elements.

Authoritarian, or extremely strict, parents are highly controlling. They dictate how their children should behave. They stress obedience to authority and discourage discussion. They are demanding and directive. They expect their orders to be obeyed and do not encourage give-and-take. They have low levels of sensitivity and do not expect their children to disagree with their decisions.

Authoritative, or moderate, parents set limits and rely on natural consequences for children to learn from making their own mistakes. Authoritative parents explain why rules are important and why they must be followed. They reason with their children and consider the children’s point of view even though they might not agree. They are firm, with kindness, warmth and love. They set high standards and encourage children to be independent.

Permissive, or indulgent, parents are accepting and warm but exert little control. They do not set limits, and allow children to set their own rules and schedules and activities. They do not make demands about behavior as authoritarian or authoritative parents do.

Uninvolved parents demand little and respond minimally. In extreme cases, this parenting style might entail neglect and rejection.

How does parenting style affect children?

Research has found that the best adjusted children, particularly in terms of social competence, have parents with an authoritative, moderate parenting style. These parents are able to balance clearly stated, high demands with emotional responsiveness and respect for their child’s autonomy. Both authoritian and authoritative parents have high expectations of their children and use control, but the overly strict parent expects the child to unquestioningly accept parental judgments and allows the child little freedom of expression. Children of overly strict parents are apt to be reliant on the voice of authority and to be lacking in spontaneity. In contrast, the authoritative parent permits the child enough freedom of expression so that he or she can develop a sense of independence. Permissive parents make few demands and their children have been found to have difficulty controlling their impulses, and can be immature and reluctant to accept responsibility.

One example of the effect of parenting style on the development of children was published in the June 2006 issue of Pediatrics. A research team headed by Dr. Kyung E. Rhee, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, analyzed data for 872 children collected by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They assessed the relationship between child-rearing style, assessed when the children were 4 and a half years of age, and their weight status two years later.

By that time more than 11 percent of the children were overweight and an additional 13.4 percent were considered at risk. The children of authoritarian mothers were nearly five times as likely to be overweight as those of authoritative mothers, and children of permissive or uninvolved parents were at more than three times the risk. The researchers stated that an overly strict upbringing can have a negative impact on weight because the children may fail to learn to eat on the basis of hunger and satiety. In such families parents may use food as a reward, insist that children clean their plates, or restrict the kind or amount of food a child can eat.

Source: http://www.aboutourkids.org/

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