Every person in the universe is unique. No two persons are the same, not even twins. We have our own set of traits, how we deal with the world and how we go about carrying out our roles. We are all different as a student, a friend or as an employee.
One very important role, we take in our lifetime, is parenting. And it is not just a gene-giving, budget-allotting job. It is so much more than that. Being a parent is all about the life of a child, the child you will raise, rear, bring up, look after, nurture, take care, love and call your own.
Yet, there is no Parenting Manual. They say it is innate and instinctive. It’s just a matter of remembering how we were reared ourselves. Sometimes, though, it is the opposite. Some parents decide to give their child something that was not given to them when they were growing up. It may be also be the other way around, when parents decide not to give their child what was given to them growing up. In an ideal world, all these are done, for the well-being of the child.
I, myself, for example had both my parents working 8-5. Both of them leave early and turn in late. I grew up closer to my nanny than to my mommy. We only got close to one other when my nanny had to leave and we were not able to get a replacement.
At 10, I have my own set of house keys.
My parents gave me and my brother heavy responsibilities when we were young. At 10 years old, I was given my own set of house keys. I leave an empty house for school and also go home to an empty house after school. Cooking rice and heating the main dish for dinner were also my tasks before my parents and brother arrive. On weekends, I clean the house and do the laundry as well. Of course, I hated these chores back then!
Now that I am a parent, I find myself trying to spend time with my son, day in and day out. I am fortunate to have a flexible schedule at my job and to live nearby. Because of this, we need not hire a nanny. I help him prepare for school in the morning and I come home before he does every day. So this is the exact opposite of me growing up with a nanny. But, get this, the chores I hated doing back then, I am trying to instill in him today. I want to teach him responsibility early, as I had been. At 9, he does kitchen tasks like setting the table and washing dishes. Concerned about how to introduce household chores to your kids? Read it here. You can start by assigning simple tasks to them like watering the plant.
Each of us have a particular way to carry out this vital responsibility. In 1966, a developmental psychologist, Diana Blumberg Baumrind defined three parenting styles which, I will summarize below.
According to her, Parenting Styles are “the representation of how parents respond to and make demands on their children. The quality of parenting can be more essential than the quantity of time spent with the child.” Whether or not, you have a flexible job schedule like me, you can still improve the quality of parenting you give to your child. And that adds pressure for me to do, too.
Parenting Styles 1: The Permissive Parent
She is the Indulgent and all-out support parent. Whatever her child wants or however he acts, she accepts and affirms. She sets a few rules but does not prepare consequences if these have not been followed. She offers herself as his friend, rather than a person of authority. Though she is warm and nurturing, she gives him very little guidance and direction. She just lets him be.
Parenting Styles 2: The Authoritarian Parent
She is the Disciplinarian and the exact opposite of the Permissive type. She is the law and her word is final. If her child disobeys her commands, punitive measures are in place. She does not believe in listening to him, rather, he should listen to her and her set of rules. She has a high expectation of her child and enforces restrictions and order at home every day.
Parenting Styles 3: The Authoritative Parent
She is the balance of the first two styles. She imposes rules but also listens to what her child has to say about these rules. They agree and consequences are there for discipline. She accepts him for who he is but also attempts to improve him for his own good. More than using affirmation and rejection, she uses reason to achieve goals they set together. This, I believe, is the best parenting style to assume, should you decide to homeschool your child. Read the things I have learned after I have tried homeschooling the son for 6 months, here.
In 1983, psychologist, Eleanor Maccoby and her colleague, John Martin added the fourth parenting style to D. Baumrind’s paradigm:
Parenting Styles 4: The Neglectful Parent
She is uninvolved and a parent who does not care. She gives very little support and interaction to her child and his needs. He is, then, forced to support and care for himself.
Based on the level of parent responsiveness to and their demands from their children, here is a diagram for easy reference.
|4 PARENTING STYLES||high response||low response|
Which parent are you?
No need to worry about how have you been as a parent, especially recently. What is important is that, you are here now, reading how to become a better parent. More or less, you have already gathered which parenting style to go for.
Here are tips, which I would also take to heart, on how to become an Authoritative Parent:
- Be attentive and listen to your children.
- Set rules and make them understand why such are implemented.
- Make expectations from both sides clear.
- Employ positive discipline and consequences if they did not comply.
- Let them be themselves, while providing gentle reminders on do’s and don’ts.
- Give them opportunities for independence and a sense of responsibility.
- Create schedules and set goals together.
- Model good behavior and earn their respect.
- Always, nurturing mode on. Teach important concepts like Growth Mindset.
- After doing all these, show them love and trust.
Outcomes on preschoolers raised by authoritative parents
Based on Baumrind’s study, preschoolers who had authoritative parents, tended to be happy and content, independent and self-reliant, warm and cooperative with peers; and are competent and assertive. They also have good social skills, good emotional regulation and self-control and they explore new environment without fear.
My intro now brings me to my outro. Since we are all unique. I bet our children, also, are unique. The tips I have given here and the potential outcomes for children are not ironclad. Nobody knows your child better than yourself so love him in the way you know how, guided by these words. Before you listen to your child, listen to heart. Then, let us hope and pray that we bring up our children in the best possible way.
Cheers to the most fulfilling job in the universe!