Parenting Styles and Communication

Research confirms there to be three general parenting styles most commonly used in raising children. The style in which parents raise and interact with children is said to highly affect their development and functioning into adulthood.

In the authoritarian parenting style, parents stress order and respect for authority capitalizing on positive reinforcement for desired behavior and utilizing negative reinforcement (e.g. discipline/punishment) for non-preferred behavior. Research suggests that this parenting style can encourage desirable behavior and academic success but can restrict children socially and emotionally. Children raised in an authoritarian style are more likely to suffer from anxiety. They are more likely to have difficulty separating from their parent’s control and influence as they get older, having difficulty in establishing their personal identity due to the potential of disappointing their parents or having values which differ from those they were exposed to as children.

The authoritative parenting style is said to be the most effective for promoting healthy development. In the authoritative style, parents value open communication with children while maintaining a rational yet flexible sense of order/control. Parents exercising this style combine a blend of order with autonomy in the household. Children raised by ‘authoritative parents’ are more likely to develop self-confidence compared to those raised in an authoritarian style. Exposing children to this parenting style is said to promote strong emotional regulation and open-mindedness for embracing diversity.

In the indulgent/permissive parenting style, few demands are placed on children as they are given a larger sense of control within their household. Parents using this style of parenting are said to avoid exercising control, preferring to model equality and friendship in the parent/child relationship. Parents in this style less often stress the value of traditional rules/social norms of behavior. Children raised in the indulgent/permissive style traditionally are shown to have high self-esteem. However, they are more likely to develop emotional dysregulation and limited frustration tolerance as demands and structure is presented in their school and community.

Research shows that a parenting style which focuses on providing warmth/respect, rational boundaries, and a balanced sense of control are most ideal for children. As parents, placing expectations on children which are realistic and achievable for their age, personality, and skillsets are best shown for helping to foster well-balanced, well-regulated and well-intentioned future adults.

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