Many people still ask themselves how to be a better parent and if changing their style of parenting can help this process along. Whether you want to try nurturing parenting, permissive parenting, or even a more authoritative parenting style, each approach has its own unique effects on childhood development.
According to an article by education psychologist Kendra Cherry, researchers have found it difficult to discover a direct “cause-and-effect” link between parental styles and differing behaviors in children. However, through various studies like those of psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, links between parenting styles and their effects on children have been discovered. These studies show that a majority of parents fall into one of three parenting styles based on discipline, communication, warmth, and expectations of maturity.
The first style of parenting is authoritarian parenting. In this style, children are placed under strict control of their parents with little nurturing. Parents that follow this style often place various pressures on their children and have certain expectations of behavior. If their child fails to reach these expectations, punishment is often the result. Authoritarian parenting can cause children to become obedient and proficient. However, these children also rank lower in areas of self-esteem, social competence, and happiness.
Authoritative parenting is the second style. It is similar to authoritarian parenting in that parents create rules for their children to follow, but they’re more open to discussion and respond to their children more willingly. This is a more democratic style of parenting allowing rules to be put in place and also the flexibility to discuss them. Authoritative parents are assertive but not restrictive, allowing their children to develop creativity, communication skills, and the ability to self-regulate. Children of this style are often happy, more capable, and successful.
The final parenting style is permissive parenting. Parents in this style place few demands and have low expectations of maturity for their children. Permissive parents tend to be more responsive to their children, nurturing, and often non-traditional. However, children of permissive parents are more likely to be unhappy, lack self-regulation, have problems with authority, and perform poorly in school.
It is important to remember that while some styles seem to have better effects on children than others, social influences, culture, and the children themselves are all factors that can change the outcome of these styles. Each parenting style comes with its pros and cons for a child’s development, and teachers need to be aware of a child's home life and cultural background when assessing how to best communicate with and support them. This is especially try when challenging behaviors arise.