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Parenting Styles and Discipline

By squirrellee01 Mar 30, 2013 862 Words
Parenting Styles and Discipline
There are three parenting styles and who you are as a parent has a lot to do with the way your child responds to you.
The authoritarian parent values obedience. The rules are clear but inflexible. Misbehavior is strictly punished. In this type of environment, it is common for children to feel fearful and for parents to use fear as a teaching strategy. The authoritarian parent teaches the child what to think as opposed to how to think since the parent makes all decisions for the child. This parent uses reward and punishment to control the child’s behavior.

An authoritarian style can have unintended side effects. When parents rigidly discipline, children can become rigid, obsessive and people-pleasing. They may experience shame and guilt. An authoritarian style doesn’t teach children healthy ways for managing emotions; the focus is on accepting authority rather than learning how to make choices and distinguish right and wrong.

A permissive parent allows children to learn the consequences of their actions for themselves, without providing guidance. There are no clear limits and misbehavior is often ignored. Unlike the authoritarian parent, the permissive parent offers little structure and few boundaries. Children have total freedom to act however they want. Often the parent is a slave to the child.

While a permissive style of parenting may seem to support children’s creativity and provide a sense of being fully accepted, it lacks the structure they need to feel safe. Without limits, children can feel confused and insecure. It also robs the child of selfrespect and self-esteem by doing things for the child that the child can do for himself. It is an invitation for rebellion with inconsistent parenting.

As with an authoritarian style, permissiveness doesn’t teach children how to handle their emotions in a healthy way. It also doesn’t support them in developing an internal moral compass. Having free license to choose behavior without considering rules or the impact on other people sets children up for failure in their relationships and at school and work. In 1971 Diana Baumrind used the classifications of “Neglectful” and “Indulgent” parenting, instead of permissive, in Development Psychology Monographs. An authoritative parent is kind, but firm. Authoritative parents are respectful towards their children, and model this behavior. They set and enforce limits, clarify issues and give reasons for limits. They provide children with practice in making choices and guide them to see the consequences of their choices. They teach their children how to solve problems, even providing them with decision-making opportunities. These are essential skills in adulthood. Self-esteem flourishes as children learn to rely on their own abilities to determine right from wrong and to act accordingly. Parenting discipline has become a hugely debated subject. Discipline is often taken as a bad thing, however, discipline does not have to be automatically considered a punishment. Discipline by definition means; “Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” Psychologist Dr. Leman spoke of “reality disciplinarians” that “try to be consistent, decisive, and respectful of their children as persons.” While holding their children accountable for their actions, they encourage their children to learn. The parent should communicate to their children that they love them even though they don’t always love their behavior by choosing their words wisely.

There are unfortunately many cases where parenting discipline is overdone. Some of this wrong discipline is done with very good intentions, all the while thinking that it will make your child a better person. However, there is a very thin line between constructive and destructive parenting discipline. Hitting or screaming at a child in the name of discipline is never a good thing. Children are very sensitive and such discipline can mark and scar them forever with very dire consequences. Parenting discipline is more teaching, showing a child the right way to do something, not just imposing or forcefully making him perform some duty given by you. No matter how good the intention the method of discipline is extremely important.

Parenting discipline is a delicate matter to be approached very carefully. Do not make the mistake to presume that if something worked for you it will be the same for your child or even if it worked on for one child the same will work for another. Find the right way to discipline your child so he will happily learn and apply the discipline taught by you.

I find that parenting how one sees best is the right that comes with that of being a parent. It doesn’t do well to criticize someone else’s parenting style as inferior. Of course poor parenting may come back to cause harm to the child and even parents and society. Really each parent should strive to raise children with good attitude, behavior, and character by appropriate parenting and discipline.

Works Cited
"Definition of Discipline." Discipline.
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/discipline. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. Leman, Kevin. Making Children Mind without Losing Yours. Grand Rapids, MI: F.H. Revell, 2000. Print.
Santrock, John W. Child Development - Thirteenth Ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.

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