The importance of a safe and loving home
A safe home is crucial to fostering an environment where children feel loved & nurtured. Showering them with affection and providing a psychologically/physically safe space promotes the healthy development of their brain, increases their self-confidence and enhances their ability to nurture quality relationships in different phases of life while improving emotional and psychological well being.
When they have a loving home, children are better prepared to deal with the challenges they face out in the world. Hence, strong parent-child bonds are essential to building trust during early childhood, decreasing anxiety during adolescence, and shaping moral behaviours during adulthood.
However, maintaining these bonds can be challenging as it is an iterative process that has to be continuously worked on by trialling different methods and finding a mix of styles that work for everyone to improve.
How can parenting styles bridge this gap?
There is no one way to raise children, and parents can often struggle to strike a balance that results in happy, resilient, and successful individuals. Consequently, some parents may prefer discipline, while others rely on friendship-like bonds with their children. Some are always on their feet and hovering over their children, while others may be more distant.
The four main parenting styles — permissive, authoritarian, authoritative and neglectful — used in child psychology today are based on the work of Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist, and Stanford researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin; and provide a helpful framework for understanding various parenting traits and behaviours.
Let’s understand them in some detail:
These parents can come across as more akin to friends than parents to their children. They prefer to avoid conflict and will often agree to their children’s pleas to avoid conflict. They go to great lengths to keep their children happy, sometimes at their own expense. These parents mostly allow their children to do what they want with limited or unenforced rules & restrictions. Consequently, children may not pay heed to authority figures and insist on their way later on in life.
Authoritarian individuals are often strict and focus on their children’s obedience rather than responding to their needs. A common phrase in this relationship is “because I said so,” with communication generally being directive and coming from the parents, with children having little say in various matters. This parenting style uses stern discipline, often justified as “tough love.” Hence, children of authoritarian parents may experience low self-esteem and -confidence, becoming unwilling to stand up for themselves when needed.
Authoritative parents work on solving problems with their children through open and clear communication channels. They set clear expectations and rules and are said to be nurturing, supportive and often in tune with their children’s needs. These parents guide their children through logical and honest discussions to teach them various values instead of simply “laying down the law.” Children who have authoritative parents tend to be self-disciplined and become highly capable of decision-making over time.
Neglectful couples are not involved and are often ignorant of the children’s social-emotional and behavioural needs. They generally display a sense of indifference, expecting their children to care for themselves. These parents have limited engagement with their children and rarely implement rules, are seen as cold and uncaring, and often struggle with various personal issues. As a result, children of neglectful parents may fear becoming dependent on other people or be emotionally withdrawn.
Applying this in real life
As there are different styles of parent-child relationships, it is important to be aware of what works for your children and yourself. When it comes to parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. At the end of the day, it all comes down to using our best judgment, and being open to feedback and constant growth, while also making adjustments as necessary. Parenting is a journey, not a destination.
So, which parenting style works for YOU?
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