How Parenting Styles Affect Child Development

How Parenting Styles Affect Child Development

To have a child is a blessing, as it is a natural phenomenon to wish to see your own off-springs but parenting has its own set of struggles. It often gets difficult and confusing to make the right decisions and to give your children a good upbringing.

There are many questions that appear in the parent’s mind. Amongst them, one such question is to think- how much freedom is a good thing in a child's development? Will it make them rebellious if I say NO? Or will they become disobedient and careless if I say YES on every demand? 

It is crucial to know and discuss different parenting styles and how they affect the development and rearing of a child. 


Parenting Styles 

Before getting into the details of how child development is affected by the behavior of parents, let’s have a brief and simple introduction of parenting styles.   

Diana Baumrind (1927-2018) a well-known philosopher and a clinical psychologist, famous for her research and detailed analysis on different parenting styles, after her in-depth study on the matter, she concluded three different styles of parenting that are mostly displayed by parents. They are: 

  • Authoritarian: The strict, unresponsive and cold parenting 
  • Authoritative: Supportive, accepting and communicative parenting
  • Permissive: Indulgent and lenient parenting  

The parenting styles theory of Baumrind suggests that there is an association between different parenting styles and its consequences on a child's behavior. Maccoby and Martin (1983) proposed a fourth parenting style “uninvolved parenting” which is basically splitting of permissive parenting style into two: Indulgent and uninvolved parenting. 

What is Authoritarian parenting? 

The parents practicing authoritarian parenting are high in demand and low in responsiveness. i.e., they have very high expectations from their children. They demand good grades, high achievements, and obedience in every regard yet are cold and unresponsive to the emotional and mental health of children.

Punishment plays the key role in this parenting style, even small mistakes and little faults are strictly punished. Parents do not permit a word from children while making rules and leave no space for healthy communication. Children are only allowed to follow whatever the parents say with no explanation provided.  

Impact on children 

Children under authoritarian parents: 

  • Have low self-esteem and are fearful of social gatherings
  • They are obedient but over a price of great mental stress
  • These children are depressed, unhappy and exhibit great anger issues
  • They are prone to suicide and other mental illnesses

What is Authoritative parenting?

Authoritative parents are high in demand and responsiveness. i.e., they have high hopes from their children in academics, manners, and other life skills plus they also do provide their children with due support, warmth, and nurturance.

These parents set certain limits and boundaries for their children but are flexible and give reasoning behind any rule and decision. They are open to healthy communication. They listen to their child and enforce discipline through positive reinforcement. 

Impact on children

Researches prove that authoritative parenting style is the best parenting style. Children of these parents:

  • Tend to be happy, self-reliant and confident to explore new environments 
  • They are well-behaved, socially competent and exhibit good emotional regulation
  • These children are high achievers, assertive and good decision-makers
  • They have better coping skills and less mental health problems

What is Permissive parenting? 

Permissive parenting is known for its low demand and high responsiveness. i.e., these parents have little or no expectations from their children. They provide warmth and love without any attempt to control or discipline their child.

These parents rarely make any kind of rules and do ask the opinion of their child. They allow freedom and demand no responsibility. 

Impact on children

Children who are reared by permissive parents:

  • Exhibit no self-regulation, face difficulty in following rules and discipline in school
  • They score low on happiness index and academic achievements  
  • They cannot take orders or work under the authority of others
  • Are more prone to substance abuse and delinquency 

A Word for Parents 

Parenting style and practice is an important factor in a child's upbringing, their behavioral outcomes and development but there are other important factors too that shape the child’s conduct and habits. Like the environmental influences, peer pressure, cultural and social impact, the fast-growing hold of social media and most importantly the child’s own temperament. These things are important to consider when ultimately choosing a parenting style to use.

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