Does Parenting Style Really Matter?

Does Parenting Style Really Matter?

By Grace Sailor

Parenting style does matter and can affect the child’s self-esteem, cognitive abilities, social skills, feelings, and other various attributes. As a mother, I have always struggled with what is the right way to raise emotionally and socially healthy children?   Among many questions is the fundamental question:  “Should I be strict and let them know who is in charge?  Or, should I be lenient so that they know that I love them? ”

According to studies, the answer to those questions is in somewhere in the middle. “Many researchers have documented the positive effects on children raised by parents who are warm and affectionate and who set consistent, reasonable rules for their children, as opposed to those who have in a punitive or aloof manner.”

The graph below shows the four most common parenting styles used. Of the four styles, the authoritative style which is based on warm and nurturing interactions in combination with encouraging independence, but with limits and emphasizing open communication between child and parent is more likely to produce emotionally and socially healthy children.

Take a look and see where your parenting style falls.

Parenting Style

Characteristics

Effects on Children

Authoritarian Restrictive, punitive style; sets firm limits and encourages effort, few verbal exchanges allowed. Average social, cognitive, competencies, fearful, unhappy, vulnerable to stress.
Permissive Indulgent Very involved in child’s live; few demands placed on child; lax control: allows freedom of expression, encourages creativity, confidence Low self-control; difficulty focusing own behavior, expect to get their own way; poor social, cognitive competencies; not popular with others.
Permissive Indifferent Very involved with child; few demands placed on child; lax control; allows freedom of expression and impulses. Low self-control; poor social, cognitive competencies; rebellious, impulsive, aggressive
**Authoritative** Warm, nurturing, accepting, encourages independence, but with limits; verbal exchanges using negotiating, compromise, and reason also encouraged; responsive to needs of child High social; cognitive competencies; cope well with stress;  curious, self-controlled, cooperative with adults, energetic, friendly, self-reliant

*Human Behavior in the Social Environment – a Multidemsional Perspective by Jose B. Ashford, Craig Winston LeCroy, Kathy L. Lortie

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