Friday, March 6, 2015
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are not raised in a proper environment are likely to have learning and developmental difficulties.
If this statement isn’t enough to make parents neurotic, the barrage of information might. Today there are diagnoses to explain almost every behavior problem — from attention deficit disorder to depression. As a result, it is easy to believe a child needs medication or counseling rather than parental guidance.
Then our busy lives create another challenge. Many parents feel guilty about the amount of time they spend with their kids. To compensate, parents give their children almost anything they want.
And some parents want to be “best friends” with their youngsters. These adults make their children “equals” in an effort to maintain approval.
Are we on the right track? According to research by Stanford University psychology professor Eleanor Maccoby, Harvard trained psychologist John Martin and University of California psychology professor Diane Baumrind, probably not. These researchers say there are four types of parents.
Uninvolved parents are not responsive to the child’s emotional needs or demanding about behavior.
Indulgent (permissive or nondirective) parents are more responsive than they are demanding. They tend to be nontraditional and lenient and generally do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation and avoid confrontation.
Authoritarian parents are highly demanding and directive, but are not responsive. According to Dr. Baumrind “They are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation”.
Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive and balance clear, high parental demands with emotional responsiveness and recognition of childhood autonomy.
These researchers also suggest indulgent parenting, like that highlighted in the examples above, is far from ideal. Instead they say authoritative parenting, a blend of authoritarian and indulgent parenting, is the most effective way to guide children. They use studies to demonstrate that this type of parenting produces well-adjusted, high-achieving kids.
Authoritative parents make a child feel accepted, loved, valued and supported and are also firm about expectations and limits. Unlike parents who have few rules or standards for their child’s behavior, authoritative parents establish limits for how their child acts. However, they also allow their child autonomy. And even though it is sometimes unnerving, they tolerate, support and encourage their child’s sense of individuality.
Authoritative parenting is really common sense. Give kids limits, establish consequences for poor behavior and allow them the freedom to grow into unique individuals. You should be pleased with the results.