Parenting Styles: Which Way is the Best Way to Raise Your Kids?

ID-10034470Parenting is no longer a purely intuitive process: these days, most people want pointers on how to be good parents.  It is no accident, then, that child development and psychology have become  lucrative fields, as evidenced by the never ending lists of parenting books and websites. 

Awareness of parenting strategies became popular in the 1940s when Dr. Benjamin Spock introduced his ground-breaking work Baby and Child Care. Since then, a myriad of parenting methods have popped up in the self-help marketplace.  However over the past ten years, many child psychologists agree on the fact that parenting styles can be divided into three groups: Authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive:

  • Authoritative/democratic: Authoritative parents are all about balance. On the one hand, they are interested in producing well-adjusted, well-educated and hardworking kids but on the other hand, they also want to make sure their kids get some enjoyment out of their lives through play, creativity and collaborative decision-making. Authoritative parents combine discipline and boundaries with warmth and love. They value their children’s feelings and input but still remain the heads of the household. Authoritative parents are not their children’s friends, but they are not their children’s masters, either.
  • Permissive parents: Permissive parents let their kids sit in the driver’s seat. They feel as though all members of the family are equal and thus they shun hierarchies and authority. Permissive parents feel that kids can make their own choices and thus they try not to interfere via discipline or the setting of boundaries. Permissive parents want their children to grow up with a high sense of self-esteem and self-worth, and they feel that harsh punishment interferes with this process.
  • Authoritarian parents: Authoritarian parents use discipline and structure to create an efficient household, but an authoritarian household is not a democracy: children simply do as they are told. A very strict, clear system of rules and regulations rule the authoritarian home and these types of parents believe that children can only mature properly when tightly controlled.

So which parenting style is right for you? That all depends on how you look at life, but many child psychologists agree that authoritative parenting produces the healthiest children because it is all about creating balance. It is suggested that children need to be loved, heard, and mirrored in order to grow up with an intact sense of self, but they also need boundaries and discipline in order to learn empathy—that the world and its subjects do not revolve around them. Conversely it is suggested that the other two parenting styles—permissive and authoritarian—cause children to develop either too much or too little self-worth, resulting in lower overall levels of self-esteem.  

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