The aim of this post is the help you to choose your parenting style. It explains some of the different types of parenting styles and gets you to consider your values and morals, which will impact how you want to parent your child.
When preparing to become a first time mum, you may be trying to figure out how you want to parent your child. I’m not sure if parenting styles are something most mums-to-be think about, but it is something that I find myself thinking about regularly. It is something me and my husband have discussions about (usually on long car journeys).
This reassures me that we want to parent in a similar way. It also makes me realise that this is something he thinks about too. Thinking about such topics always leads to me watching numerous YouTube videos and reading numerous blogs. I love going to YouTube and blogs for advice as you know these are real people, with experiences on the topic and a deep passion for the topic they are discussing.
From reading these blogs and watching the YouTube videos, this is the information I gathered and my thoughts on parenting styles.
The three main types of parenting styles
Professionals, such as counsellors, say there are three main types of parenting styles and define them in this way.
The authoritarian parenting style consists of setting out strict boundaries and rules which children are expected to follow. When these rules are not followed the children receive discipline. The belief with this parenting style is that adults are right, and children should follow the rules set by adults without questioning why. This parenting style also consists of children being disciplined for making mistakes.
This is similar to authoritarian parenting style. Authoritative parents set out boundaries which the children are expected to follow, but these are used more as guidelines. Parents who follow this style of parenting believe in open communication between their children. They are willing to listen to their questions. With this style of parenting expectations of the child are still high but they respond to their child’s questions in a warm manner. They are more willing to explain why certain rules must be followed.
This parenting style is much more relaxed. Parents who follow this style of parenting do not have very high expectations of their children being able to control their behaviour. For example, they believe in children being allowed to be children. They understand that they are not mature enough to be able to regulate their emotions. Permissive parents try to reason with their child and listen to their perspective.
However, once you begin researching into it, you realise there are many types of parenting styles which are less definitive and more open-minded. These may be more suited to your morals and values. Here is a list of some of the parenting styles I found.
This focuses on empowering children and raising their self-esteem. For example, this parenting style advocates ‘positive reinforcement’ meaning ignoring the unwanted behaviour and praising any desired behaviour. This parenting style is also known as gentle or peaceful parenting. Check out this post for further information on this parenting style and examples of how to benefit from it with your children.
With attachment parenting the main carer consistently meets the child’s needs. Therefore, parents who follow this style of parenting believe that children cannot be loved too much or spoiled by too much attention.
Parents who are mindful consider their actions more. Consequently, their focus is on how their actions will affect the child. This video by ‘The Parenting Junkie’ is a good place to start in understanding what mindful parenting consists of.
This type of parenting involves allowing your child to build their own beliefs and values. It involves respecting your child as an individual. You demonstrate the behaviours you want your child to have by being a good role model. It focuses on leading by example, rather than preaching to teach.
I would suggest looking into several parenting styles to help you decide which one best suits you and your personality.
How parenting styles affect children’s development
How we parent our children affects their development. It particularly has an impact on their social and emotional development and well-being. For instance, it teaches them how to deal with emotional and social situations. In addition, this shapes the person that they will become and how they will communicate in their relationships with others.
Notice how children treat other children. This usually tells us a lot about how children are brought up and what types of behaviour they are brought up around.
Effects on their behaviour
Children brought up by authoritarian parents are said to be the most obedient children. However, it is believed that this type of parenting results in children who are less happy and have a low self-esteem. Children brought up in this way are likely to find it harder to interact with others. These children may be behind in terms of their social and emotional development. This is because they have been taught to take orders and to not express ‘negative’ emotions such as; anger or even sadness.
As a result, this type of parenting could even affect a child’s cognitive development as they may struggle to solve problems. This is due to them being led to believe that there is a right way to do things and that any other way is wrong.
Something to consider is that following a certain type of parenting style may:
Put pressure on yourself to comply with all the ‘rules’ of that type of parenting,
Cause a division between people and cause arguments,
Result in people judging you based on their experiences of a certain type of parenting.
Personally, I don’t believe in labelling the way you choose to parent your child. As a result, labelling how you parent can make you feel that you have to follow all of the rules of that specific parenting style. Also, It gives others an expectation of how you parent. Subsequently, this can go against you if you decide to parent outside of the expected norms for that particular style.
Instead, I suggest using the parenting styles as guidelines. Research the parenting styles which best suit your values and morals and how you believe children should be parented. Then choose which points you want to put into practice from each of these to create your own parenting style.
So, why is our parenting style important?
To sum up, It is a good idea to research different parenting styles. This helps you to consider how you want to handle different situations on your parenting journey. For example, are you going to let your baby ‘cry it out’ to sleep train your baby or are you going to comfort them when they cry in bed. Researching into the pros and cons of each of these methods and reading others opinions and experiences can help you to determine which method suits you best.
How does our parenting style affect our children?
It is also important to understand that the way in which we parent affects children’s overall development and behaviour. Therefore, we need to consider how we talk to our children. It is also important to be aware of how we use body language to communicate with them.
It really is true that children’s brains are like sponges, absorbing information from their surroundings and role models i.e. us. Children imitate and learn from our behaviour. So, we need to be setting good examples and treating them how we would like them to treat others.
It will be interesting to see how I parent in comparison to how I want to parent. I know us parents to-be usually have an idea of what our life as a parent will be like. However, once we become parents things aren’t quite as simple and we get caught up in day to day life. Before you know it we’re using bribes to get children to do things, which we were adamant was something that we would not resort to.
Do you parent differently to how you thought you would? Do you follow a certain parenting style?
I took inspiration for this post from Birgitte over at Positive-Parenting-Ally.com. Go check out her website for more information on parenting styles.
Other resources on parenting styles:
- ‘Is There A Right Method To Parenting‘ – A documentary with Cherry Healey is worth a watch.
- ‘How Parenting Affects Your Child’s Brain‘ – A really interesting interview with Child and family therapist Jennifer Kolari on why positive parenting is important. This also links to mindful parenting.
- ‘How To Raise Successful Kids. Without Over-parenting‘ – A TED talk I love by Julie Lythcott-Haims.