Am I a good parent? Am I being too overbearing/lenient? The perpetual doubt has lingered on in a parent's mind since time immemorial. And with good reason. Afterall, parenting is the most challenging role you are tasked with at some point in your life - and one that guarantees a lifetime of sweet rewards! Although advice on the matter can be found aplenty, there is no 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to raising children. And the very idea of a 'perfect parent' is an elusive goal becaue raising children is largely a trial and error process. Like parenting coach Sue Atkins says, "There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.”
With the dynamics in play between every parent-child pair being different and with every child being an individual in his/her own right, what works for one parent might backfire for another. But we can certainly benefit from an insight into some of the well defined parenting styles and reflect on where our individual styles fit in.
Identified first in 1966, this particular parenting style is also known as overprotective parenting style. Helicopter parents get involved in almost every activity of their child's every life and strongly influence the choices that shape their future. Although often criticized for its micro-managing approach, helicopter parenting style is said to have its own benefits in terms of positively influencing higher education and career success of children.
A parenting phlosophy conceptualized in 2009 by New York mother Lenore Skenazy, free range parents are the 'coolest' parents - completely okay with kids being at home unsupervised for periods of time or spending time outside home with their friends without checking on them constantly. They believe children can gain self-confidence and learn to be be self-reliant if allowed to engage in free play their surroundings and explore the world around them. Although several research studies have pointed to higher levels of creativity and emotional control in children raised through this approach, potential physical harm that might be caused to children and legal ramifications are seen to be its most significant downsides.
Undeniably the strictest parenting style, Authoritarians keep their expectations from children very high while keeping display of affection and rewards at a minimum. As against offering choices in lieu of punishment, authoritatians have zero tolerance for bad behaviour. Authoritarian parents do not consider it necessary to explain why rules must be followed - instead, they enforce adherance to rules without exception. Although advocates of this style of parenting believe it turns out well-mannered kids with a clear sense of right and wrong, critics of this style say that while children raised by authoritarian parents grow up to be obedient, they rank lower in happiness and self-esteem as adults.
Exact opposite of authoritarian, permissive parents give into every whim and fancy of their children and tend to avoid confrontation and punishment of any kind. Such parents are mainly interested in establishing a strong bond with their children and to be perceived as their friends in addition to being their parents. Although this parenting model tends to forge a sturdy bond of trust and friendship between the child and parent, critics believe that the cons outweigh the benefits. According to Donna Volpitta, founder of the Center for Resilient Leadership and proponent of the Resilient Mindset Model, “Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and the ability to regulate their behavior. They are more likely to have problems with authority and tend to have difficulty in school."