What Style Parents Did You Have?
Parenting is at once a huge responsibility and a great opportunity. Most of what we learned about parenting was from our own parents.
Perhaps you’ve never thought much about your parenting technique, you just do what your parents did and figure that that’s good enough for your kids, too.
Or maybe you’ve read so many articles on parenting that you can cite the right thing to do in every situation, but you just have trouble putting those theories into action.
The first step is to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your own parenting habits. Do you tend to be firm on issues out of pride when you could give in without any big consequences? Or do you tend to give in on issues because they just don’t seem worth the fight? Maybe you vary from topic to topic, lax with some and strict with others.
As you read this article, consider which category your own parents seem to fall under. How did this affect you as a child? When you reacted to their discipline, did it push you to make healthy decisions or did you take rebellious action that you regret? What parts of your childhood did you think were beneficial? What did your upbringing teach you about what kind of person you are and what you deserve? How does it still affect you today?
How do your parents interact with your kids? Many times grandparents tend to treat their grandchildren very differently than they raised their own children. How might this reflect their feelings about how they raised you? Read the following descriptions for the four parenting styles and take a step along the path of conscious parenting.
Authoritarian parents expect their children to do as they’re told without asking questions. They believe that kids should obey their rules simply because they are the parent. Authoritarian parents are highly demanding, provide strict rules and are obedience- oriented. They tend not to be responsive to the thoughts, feelings, or desires of their children.
If your parents acted like it was just too much trouble to keep you under control, they were probably permissive. Permissive parents are lenient, tend not to expect mature behavior, avoid confrontation, and rarely follow through on threats.
Parents who are constantly interrupted by their children as they’re talking are usually permissive. They tend to let their children do whatever they want without question. Permissive parents are responsive to their children’s desires and needs, however they don’t provide a clear and definite structure of expected behaviors.
Empowering (a.k.a. Authoritative)
Empowering parents fall somewhere between the previous styles. They set clear expectations but they are also responsive to their children’s needs without being intrusive or restrictive in their parenting. They tend toward disciplinary methods that are supportive rather than punitive and they expect their children to voice their opinion appropriately, be socially responsible, self-regulated, and cooperative.
These parents tend to be undemanding and unresponsive to children’s needs. They may be negligent or just physically or emotionally removed from their children. Children in these relationships usually learn that they are not able to depend on their parents to meet their emotional or sometimes even physical needs.
What Type Of Parent Do You Want To Be?
Any parent can tell you that each child has his or her own personality from the first month of life. It is our responsibility to nurture and provide for our children, but we also have the opportunity to support that little person in becoming the happiest, healthiest, most successful individual possible.
Every child will react differently to different situations, and there are always specific parent-child interactions that affect how a situation is played out. Nevertheless, studies have shown that certain parent-child interactions are more effective than others and that parenting styles will predict children’s emotional habits, scholastic achievement, and self-esteem.
If you want your children to love to learn, to be self-confident, and to make healthy decisions about drugs and alcohol, your best bet is to start adopting empowering parenting techniques. The key question to ask is how do your kids respond to your parenting?
How can your parenting techniques support them as confident, curious, responsible individuals capable of making healthy decisions on their own? Ask your kids whether they love to learn and what you might do differently to help them feel more empowered and better about themselves.