Parenting impacts a child's understanding of all other relationships, and can even impact a child's self-esteem, risk-taking behavior, learning outcomes, and financial success (or lack thereof). Read on or watch the video here to learn more about the 4 different parenting styles and how they tend to impact children.
Authoritarian Parent: "The Boss": This type of parent tends to have very high demands and expectations for their children. They are strict and have a rigid rule structure that needs to be followed without question. They expect that children will not question their decisions or demands. Authoritarian parents are not necessarily concerned with their child's opinion or with open communication about their child's feelings.
Permissive Parent: "The friend": This type of parent is very laid back, doesn't have a rigid set of rules or expectations, and often lets their child do what they want as long as they stay safe. It is this type of parent that might let curfews slide or allow a child to have a drink while in the presence of them. Emotionally, this type of parent tends to exhibit a high degree of warmth and nurturing.
Uninvolved Parent: The uninvolved parent is not a style seen often, but this type of parent is more concerned with their own life and their own feelings. As such, they don't necessarily make a lot of time for their child. There is a low degree of warmth and nurturing as well as a low degree of rigidity and rule structure.
Authoritative Parent: The authoritative parent has high expectations for their child and has rules for them to follow, but is also very open, warm, and nurturing. This type of parent makes it known to the child that the child's feelings are important. An authoritative parent wants to listen to, know, and understand their child. They are collaborative and give their child a voice and an opinion in family dynamics. This doesn't mean that the child gets his or her way all of the time, but that the child's emotions and exhperiences matter when taking family decisions into consideration.
Authoritative parenting is associated with the best outcomes for children. According to research, between 70-92% of children who have authoritative parents go on to develop a secure attachment style, compared with only 12.5% of children with authoritarian parents. (If you want to learn more about secure and insecure attachment styles, watch the video here).
A child's first understanding of relationships, love, the ability to trust others and be cared for, all comes from the experiences they have with parents or caregivers. If a parent conveys to their child that the child is loved, she grows up with a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. The child also learns that she can trust and depend on other people - since her caregivers were trustworthy and cared for them. If a child grows up with neglect or with a parent that only seems to care about rules being followed as opposed to a child's needs being met, the child grows up to feel that he is only worthy when they are doing a "good job" or pleasing other people. This can cause issues with self-esteem and self-worth that persist throughout the lifetime.
But you can choose how to parent and you can make your child's emotional well-being a priority without feeling as though you are "going too easy on them". Rules and expectations are important - but so is giving your child the space to feel that they can truly be themselves and still be loved and accepted by you.
So if you can...try to
be the parent you wish you had growing up.