Every family is made up of individuals who bring their own strengths, challenges, values, circumstances, cultural influences, and personalities. Because of this, the most effective parenting style is one that is unique to each family and can adapt to changing circumstances. While research has shown that an authoritative parenting style is generally more effective, it is important to consider this research while also taking into account your own personality, circumstances, and your child's age, temperament, strengths, and challenges in determining your own parenting style.
There are four main parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive, neglectful, and authoritative.
Authoritarian parents are strict and set strict rules for their children, while permissive parents are more relaxed and don't set many rules. Neglectful parents are largely disconnected from their children and may not provide much warmth or structure. Authoritative parents are demanding but also loving and supportive, providing their children with emotional support and high expectations. They use positive reinforcement and reasoning rather than punishment and see misbehavior as a learning opportunity for themselves and their children.
Authoritative parenting style has been shown to lead to the best long-term outcomes for children in terms of social, cognitive, and psychological development. Children with at least one authoritative parent are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, become antisocial, or develop addictions and are more likely to be successful in various aspects of life. While it is important to show love and affection to your child regardless of your parenting style, research suggests that an authoritative style is most effective in promoting positive outcomes for children.
Establishing your own parenting style
It can be challenging to establish an authoritative parenting style, especially if you are experiencing stress, conflicts with your partner, or financial or health problems. It may be tempting to adopt a stricter or more neglectful parenting style, especially if this is what you were raised with or if you feel overwhelmed. However, research has shown that an authoritative style is most effective in promoting positive outcomes for children. This style involves being both emotionally responsive and demanding, and adapting your approach to your child's changing needs and your circumstances. While it may not always be possible to adhere strictly to an authoritative style, it is important to strive for a warm and flexible version of this style and to aim for the general direction of authoritative parenting. Children of authoritative parents tend to be more empathetic, confident, kind, and likable and tend to do better in school and in life. It is worth the effort to work towards being an authoritative parent.