In modern psychology, there are four basic styles of parenting, defined by two different criteria. Authoritative parenting is considered the model style of parenting, with permissive and authoritarian parenting being damaging to children, and neglectful parenting being the worst of all. It is important to learn the different styles of parenting so that you can learn how to be a parent, rather than a friend, a bully, or absent entirely.
The two factors that contribute to the type of parenting are attentiveness and discipline. Authoritative parents are warm, loving, and attend to a child’s needs. However, they also impose discipline and require a certain behavior from their child. This balance of love and discipline is essential for a child to grow up in a balanced way. Authoritative parents set a bed time, enforce rules, communicate with their child, and often push their child to participate in extracurricular activities and perform well at school.
Authoritarian parenting, on the other hand, keeps the discipline but takes the love and understanding out of the equation. Authoritarian parents require strict behavior standards, but are not attentive to their child’s needs. Children in authoritarian households are often verbally or physically abused, and are held to impossibly high standards with strict consequences for failure. These children often rebel against their parents and other authority figures, because they associate rules with abuse.
Permissive parenting in the opposite of authoritarian parenting. Permissive parents shower children with love and affection, and give them everything they need and many things they want. However, they are reluctant to impose discipline, preferring to ask children to do things instead of ordering them. Permissively parented children lack self-discipline that is taught in childhood by external discipline. They often will not finish homework or chores, and tend to do poorly in the working world. Permissive parenting is often referred to as being a friend rather than a parent, because permissive parents are more concerned with getting along with their children than parenting them.
Neglectful parenting is the most harmful style of parenting, and is defined by a lack of care and discipline. Neglectful parents are often very busy, and do not have adequate time to care for a child. Children in these households are free to stay out as long as they want, eat what they like, and get any grades at school without consequence. Neglectful parents will often not know where their children are, how they are performing in school, or whether they ate dinner before dessert. These children often get home to an empty home after school and are expected to cook their own meals and do homework unsupervised until the parent returns home. Neglected children are at a high risk for getting involved in dangerous or criminal activities like drugs and violence.
Being a parent is an important balance of discipline and care. Leaving out one of these criteria will make it difficult for a child to become a complete person. Children without enough care often turn rebellious, while children without enough discipline lack the self discipline to get along in the world. Children lacking both will lack a sense of direction entirely. Be careful to parent in an authoritative way so your children have the best chance in life.