The idea of parenting is both exciting and scary as during the course there are so many things to know and to decide. A child changes the life of parents with his /her arrival. It’s all decision making for parents from the birth to the later stages of their child’s life. The list starts from bottle or breast feed, work or stays at home, to the later decisions like schools, meals, and other activities. During all these stages the important thing is the style and attitude parents choose to influence and teach their child.
Parenting style refers to the broad overall pattern of parental actions, rather than to a single act.
Diana Baumrind and other researchers in child development have identified two ingredients in children with the qualities like independence, maturity, self control, self reliance, friendliness, and achievement orientation. These ingredients are
· Responsiveness, or warmth and supportiveness
· Demandingness or behavioral control
Four types of parenting styles are listed below:
Authoritarian, or extremely strict, parents are highly controlling. They dictate how their children should behave. They stress obedience to authority and discourage discussion. They are demanding and directive. They expect their orders to be obeyed and do not encourage give-and-take. They have low levels of sensitivity and do not expect their children to disagree with their decisions.
Authoritative, or moderate, parents set limits and rely on natural consequences for children to learn from making their own mistakes. Authoritative parents explain why rules are important and why they must be followed. They reason with their children and consider the children's point of view even though they might not agree. They are firm, with kindness, warmth and love. They set high standards and encourage children to be independent.
Permissive, or indulgent, parents are accepting and warm but exert little control. They do not set limits, and allow children to set their own rules and schedules and activities. They do not make demands about behavior as authoritarian or authoritative parents do.
Uninvolved parents demand little and respond minimally. In extreme cases, this parenting style might entail neglect and rejection.
Effect of Parenting style on childern
Research has found that the best adjusted children, particularly in terms of social competence, have parents with an authoritative, moderate parenting style. These parents are able to balance clearly stated, high demands with emotional responsiveness and respect for their child's autonomy. Both authoritian and authoritative parents have high expectations of their children and use control, but the overly strict parent expects the child to unquestioningly accept parental judgments and allows the child little freedom of expression. Children of overly strict parents are apt to be reliant on the voice of authority and to be lacking in spontaneity. In contrast, the authoritative parent permits the child enough freedom of expression so that he or she can develop a sense of independence. Permissive parents make few demands and their children have been found to have difficulty controlling their impulses, and can be immature and reluctant to accept responsibility.
Differences in children's temperament can be seen even in infancy. Researchers have delineated three broad styles of temperament, as follows:
- Easy children are calm, happy, adaptable, regular in sleeping and eating habits, positive in mood and interested in new experiences.
- Difficult children are often fussy, irregular in feeding and sleeping habits, low in adaptability, fearful of new people and situations, easily upset, high strung, and intense in their reactions.
- Slow to warm up children are relatively inactive, reflective, tend to withdraw or to react negatively to novelty, but their reactions gradually become more positive with experience.
What parents should keep in mind
· Think about how your own temperament style meshes with your child's temperament style.
· Be attuned to your child's temperament and encourage her to accomplish tasks at her own pace.
· Make your expectations clear. Setting limits will help your child develop self control.
· Encourage children to work with you on generating solutions to problems.
· Make communication a priority. Be open to discussion; take time to explain your decisions and motives and listen to your children's point of view.
· Make them aware that their opinions are respected, but remain firm in your decisions.
· Respect each child's individual strengths and don't compare children.