Parenting is a difficult yet fulfilling task because parents have the opportunity to mold their children. It is difficult because it is demanding, physically, emotionally, mentally and even financially. Parents create the foundation for the child’s future; this concept is enough to stress how vital parenting is in the life of individuals. Parenting also requires many sacrifices on the part of the parents due to the criticality of their situation. But there is no concrete formula for parenting. Parenting styles vary depending on many factors including culture, socioeconomic status and physical capabilities of parents. In Developmental psychology, psychologists attempt to link parenting styles with the child’s developmental course. In psychology there are four parenting styles namely- authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. The parenting styles are characterized based on disciplinary strategies, expectations of maturity or control, warmth and nurturance and communication styles. Parenting styles differ not only because of factors like race but also the parenting styles used by the parents. A father may use one parenting style while the mother is different.
Undoubtedly, parents are vital in child development because they stage the development for healthy behaviors. Parents also serve as the first source of emotional support. Parents help their children unfold their own potentials through supporting them in different activities such as sports or interests. Parents are a child’s first cheerleader in life. Parents also serve as the strongest role model for children, where children adopt many values from their parents
In the prompts given, we were given two different scenarios and tasked to identify and list the possible pros and cons of the style. In the first scenario, Mr. and Mrs. Harsh-Heart believe in imposing strict rules and non-compliance constitute to harsh punishments. The parenting style that the couple is imploring is Authoritarian Parenting. Authoritarian parenting is characterized by strict form of parenting, where the parents expect the child to adhere to the rules laid out. In the opinion of Diana Baunmrid, developmental psychologists, this type of parenting is low in parental responsiveness, especially in the aspect of child nurturance, and high in parental demandingness, the parent’s control over the child. Authoritarian parents believe that what they are doing in the present will benefit their children in the future.
When I saw the prompt, I was reminded of the book by Amy Chua, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I find Chua’s parenting style as authoritarian because she imposes strict (sometimes too strict) rules over two children. Her rules includes her daughters are not allowed to get a grade below A except for Physical Education, her daughters are not allowed to participate in any extra- curricular activities, no sleepovers and the daughters must learn a classical music instrument. I see the book as good glimpse to the cultural aspect of parenting. Amy Chua is a Chinese-American mother, her cultural background adds to the possible reason behind her parenting style. Although Asians, for instance Chinese, are known to implore strict regulations when it comes to child rearing, the book by Chua shows a more family approach to the struggles experienced by both the children and parent in an authoritarian parenting.
Based on the strict nature of authoritarian parenting, some disadvantages are bound to happen in the developmental course of children. One is a child can be socially withdrawn, I think the primary reason behind this is that a child would not know how to interact with other people, because not everyone will understand the reason behind the child’s uptightness when it comes to rules. A child rarely makes a decision for him or herself because their parents made the choices for them, for instance in Amy Chua’s book she decided (if not dictated) that her two daughters to learn piano and violin without consideration on whether those were the instruments of interest of the two. Frustration and anger may also build up in the child because he or she is not given a chance to express his or her true emotions in front of his or her parents in fear of punishment. Another possible negative impact of this parenting style is that it raises children to live by pressure. A child is always pressured to perform at the best of his or her abilities; they learn to fear failure and in the process develop an unhealthy concept about possible competitions. A child brought up on the virtue of power may develop a negative idea about power; he or she may think that power and force will always get things done. But I do not believe that authoritarian parenting always connotes negative impacts. More than anything, I think it teaches children the value of abiding the rules and respecting authority. A child will also value discipline and achievement.
In the second prompt that deals with Mr. and Mrs. Easy Going, it shows that the couple does not enforce their own rules and regulations and does not punish their children. The couple also conducts regular family meetings to interact with their children. Mr. and Mrs. Easy Going use permissive parenting style. Permissive parenting style, unlike authoritarian parenting, makes few demands on their children. There is low expectation and parents rarely discipline their children. Although the parenting style sounds better compared to authoritarian, it is still subject to negative implications.
