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No one gives you a handbook when you become a parent. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a program that prepared you for all the situations that you will face over your parental years?

Thankfully we can look to modern psychology for help, which shows us the immense impact that a parent has in a child’s life. Do you know how your parenting style impacts your son?

This article mentions four main types of parenting styles that parents fall into:

  1. Authoritarian
    This is the “it’s my way or the highway” type of parenting. Extreme cases can leave children with low self-esteem. They can be fearful and tend to be shy, they have difficulty in social situations and misbehave when they are outside of parental care. They tend to view the absence of a parental figure as emancipation.

  2. Permissive
    This type of parent is lenient and only really gets involved when there is a serious problem. They are also known as the indulgent parent. Children under a permissive parent are more prone to feeling insecure, and having poor social skills and self-centred behaviour. This parenting style withholds the much-needed structure that young children rely on, which can lead to a lack of motivation in academics and result in poor school grades.

  1. Disengaged
    Disengaged parents largely leave their child to raise themselves. Children who are raised by this kind of parent tend to have trust issues in their interpersonal relationships.

  2. Authoritative
    Parents with an authoritative style are calm, reasonable and good listeners. Children who are raised by this kind of parent tend to be more emotionally secure, confident in social situations and independent. This style is also referred to as supportive parenting and should not be confused with an authoritarian style.

Psychologist have recognised that the authoritative or supportive parent is the most beneficial and effective when raising children. This is because they couple high expectations with understanding and support structures for their child. 

What does authoritative parenting look like?

Authoritative parents invest time in creating a structured environment for their child. They are strict about things like planned bedtimes, chores, clear expectations and rules. They strive to maintain balance in their home so that their children can grow and mature in a safe and nurturing environment.

Authoritative parents enforce consequences when the rules are broken. However, the difference is that they make sure that the child understands the rule that was broken and the reason for the consequence. There is a clear distinction in the child’s mind that the consequence is coming from a place of discipline and not punishment. 

Parents should strive to be authoritative. This style of parenting offers a structured and nurturing approach, that is without judgement or reprimand. It gives your child the opportunity to be curious and explore the world around them and develop an understanding of how they fit into it.

Is your parenting style authoritative?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining if you have an authoritative parenting style:

  1. Am I clear about my expectations for my child and do they understand these expectations?
  2. Are there set and structured consequences for bad behaviour?
  3. Is there an open line of communication between me and my child, where they feel that they can discuss any concerns that they may have?
  4. Do I get involved in activities that my child is interested in?

Parents are encouraged to analyse their parenting style and seek help from a counsellor if they feel that they are defaulting to an unhealthy approach. Being a good parent is not easy and a great responsibility to bear. Identifying your parenting style is an important step to setting up your son for success.

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