Parents are often left in a dilemma when it comes to the parenting styles they ought to embrace in raising up their children. They are torn between applying the researches that they have carried out on the subject and approaching parenting from the experience of how they were raised as children. Perhaps one might suppress the idea of raising their children as they were raised when they were young. On the other hand, others might argue that since their parents were harsh on them and it worked out, then the same will work for his or her children. Both responses, however, forms the fundamental grounds of formulating sound principals of rearing children.
One might not even put into question his or her parenting styles not until one start having problems with their children. In this case, it will appear to the parent as if the current parental styles currently in use cease working for no tangible reason. It is important to note that proper parenting does not come naturally, and is equally not an easy responsibility. However, parents ought to learn parenting skills, in order to tackle the challenges that good parenting present. It involves a parent identifying a sound and practical parenting style and then taking the time to train and put it into practice.
Effective parenting can be equated to a complex puzzle that has burn out experts and, therefore, becoming a topic of brewing debates. Psychologists dating back to the 1920s have studied the concept of good parenting and the influences it has on children in detail. It appears that most of them agreed upon a common ground that Diana Baumrind's three parenting styles are the most effective. They include, permissive, democratic, and authoritative. They advocate for reliance of these parenting styles but seem to present the latter as the healthiest and balanced.
The concept of parenting can be perceived by many people as broad and without limits. This is informed by factors such as religious concepts, many differences that exist in different family values within the context of norm, among many other ideals that critically shapes how the parents deal with their children. Failure in parenting, however, should not be in any case solely blamed on specific instances but should be seen as typology of general practices carried out by parents(Whisman & McClelland, 2005).
This paper seeks to identify and explain in detail the parenting styles which appear most effective. In this case, parenting styles is usually evaluated using the behavior a child exhibits at a particular time in life and also later as a grown up. Success in all spheres of life is deemed as the end product of parenting. The paper will also seek to discuss the skills that parents ought to employ in their day to day parenting roles. However, we will begin by discussing the different types of parenting styles which are common in the past and currently. By discussing these styles, it will give us an insight into identifying the most effective parenting style.
Types of parenting styles
Parents who are authoritative attach much value to obedience. Such kinds of parents come up with stringent rules and regulations in which children are obligated to adhere to. Failure to which, it culminates into harsh punishments. The parent feeds information which he or she thinks is right to the child. If, in any case, the child misbehaves, it is considered as bending the rules and its price is strict punishment. This type of parenting style gained it dominance since the agrarian revolution with agrarian societies mostly comprising of western histories embracing it fully. It was considered effective in the societies which experience little change and accept one way of doing things.
For example, a teacher who is considered master (who turned out in most cases to be the parent) gives instructions to the child such as sowing seeds or weeding the fields. In return, the child was supposed to learn through imitating the expert. This is, however, contrary to today's society, which is experiencing, rapid changes in values choice and innovation (Wake, Nicholson, Hardy & Smith, 2007). This parenting style, however, has inherent weaknesses since it leads into children rebelling because of strict punishment. Authoritative parenting style holds spanking which models violence as a solution to a problem. This contradicts the societies that believe and attach significant value to peaceful solutions. Moreover, if a child is raised by making him or her follow the expert, then he or she will copy anyone including characters with undesirable traits.
This type of parenting holds that children should not be constantly monitored but encouraged to think on their own. This parenting style dominated the 1950's and 60's as a reaction to the horrors brought about by the World War II. A permissive parent never inhibits the child in whatever he or she sets out to perform. Instead, parents do take what appears to be hands off approach and let children learn through the consequences of their actions (Warash, 2007). Unlike in authoritative parenting, which perceives punishment, as a channel of learning, permissive parenting ignores punishment of all natures.
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The style, however, is not devoid of weaknesses and shortcomings. Despite regarding characters raised under permissive style as creative and original, they not only experience trouble living in a highly populated community but they have problems in fitting into the work-force. The fact that negative behavior is ignored means that no information about the expected behavior is gained. Consider an instance where a child bullies another one, permissive parenting will not reprimand the action. This means that the bully wins and the passive child succumbs to the torture. This might end up becoming problematic in the victims future life. We can argue that this style of parenting ingrain aggressive patterns in children since they are not guided to find societal acceptable ways.
The popularity of this style of parenting rose in 50's and 60's because the parents and other adults were there to guide the children patiently to discover the consequences of their actions. However, the waning popularity of permissive parenting in the recent years owes to the fact that the society is pacing fast, and that multitudes of parents hardly find time to observe their children. It should be noted that lack of clear limits contributes to a child's insecurity, confusion, and making of poor choices.
This style of parenting involves parents establishing basic guidelines for children to follow. Besides clarification of issues they also give reason for the limits they set. Democratic parents stress on the importance of taking responsibility. Furthermore, children are trained in many ways in making informed choices and guided to see the consequences of the choices they make. When it comes to handling cases of misbehavior, the parent employ appropriate measures or sits down with the child and agree upon acceptable ways through which desires are met. Children who have gone out of control are given ample time to cool off instead of subjecting them to immediate punishment. This style involves the child in reconciling parties under friction.
Democratic parenting seem to be the way to go in today's fast pacing information age where right is perceived from different angles. The children raised by this style of parenting are natured into responsible characters. These characters also make sound choices, easily cope with changes, and prove worthy in work-places that rely upon cooperation in solving problems.
