Thoughts on parenting styles

| May 21, 2012

Staff writer - Maureen Gordon

I made a comment recently to someone that I wanted to write a manual on parenting. But they immediately put me straight; implying that this was not possible because everyone’s experience of parenting their children was so different. There is no blueprint and there is no instruction manual.

So what is it to be a parent?

You learn by instinct/maternal and paternal love

Every child is different and will have different needs, and different behaviours

You learn by watching

You learn by doing

You learn by what others tell you (their experience)

Although there is no instruction manual it has been found that parenting does involve different styles, and that parenting styles are heavily tied in with a child’s well-being. It has an impact on their social and emotional development, school performance and can result in poor and negative behaviours including substance abuse and sexual promiscuity. Because parenting is “finding it out as we go along” it is not something that parents would automatically say this is the style I am adopting in bringing up my children or this was the style I used when I brought up my children.

See if you identify with any of these.

Permissive and indulgent

This type of parenting style gives children and young people greater freedom within the households. They have limited boundaries and few demands are placed on them. Parents often do too much for their children and then blame them for being lazy.


This type of parenting style operates with strict discipline and corporal punishment. Boundaries are tight and instructions have to be obeyed. Authoritarian parents do not welcome or appreciate any feedback from their children. Children need to have total respect for authority.  Parents tend to put too much demand on their children which often produces frustrated children because they cannot meet their parent’s expectations.


These parents are those who have a balance in their parenting style, they are

Photo courtesy

demanding but also responsive to their children. These parents do not impose their authority, and welcome feedback and questioning from their children. They respond to their children with positive feedback. Their children appear to be livelier and happy and more self-confident.


These parents are simply not available for their children. They are neither demanding nor responsive to their children and they do not expect any feedback from them. These parents are often irresponsible and neglectful of their children.

My objective in pointing out these different styles is not to bring any form of guilt to those who are parents but to help increase awareness of what does happen, and that being aware of what you are doing or not doing can be a catalyst for change.

So what can parents do to minimise the impact. You need to be flexible and willing to adjust and change your parenting style. Reconsider your expectations… are you demanding too much? As your child/children ages you have to gradually change your style.

What are your views on the different styles.  I look forward to your comments?

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