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Not All Parenting Styles Are Created Equal

On episode 10 of our podcast “One Day You’ll Thank Me”, my teen host Anna and I fun and interesting conversation about the various types of parenting styles. Anna and I define each parenting style, describe the impact of these parenting styles on children's behavior and thought patterns, and provide relatable examples from real life and media.

Our goal for this topic, is for you to learn the characteristics of each parenting style, reflect on your own parenting style to see where you land, and what possible changes could be made in those areas that are not going as smoothly as you would like.

Much of the content discussed in this episode on parenting styles incorporates research originally pioneered by Diana Baumrind from the 1960s. Subsequent research has supported and expanded upon her original work.

So where do you think you land in the following four types of parenting?

Lets dive in into the different types:

1) Authoritarian parenting style: strict, unresponsive to emotional content, quick to yell or punish, impatient, critical, condescending, inflexible, tend not to explain the rules and instead say “just do it” or “because I said so”.

This type of parenting style is very stressful for kids. They often do not feel supported and feel talked down to, they do not really understand the rules that they have been given. This can tend to go in one of two ways, becoming meek, low self esteem, defeated, misunderstood, isolated, feel like “my parents don’t know me or understand me”. Or it can go the other way, where the kid becomes very rebellious and when the parent yells, the kids yells back or when the parent has very strict rules they sneak out and experiment with things they probably shouldn’t be. They are prone to have the thoughts that no matter what they do, it isn’t going to please their parents.

Some examples of this we had fun with discussing: Red Foreman from That 70s Show, Richard Spier from The Babysitter's Club

2) Permissive parenting style: the most commonly seen in my work with families, expectations for their child are low, overprotective of their child's emotional state, over-accommodating, has low demands for child because they feel the kid can’t tolerate any discomfort, struggles to set boundaries with kids and maintain authority, cannot tolerate their child being uncomfortable (resulting in kids becoming unable to handle experiencing discomfort, like sleeping alone)

These kids start to feel incompetent in life; they can be very whiny, always asking for a lot of things, clingy, bossy, demanding, crave structure, quick to cry or be angry, don’t accept blame “you made me do it”, “its your fault”. Have hard time excepting the word no.

An example of this parenting style would be a kid sleeping in their parent's bed when parents really don't want them to (this is a separate issue than co-sleeping), but they allow it because they don’t think the the child can handle any discomfort. The kid says they are afraid to be alone because they are scared and the parent feels they have to make it better, so they allow them to come into the bed.

A permissive parent may also be the one that wants to be the “cool” parent and the best friend.

Our media examples of the permissive parents were Regina George from Mean Girls, Lily VanderWoodsen from Gossip Girl

3) Uninvolved parenting style: parents are less engaged, unresponsive to emotional cues, not invested in the nuanced aspect of parenting, non-confrontational, appease their children in a disinterested way, superficial relationship with child, poor supervision (such as with social media), low demands for child which can impair the child's motivation.

Sometimes these parents need to see concrete troubling behaviors before they can believe that there is any type problem, they may resist and think that everything is fine. Often these kids feel unloved, unseen, find it hard to be motivated and reach their potential, feels as if nobody cares enough if they are successful or not.

Fun examples we came up with for this type of parent are: Selina Myers from Veep, Johnny and Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek

4) Authoritative parenting style: the most beneficial parenting style, they ask questions and account for kid's opinion, but don't put children in the position of making adult decisions, demonstrates emotional responsiveness, fair & reasonable consequences that are followed through upon, allow kids to feel discomfort and help them cope, fosters a sense of competence in kids, factors in the word count of kids, finding balance between responsiveness and structure, using humor to connect, reinforcing positive behavior, taking into account their developmental stage and maturity level, guiding and supporting versus controlling or dismissive.

These kids know that they have input and feel heard, but are not given the ability to make decisions that aren’t appropriate for their age, and they understand that those are adult decisions.

These kids also know that there are consequences for rules broken, the rules are usually predictable. This helps them to feel safe and know what to expect. They are empowered to feel the good things and the bad things, their parents are there to help them cope with things that are sad or disappointing, creating a sense of well being in the child.

As I mentioned, these parents may be more aware of word count (monitoring the amount of talking you are doing) in their communication, looking for cues to see if the child is hearing you and engaged or if they tune out or bored. If the latter, then you probably over shot your word count and used too many words. Best way is to be mindful of words, be impactful and then end it.

Summary tips for parents:

  • Always make sure consequences are fair and reasonable

  • Be sure to praise positive behavior, let them know when they are doing a good job

  • Allow them to experience all the great things in life, but not protecting from uncomfortable moments

  • Being aware of what they can handle maturity wise and age appropriate, holding them to standard

  • Keep a positive tone, letting them know that you believe in them, they are an intelligent likeable, capable person, so they can feel supported and guided by you vs. punished and dismissed

To hear all of the conversation on parenting styles and/or to share with another parent, click here: Not All Parenting Styles Are Created Equal

To learn more about Dr. Egan's online mini-course called "Managing Your Family's Technology and Social Media", created to help parents eliminate power struggles, keep your family safe from internet misuse, and reconnect with your family, please click RIGHT HERE.

To hear the podcast in its entirety go to COVID-19, Teens, & Social Media

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