The most effective parenting style
Having looked at the tree most common styles of parenting, the question, therefore, of which is an effective style of the three arise. One may be torn between which style to apply because each and every style has its own strengths and weaknesses. In my own opinion and through keen observation on how many parents raise their kids; I take authoritative parenting to be the most effective of the three. Authoritative style of parenting sounds a broad concept. The parenting style combines the engagement of parents responsiveness as well as their demanding nature vis a vis the age of a child.
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In this case, the responsiveness of the parent on one hand refers to the intention of the parent to foster self- regulatory skills, individuality, and self assertion by showing support and adjusting to the desires and the needs of a child. On the other hand, what I mean by a parent being demanding is that he is responsible for controlling the behavior of a child that seems inappropriate. It also involves the willingness of a parent to enforce gentle disciplinary efforts by confronting and reprimanding a child who intentionally makes a mistake or openly disobeys.
Authoritative parenting gives the parent a chance to apply certain activities that are specific to the ages to set disciplinary limitations. However, parents cannot go to the extent of fully taking over control of their children's life. Instead, parents need to acknowledge that there exist different personality styles, ideas, and different life perspectives more so when a child is in adolescent stage. Gurus in the field of parenting also view authoritative style of parenting as the most effective and advocate for its use alongside attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is a technique often put to use during early stages of childhood. Attachment parenting has Dr William Sears and Martha who doubles up as his wife, as its proponents.
The two proponents were the first to give description to attachment parenting arguing that it demands high responsiveness from the parents. This style of parenting negates the belief that when a child cries, it should not be attended to immediately but instead leave it to cry for sometime. This is because immediate response will amount to spoiling the child. However, attachment parenting subscribers assert that crying is a baby's only instinctive and survival tool which it uses as their means of communicating to the whole world.
Application of both authoritative and attachment styles of parenting is regarded as the most effective parenting styles in the world today. This argument is informed by the fact that children who are raised by this style of parenting often show positive results in all spheres of life. Attachment parenting, in particular stresses on the emotional closeness between the parent and the child in order to promote social competency, as well as instill self esteem later in life. If one analyzes the two styles of effective parenting closely, then he or she will realize that they share similarities in that they both respond to the needs of children and correcting wayward behaviors in an effort to raise individuals who are emotionally, intellectually, and socially competent (Santrock, 2007).
In order to ascertain the effectiveness of these parenting styles that I have mentioned one ought to subject them to a test. The test is a simple exercise, where one question, whether the parenting style deemed appropriate meet the most fundamental tenets of parenting. In other words, it is analyzing the outcome of the parenting style in question. In our case, after running a test on authoritative style of parenting, I established that it beat the others in shaping the character of an individual; in a positive way. For instance, I found out that the style is easy to implement and produces positive results on the behavior. Secondly, the style can be effective through all stages of life that is from childhood to adolescent.
This has proved to work since time immemorial. Thirdly, authoritative and attachment parenting nurtures children to be cooperative, happy, as well as responsible individuals. It also offers a platform in which children and parents develop loving and healthy relationships. Finally, attachment parenting and authoritative parenting styles gives a chance to father and mother to raise these children to be responsible adults, who can cope with today's world, characterized by myriad challenges.
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As we have seen above, authoritative and attachment parenting styles produce positive results in children and, therefore; they should not hesitate but adopt them. It should, however, be noted that parenting styles can be adopted with consideration of other factors that may hinder or enhance different styles. There are other contexts where certain parenting styles do not fully apply no matter how hard one tries. In such environments, it is upon the parent to gauge and decide on the parenting style to put into use.
Nurturing parenting skills
Having looked at the styles that are effective in parenting, I am obliged to give tips to parents on skills which they ought to employ to make application of authoritative and attachment parenting styles easy. These tips might appear minute, but they play a crucial role in effecting parenting styles. The points I am going to present are informed by the fact that parenting involves bonding between the parent and the child in an effort to shape the latter (Smetana, 2008). Parents, therefore, ought to equip themselves with the skills below.
Setting an example
First and foremost, parents ought to set an excellent example if they want their children to idolize them. This may be done through talking them into seeing the hard work you are putting to better their lives. Parents should also recount how hard work elevated them to successful positions. Moreover, create a loving and peaceful home environment. This will earn you respect, and children will listen to the advice given to them.
This involves using overt gestures such as hugging, cuddling and kissing the child to instill security and confidence in them. Researches indicate that children who lack a sense of intimacy and closeness from parents tend to develop problems with their social life in late life.
In most cases, children feel loved when the parents show that they care about the things that they do. For instance, if a parent helps out on an assignment as well as getting involved in their hobbies, then the child gains confidence. This in the end develops them into better individuals.
Keep track of friends
It is necessary for parents to know the friends of his or her child. This will help because, through monitoring, the parent will assist in eliminating bad company. It also instills a sense of security because the child knows that the parent is there for him in case he is bullied. This makes a significant difference in a child's life.
Engaging in talk
Engaging in constant talks with a child allows bonding to take place. It is a practice that ought to be inculcated from infancy. Parent- child talk allows both to identify the problems each face and, therefore, easy to provide solutions.
In conclusion, this research paper has discussed the different parenting styles that are common today and how each style works. It has also discussed authoritative and attachment parenting as the most effective styles of parenting. Lastly, the paper concludes by giving parents skills to incorporate into the parenting styles they choose.