Do you ever wish that you had a toolbox that you could reach into and find just the right
tool to handle a particular issue as a parent? Most of us have wished kids came with a set of instructions. We all muddle through as best we can and for the most part, do pretty well! Over the past 27 years counseling families I have put together a toolbox of sorts, for parents that I will share with you over the next few weeks. Along the way, I’d love to hear from you about what you keep in your own parenting toolbox!
If you know me at all, you already know that I am extremely Pro-Family. All kinds of families- 2 parent traditional families, single-parent families, stepfamilies, families headed by gay couples, families headed by grandparents- they can all be successful at raising healthy children given the love, motivation and tools to do it. You may also know that I believe that children grow best in a family that has a healthy hierarchy where parents are the respected leaders in the family and the children are provided healthy limits and boundaries where they can feel safe and secure. One of the important challenges for parents is developing a healthy parenting style.
Let’s take a look at 4 parenting styles identified in the research*:
Permissive and Hostile parenting is unpredictable. These parents provide neither warmth nor needed limits which leaves these children anxious and unable to regulate their emotions.
Permissive and Loving parenting is caring and warm but not firm enough and does not provide enough supervision and guidance.
Authoritarian parenting is Hostile and Firm. These parents are firm but not nurturing. They are rigid and cold. Expectations are too high and discipline is harsh and shaming.
♥Authoritative parenting♥ should be our goal. It is both nurturing and firm. These parents provide consistent limit setting combined with warmth and affection. Their expectations are realistic. They provide the right combination of supervision and independence. The research firmly supports this parenting style and shows that it’s the best predictor for children’s well being, better school performance, better behavior, and
better emotional regulation.
The parenting style you use depends on many factors including the style your own parents used. Food for thought: Which style did your parents use? Which style are you using in your own family? How’s it working for you?
*Parenting Styles from the work of Dr. Daniel Amen (2000)