All parents incorporate both love and limits in their style of parenting. It is the balance of love and limits that determines a parent’s particular style. Each style has strengths and weaknesses inherent in them and is learned from the important parental figures in our lives. These figures are usually our own parents or significant caregivers.
Who is a parent? A parent is a father or mother, one who begets or one who gives birth to or nurtures and raises a child.
What is parenting? Parenting is the rearing of a child or children, especially the care, love, and guidance given by a parent. Parenting is recognized as an important human experience that changes people emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
Parenting can be defined as a complex activity that includes many specific behaviors that work individually and together to influence child outcomes. Specific parenting behaviors, such as spanking or reading aloud, may influence child development. However, it is very misleading to only focus on one specific behavior. Specific parenting practices are much less important in predicting child well-being than is the broad pattern of parenting. The vast majority of researchers who attempt to describe this broad parental spectrum rely on Diana Baumrind’s concept of parenting. According to Baumrind, “the construct of parenting style is used to capture normal variations in parents’ attempts to control and socialize their children.”
Diana Baumrind (1967) is a researcher who has studied parenting patterns for many years. She has identified several parenting styles based on different types of parental control. Baumrind believes that there is not one best way of rearing children but advocates for authoritative or democratic parenting.
Parenting styles are the ways in which a parent expresses their beliefs of being a good or bad parent. The majority of parents want to be considered good parents, and they tend to try to avoid those things that would consider them a bad parent. Categorizing parents according to whether they are high or low on parental responsiveness or demandingness creates a typology of four parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive (indulgent), authoritative, and uninvolved. Each of these parenting styles reflects different patterns of parental values, practices, and behaviors, and a distinct balance of responsiveness and demandingness.
There are two important elements of parenting encompassed in parenting styles: parental responsiveness and parental demandingness.
Parental responsiveness, also termed warmth and supportiveness, refers to the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and attentive to children’s special needs and demands.
Parental demandingness also referred to as behavioral control, expresses the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the whole family, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts, and willingness to confront the child who disobeys.
With high or low parental responsiveness and demandingness, parents can be categorized into four distinct parenting styles.
These four styles include:
1. Indulgent (permissive) parents
2. Authoritarian parents
3. Authoritative (democratic) parents
4. Uninvolved parents
Each parenting style demonstrates various naturally occurring patterns or parental values, practices, and behaviors, and a balance between responsiveness and demandingness.
Although parents may have different ways of trying to control or socialize their children, it is the primary goal of all parents to influence, teach, and control their children. Both parental responsiveness and parental demandingness are important components of good parenting. With these components combined, effective and successful child development can be achieved.
No parent is perfect all of the time and there is really no right or wrong way to parent. Most parents show traits of all styles, and how they interact with their child is due to a number of factors including
- the current circumstances
- the parent’s mood
- the child’s mood
- temperaments of both the parent and child
- personal experiences
Look for more blog posts talking about the different parenting styles defined by Baumrind…