What is your parenting style? Can your parenting style cause your children more harm than good?

Please take a moment to think about these questions: Is my parenting style a healthy one for my children? Am I over-parenting or under-parenting? Is my parenting style in my child/children’s best interest? Will my parenting style cripple or enhance my children as they grow into adulthood?

Let us start with over-parenting and under-parenting. Research shows that over parenting styles can be grouped into 2 major types: “helicopter parenting,” in which almost every move and action of a child is watched in order to keep the child safe.

People who do this are called helicopter parents because, like helicopters, they hover around every move that their children make, trying to oversee and supervise all aspects of their lives, including in social interactions.

The second style under the over-parenting group is “bulldozer parenting” (sometimes called snow-plougher parenting), in which parents try and remove every potential danger along the child’s way. These 2 styles affect how independent children grow up to be, their mental health and self-esteem negatively.

On the other hand, under-parenting can also lead to negative behavioral outcomes in children. Poor level of parental involvement can make children vulnerable to peer influence. In order wards, if parents fail to provide the right level of parental guidance, either due to over-parenting or under parenting children might turn to peer culture. So what kind of parent should you strive to be?

Well, it’s best to start by know what kind of parent you are now and what the outcome of your parenting style might be. After finding out, then you should determine areas that you want to improve on. My best advice is that you should find a balance that works for you and your family based on your knowledge of various styles and possible outcomes.

Are you an Authoritarian Parent?
Do you believe that:

  • Children should be seen and not heard?
  • You are always right and that your children must always obey your rules or
    they will be punished?
  • Children are too young to know what is good for them so their feelings should
    not be taken into consideration?

Authoritarian parents do not believe in negotiating situations with their children, they are more focused on getting their children to be obedient. They do not involve their children in finding solutions to problems or obstacles. Instead of teaching children to make better choices, authoritarian parents might punish them or find other ways to make the children feel sorry for breaking rules.

While is it possible for children of authoritarian parents to sometimes do well academically, they stand the risk of growing up with low self-esteem and poor leadership skills. They could also turn out to be aggressive as a way of compensating for their lack of confidence since they were not raised to take responsibility for their actions.

Are you a permissive parent?
Do you:

  • set rules but hardly ever enforce them?
  • overlook it when your child breaks rules and avoid enforcing consequences?

Permissive parents are usually indulgent and see themselves more as their child’s friend than an adult who is responsible for raising the child. They will only try and enforce rules if a serious problem arises. They are not able to be consistent in their approach, for instance, if a child offends then begs, they will give back privileges without seeing that the child is really sorry for their actions.

Children who are raised this way are also likely to have low self-esteem and struggle academically because they lack any form of structure. They may also develop behavioral problems because they have difficulty coping with authority and rules.

Are you an uninvolved parent?
Do you:

  • spend little time with your children?
  • hardly ever ask your children about school or homework?
  • rarely know where your children are or who they are with?
  •  do you find yourself compensating for spending time away from your children by indulging them, giving expensive gifts, etc?

Uninvolved parents tend to spend little time with their children. This might be because they are preoccupied with work or financial responsibilities of providing for the children and household. Children raised this way are likely to end up struggling with self-esteem issues and become easily influenced by peer pressure.

Are you an Authoritative Parent?
Do you:

  • put a lot of effort into cultivating and maintaining a close relationship with your children?
  • take time to explain the reasons behind the rules that you expect them to follow?
  • answer questions that they raise about your rules?
  • explain the consequences that go with breaking the rule that they are expected to follow?
  • find out why your child breaks a rule before deciding whether or not consequences will be applied?
  • use positive discipline strategies like reinforcing good behavior such as praise and reward systems?

Children raised this way stand a better chance of growing into responsible adults who are better able to hold and express their opinions. Ultimately, now that you know what type of parenting style you have been engaging, the important thing is to endeavor to be loving but firm, while giving your children enough freedom to develop their own interests and a sense of independence. Even if they make some mistakes while trying, be there to offer support.

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