New York, October 8th, 2011
By Dana Greco,LCSW and Don Desroches
Generally, there are three types parenting that we tend to exhibit with our kids. Depending on our own family of origin we have either taken on the style of our own parents or swung the other way. Much of what we see as parents today is a pendulum swing away from the way we were raised. Who is to say when the pendulum will swing back if it ever does? In the meantime the following are three styles that may be familiar to you. Some parents feel they are a little of each, that’s typical, the awareness of when each style emerges is what we as parents should pay attention to, for the sake of the children who are receiving the discipline and messages, read on and ask yourself, which parent are you?
Authoritarian is defined as strict rules, and for the child the failure to obide by these rules result in punishment, authoritarian parents don’t feel the need to explain themselves when enforcing rules. This upbringing became a problem when they became adults and found it very difficult to trust their own judgment, make decisions for themselves or think independently. These children are disallowed to show emotion. Parents who rule under this are usually the ones who believe that would rather be feared (respected),then loved.
Affirmative parenting is a more democratic style, parents are willing to listen to their children and be more responsive. Parents offer more support than punishment. These children grow up to self-regulate their thoughts and feelings because they were given the opportunity to think for themselves and be asked more about how they feel, even though they may not always get their way they were encouraged to formulate their own opinions and ideas, however, they learned that their parents have the final say. These parents want respect and love.
Laissez-Faire parenting is not to be confused with the political term. The term loosely applies to the sound of it “lazy”. The laissez-fair parent is uninvolved with the concerns of their child, these are the parents that can put their needs first at the expense of their children, parents, who fail to maintain structure and give them the maximum amount of freedom. These children grow up to be rebellious, irresponsible and with some psychological distress.