Parenting your child

Thrive Psychology Clinic > Blog > Parenting your child

June 25, 2020 / By thadmin2

(5-Minute Read)

 

Parenting Your Child

For the vast majority of parents, raising a child is an issue of great concern and stress. Every parent has his or her own unique method of childrearing, sometimes making it difficult to know if your approach is affecting your child in a positive or negative way. As a significant number of studies have shown that parenting styles greatly affect children’s psychological development, it is crucial that we adopt a parenting style that contributes to our child’s cognitive and emotional development in the most beneficial manner. 

 

Parenting Styles

In psychology, academics have come to identify four main parenting styles, with most parents adopting one primary style of parenting with their children. These four styles are: Permissive, Authoritative, Uninvolved and Authoritarian. The styles are based on 2 psychological dimensions: warmth and need for control. Warmth, essentially, refers to how much care one expresses and shows to a child, while the need for control indicates how much one feels the need to have authority over a child’s behaviour. If you are a parent, take this opportunity to identify your own parenting style and understand how it can influence the process of your child’s psychological maturation!

 

A Permissive parent has high warmth and low need for control. Individuals with this style of parenting tend to show their children lots of affection and care, and also permit them to ‘‘do whatever they want’’. Permissive parents have very little behavioural expectations, and thus rarely discipline their children even if they misbehave. While this behaviour comes from good intentions (as permissive parents believe they are showing love to their children), having low behavioural expectations on children might condition them to always expect things to go their way, increasing the likelihood of impulsive behaviour.

 

An Authoritative parent has both high warmth and high need for control. Authoritative parents have higher expectations for their children and tend to enforce these expectations through encouragement instead of punishment. Authoritative parents allow the natural consequences of poor behaviour to play out for their children, allowing them to self-learn positive behaviour. This method of parenting also encourages autonomy in children, which is known to boost their self-esteem and cognitive growth. In general, most studies find that authoritative parenting produces children that are more emotionally mature and independent as compared to other parenting styles. 

 

Authoritarian parents are low in warmth and have a high need for control. This usually results in extremely strict punishments for children who misbehave. While the child learns to associate misbehaviour with punishment and will eventually learn to stop, excessive punishments have been found to build up resentment in children, especially towards their parents. Furthermore, punishment for misbehaviour teaches children to easily resort to anger when things don’t go their way, making them liable to have anger issues in the future.

 

Finally, an Uninvolved parent has both low warmth and low need for control. Typically, uninterested parents ignore their child, giving them free rein to do whatever they want. Unlike the Permissive parent, however, uninvolved parents rarely show any form of affection for their children, which usually leads to their children being emotionally withdrawn as they grow up, with possible anxiety or trust issues as a result of their childhood. 

Being Authoritative

In general, the authoritative style of parenting is found to produce children that are emotionally and mentally mature. While showing affection to your children is important, there is also a need to set behavioural expectations for them wherever necessary. Enforcing these expectations in a productive manner, such as letting them explore the consequences or benefits of certain behaviours autonomously, typically helps them to develop into emotionally independent yet empathetic individuals. 

 

With a better understanding of the four styles of parenting, you can now evaluate your current parenting style! If needed, make changes to your need for control of your child’s behaviour and the warmth and affection you show to them. Like most things in life, parenting is a balance; enforcing behavioural expectations in a productive manner and showing care, love and affection to your child will ensure a positive childhood experience for him or her! 

 

Parenting can be tough and confusing, but if you would like additional resources on children, do check out our wide range of online content, which includes educational videos, podcasts and e-books. The aim of our digital downloads is to provide content that can help enrich parents with some understanding of possible problems that may arise as your children are growing up, and how to deal with them. If you would like to arrange for a consultation, do contact us and we would be happy to assist you!