Spare the rod, spoil the child? Parents need to think again

Parenthood is the best privilege that Mother Nature has bestowed upon mankind. Being a parent is one heck of a job and good parenting skills are the direct result of being responsible; in action and in word. Yes, you heard it right! Often parents try to drill the essence of responsibility into the minds of their children that they lose sight of their own responsibilities. Here are few basic concepts that parents need to understand about parenting and its different types.

Authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and whatnot

A new research conducted by the University of New Hampshire a few years ago, studied different parenting styles and tried to establish a link between the styles and the influence they have on the beliefs of adolescents about the legitimacy of parental authority, and whether they lead to delinquent behavior. The results of this particular study were published in the Journal of Adolescence the same year in an article “Don’t trust anyone over 30: Parental legitimacy as a mediator between parenting style and changes in delinquent behavior over time”.

The data was accumulated from the New Hampshire Youth Study, a survey initiated in 2007 to study middle and high school students and to examine the psychological, developmental, and legal factors that might be responsible for sparking adolescent delinquency.

Dissecting parenthood

Authoritative parents: Demanding and controlling but are also receptive to their children's needs. They usually make their children understand why the rules were established in the first place and in return get their children's opinions about the rules. It is believed that children of such parents are self-reliant, in-control, and content.

Authoritarian parents: Demanding and highly controlling, cut-off and unreceptive to their children's needs. These parents establish rules and expect them to be followed without any questions asked. Children of such parents are believed to be discontent, anti-social, and distrustful. How to stop a controlling parent will be an appropriate research topic in this connection, only if someone is willing to do so.

Permissive parents: This breed is non-demanding and non-controlling. They are receptive to their children's needs and seldom keep boundaries with their children. Rules are not enforced with great effect. Their children are believed to be least self-reliant and curious.

Uninvolved parenting: The salient features are ineffective communication, few demands, and extremely unresponsive attitude. This kind generally fulfils all the basic needs of their children but show no significant involvement in their life.

Create your own unique parenting style

As discussed above, the authoritative style is generally linked to development of positive features in the children, but there are limitations to such studies because these are based on correctional research that fails to establish definitive results. Other important factors that influence this whole process include region, culture, children’s perception about parenthood, and other societal trends.

"There is no universally ‘best’ style of parenting," writes author Douglas Bernstein in his book Essentials of Psychology. "So authoritative parenting, which is so consistently linked with positive outcomes in European American families, is not related to better school performance among African American or Asian American youngsters." Results showed that parents are more likely to be considered legitimate authorities if they adopted authoritative parenting practices rather than authoritarian or permissive practices, which tend to undermine parental authority. Therefore, both parents should work together to create their own particular style according to the environment and needs of their children.

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