The good news is, you can place some blame on your parents for how you turned out. The bad news is, your kids may do the same. However, it’s clear that one or two parenting mistakes likely won’t scar your child for life. Instead, it’s your overall style of parenting that will impact your child’s development.
Although most parents have probably said, “Because I said so!” at one point or another, this is a way of life for authoritarian parents. These parents teach their kids early, “It’s my way or the highway!” Authoritarian parents demand obedience and discourage discussion from the child about rules. Children with authoritarian parents may lack the ability to make good decisions for themselves and may rely on authority figures to tell them what to do. It can lead to decreased self-esteem and increased hostility.
Authoritative parents offer kids options and choices with the focus being on mutual understanding. Kids are given clear consequences for rule violations, and are encouraged to talk about their feelings. A toddler may be given a choice about whether he wants to eat peaches or grapes with lunch, as long as he eats one fruit serving. When a child refuses, an authoritative parent may say firmly, “I want you to eat at least one fruit so you can be healthy. If you don’t, you won’t be able to have dessert.” Kids with authoritative parents learn how to solve problems and become independent thinkers.
Although many teenagers wish their parents were permissive, permissive parenting can lead to academic problems and difficulties with authority figures. Permissive parents give kids a lot of freedom and don’t discipline kids for misbehavior. They often shrug and say “kids will be kids,” without taking the opportunity to teach a child new skills or new behaviors. They may encourage too much independence and may take the role of a friend rather than parent.
Uninvolved parents leave the parenting up to the rest of the village. These parents are less involved than permissive parents and sadly, they may cross the line into becoming neglectful. These parents may be overwhelmed wtih other problems in life, such as mental illness or substance abuse. Parents who are uninvolved tend to lack knowledge about their child’s activities. They interact minimally with their children and have few, if any, expectations. Kids who are raised by uninvolved parents tend to have behavioral problems and perform poorly in school.