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We all want to raise intelligent, confident, and successful kids. But where to begin? And what’s the best parenting style to go with? Parenting styles fall under four main categories. It might be that you use one or more of these different styles at different times, depending on the situation and context. It could be Permissive, Neglectful, Authoritative, and/or Authoritarian.
Research tells us that authoritative parenting is ranked highly in a number of ways: Academic, social-emotional, and behavioral. Similar to authoritarian parents, authoritative parents expect a lot from their children — but they expect even more from their own behavior.
What is authoritative parenting?
Authoritative parents are supportive and often in tune with their children’s needs. They guide their kids through open and honest discussions to teach values and reasoning. Like authoritarian parents, they set limits and enforce standards. But unlike authoritarian parents, they’re much more nurturing.
Some common traits of authoritative parents:
Authoritative parenting is especially helpful when dealing with conflict because the way we learn to deal with conflict at a young age plays a big role in how we handle our losses or how resilient we are in our adult lives.
With permissive parents, solutions to conflicts are generally up to the child. The child “wins” and the parent “loses.” I’ve seen this approach lead to kids becoming more self-centered and less able to self-regulate.
Of course, there are times when a punishment, like taking a time out, is necessary. But the problem with constant punishment is that it doesn’t actually teach your kid anything helpful. In most cases, it teaches them that the person with the most power wins, fair or not.
Let’s say your 10-year-old son begs not to go to soccer practice: “I don’t want to because I don’t think I’m good at it.”
While authoritative parents do set limits and expect their kids to behave responsibly, they don’t just demand blind obedience. They communicate and reason with the child, which can help inspire cooperation and teach kids the reason behind the rules.
Authoritative parenting doesn’t guarantee success
While experts give authoritative parenting the most praise, it’s important to note that using just one method does not always guarantee positive outcomes. Parenting isn’t an exact science. In many ways, it’s more like an art. As a child psychologist and mother, my advice is to be loving and understanding — but to also create structure and boundaries.
Don’t simply focus on punishment. Be supportive and really listen to your child. Ask them questions and try to understand things from their point of view. Allow them into the decision-making process so that they can grow and learn things on their own.
There’s a difference between parenting styles and parenting practices. A parenting style is the emotional climate in which you raise your child, and a parenting practice is a specific action that parents employ in their parenting. In short, behave as the good human you want them to be.
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