Comparing Parenting Styles
Being a parent or guardian comes with great responsibilities, which include passing down their most important morals, providing support, and acting as a role model for their children. From the beginning of the child’s life, a parent must make decisions for their child such as what foods are healthy, or when homework should be finished until he or she becomes responsible enough to make such decision. Parents may or may not be aware of their parenting style; however, each parenting style has a huge impact on a child’s social, mental, and emotional development. Parents usually don't fit just one style of parenting, but keeping a balance of all the styles helps a child develop at a steady pace. The parenting styles compared in this essay are the authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive.
The authoritative parenting method is the first of the four primary parenting methods. Parents who fall into this category are democratic and responsible at the same time. They support and urge children to respect rules and see alternative ways, while adhering to impartial principles. These parents teach their children to be logical, and struggle to make them work in autonomy. They always take charge of their parenting and expect more from their children at the end. Authoritative parents do not see themselves as infallible; therefore they apply the flexibility of involving the child in decision making. This approach is needed to raise an independent child with a consistent set of ground rules to establish a common ground into one parenting style. Parents have firm rules and expect their children to know they have the final authority, but they also will allow disagreements. When a child disagrees with them, they explain in a manner without using power. "Authoritative parents also believe the child should behave in accordance with their rules and standards, but within a context of rational discussion. Such parents encourage communication and share reasons for conduct with the child" (Fagot 168). For example they may say, “I know you would like to eat your dinner now,” but also makes restrictions by saying, “You have to do your homework now. After finishing your homework, you may eat your dinner.” The firm, but loving, authoritative parenting method often produces more competent and creative children.
Parents who evidence an authoritative-reciprocal (i.e., high demandingness, high responsiveness) parenting style are responsive to the demands of their offspring but at the same time; expect their children to be responsive to their demands (Baumrind, 1968; Darling & Steinberg, 1993; Maccoby & J. Martin, 1983). Such parents encourage verbal give and take (hence the label "reciprocal"), enforce rules when necessary, have clear expectations for mature behavior, and encourage independence. They foster psychological autonomy by encouraging their children to express their own opinions (Steinberg, 1990). Such parents also make a point of explaining their assertions and providing rationales for rules and regulations (Holmbeck 99). The Authoritarian parenting style is the most aggressive and highly demanding on the child, quick to punish misconduct with physical and verbal punishment, but low on warmth and reward for good conduct. The parent's response to positive conduct is generally low which, in turn, can make a child aggressive and withdrawn to others. Drawing from Diana Baumrind's identification and description of this parenting style, "children are required to adhere to strict rules established by parents whether they understand it or not. Failure to follow these rules to the later will attract harsh punishment" (Baumrind 11). Again, authoritarian parents are unsupportive and to some extent uninvolved particularly when it has to do with helping the child to meet their high expectations (Cherry). A typical authoritarian parent would require the child to complete his or her homework on time. If the child asks for help with any aspect of the homework, the response of the authoritarian parent would likely be, “You are the one in school. Figure it out yourself, and complete it by 8 o’clock and go to bed, or else…” If the child under authoritarian parenting defaults in any parental rules or expectation, punishment is sure to follow. This can range from verbal abuse, to assaultive spanking, or even cruel denial of a physiological need such as food. Another feature of authoritarian parents is their undemocratic tendency. "The home is ran like a military booth camp where the parents are “obedience and status-oriented, and expect their children to obey without explanation” (Baumrind 75). Any venture by the child to seek explanation for any request or action of the parents is often met with generic answers such as, “because I said so”. The third style of parenting in this comparison is called permissive parenting. This style is nurturing and compassionate with little to no boundaries or rules. Parents who engage in this style generally accept their children’s behavior, good or bad, with little ramifications. “Permissive parents don’t present themselves as authority figures or role models. They might use reason or manipulation to get what they want. But they avoid exercising overt power” (Dewar). Most rules are bent to appease the child to avoid any confrontation. When a child has a temper tantrum, the parent will bribe their children by indulgence to get them to behave. The child takes over control of the relationship, being able to manipulate the parents by their behavior. Some parents tend to use this form of parenting because they were possibly raised by overly-strict parents and wanted to be the opposite of their parents. Other parents want to be more like a friend. They’re afraid of the child growing to dislike them, instead of giving them the proper discipline they need. It is very evident that the cons of permissive parenting greatly outweigh the pros. The child grows up knowing how to manipulate the parent to get whatever they want, which can cause the child to become spoiled and self-centered. As they get older, they will begin to have an increase in aggression. Furthermore, children who are under this parenting style have an increased chance of having alcohol addiction or abuse at an early age due to lack of self-discipline (Markham). In practice, there is no one definite or precise parenting style by which a child is raised. Each parent goes about it in differing ways; none of them are entirely right or wrong. Every child’s needs are dissimilar. They require a balance of nurture and a strong authority figure. It is the parents’ responsibility to see which style best fit the needs of their children at a given moment in time, even if they must combine more than one parenting style. The ultimate goal is providing the child with the best chance he or she can have at becoming independent and productive member of society. This also serves to satisfy the parents’ longing for sense of fulfillment in their sacred parenting role, which is beyond just being a biological father or mother.
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