The negative implication of permissive parenting style is a child may grow with self-control and lack of discipline. They may also grow up to be demanding. When I was reading the prompt I was reminded of the case of Bart and Homer Simpsons. Bart Simpsons is portrayed as a kid who has no regards towards authority and rules; he often violates them and even feel pleasured every time he breaks one or two. Homer as a father towards Bart, appears to be encouraging if not ignoring some of his mischiefs, because he would often just shrug off Marge’s complain about Bart. Although the Simpsons, is a (very) unconventional family set up, it shows the effect of parenting towards the children’s attitude towards authority.
In terms of the positive implications of permissive parenting style is that it allows self-expression on the part of the child. A child can express his or her emotions freely and without restriction. Parents are also empathetic towards their children and display no amount of control. Children became creative and innovative because of their freedom. They grow up not to be blind followers and appear happier and less tensed. For me, the most important implication of permissive parenting is that it allows children to make their own decisions in life, making them more responsible and independent.
Parenting requires certain about of disciplining on their children. Some parents may inflict extreme and violent methods to discipline while some does not believe in inflicting pain to children. I do not believe that violence in disciplining children will do any good because it will only scar the children not only physically, but psychologically. Based on available literature regarding corporal punishment, violence sends the wrong message to children regarding power and authority. A number of studies would link spanking to negative results in the future. Children can grow up to be violent. In Bandura’s Social modeling, children model their behavior on the things they observe around them. If a child is continuously exposed to violent behaviors and actions, they may think that violence is a normal occurrence in life, and it is acceptable in society. In a demonstration by Bandura, he showed that children learn and imitate behaviors they observed in people. Parents are the first teachers of children; they lay out the foundation for norms. I know that there is always a positive way to discipline children. Instead of using violence maybe parents, can deal with them calmly through talking.
Spanking is one of the most common options in disciplining children, because makes children understand rules, guidelines and limits. But I understand that in the long run it will only make children emotionally oppressed and violent. It is difficult to tell parents not to hit their children because everyone has a different temperament, and at times children may also be too difficult to discipline. Parents’ preference on how to discipline their children is affected by personal experiences and observations. Some parents prefer giving positive rewards to desirable behavior; this is grounded on the psychological concept of reinforcement. In my opinion, this is effective in the sense that it promotes positive behavior but it also makes children extrinsically motivated.
It is difficult to be a parent, no matter what parenting style or discipline strategy it is still difficult to raise another individual. I think more than the styles in parenting, the lesson in parenting teaches us to be responsible in our decisions. Parenting is demanding and exhausting. It is a decision that will change our lives forever because once we have children we are no longer living for ourselves, but living for another person. Parents become responsible for their child welfare. Parenting is about letting your children grow up. Parents should not fear setbacks and disappointments because it makes children stronger and more connected to the reality of life.
Parenting styles are criticized and praised because of the different outcomes it does in children. I realized that there is no perfect parenting style because a child is a different individual and can grow differently despite the efforts of their parents. Parents, on the other hand, must respect that their child is not their extension, but a separate being. A child still has as free will to choose what he or she wants in life, but they must not forget to respect their parents because they too exerted effort for their development. A healthy relationship between parent and child is important because it teaches both parties to respect each other’s opinion and preference.
In conclusion, no one can question a parent’s choice of how they wish to raise their child. In Amy Chua’s book, despite her style of parenting, one of her daughters did not grow up the way she expected her to be. Lulu grew up resenting to her mother’s wishes, she followed her own calling. I know that children still have a say on how they will grow up. The bottom line is most parents always wish the best for their child. I believe that there must be a balance in parenting to allow children to grow up independent but at the same time with regards towards rules and authority. Both parenting styles have their benefits and problems because they impact children’s development in some way. For me it seems impossible to choose or select one type of parenting style, in my opinion, it is always needs to be a mixture of the two, sometimes we should be Mr. and Mrs. Harsh-Heart and sometimes Mr. and Mrs. Easy-Going.