Child rearing styles reflect how parents show love and wield authority toward their children. Every household is different in their approach due to culture, heritage, educational background, socioeconomic status, personality and spiritual beliefs. The dominant ways parents express affection and implement discipline is generally identified as authoritarian, authoritative/democratic, permissive or uninvolved.
Authoritarian child rearing refers to parents setting rules that children are expected to follow. Parents typically don’t explain the reasoning behind their expectations, and punishment may be used to redirect rebellious actions. The focus is primarily on behavior, which can create children who do not learn to think for themselves but become compliant to their parent’s values.
Authoritative/democratic parenting establishes responsible expectations and rules that children are expected to follow. There is more conversation, however, than authoritarian child-rearing in the ways families dialogue about choices and consequences. If adolescents fail to meet the expectations of their parents, they are more likely to receive guidance and redirection than condemnation and legalism. When children are doing well, they may be affirmed for their good behavior. Adults see their role as helping kids learn the wisdom behind rules and sharing them in a loving manner.
Discipline will differ between parents, as psychologists and researchers suggest different conclusions regarding the effects of spanking. A task force appointed by a division of the American Psychological Association concluded that physical punishment is detrimental to children in both the short and long term. One of its members, psychologist Robert E. Larzelere, argued that the research is flawed and that spanking can be effectively used as a last resort. Parents will need to determine which approach works best for their children.
Permissive child-rearing is marked by the parents’ habit of indulging their child. Adults may believe their children can’t handle discipline due to a low sense of self-esteem or maturity, and end up becoming lenient on values. Kids may learn to manipulate or whine to get what they want, and seldom are tied down to routines they are accountable to. Families may allow children to make too many choices that they are incapable of managing with maturity.
An uninvolved parent is generally detached from his child’s life. Several unintentional factors can contribute to this approach, such as a divorce or high-demanding job that creates unplanned separation between the adult and the child. Other parents may have had children without the maturity or responsibility to care for them, and typically remain more interested in their own desires than their child’s needs. In extreme situations, uninvolved parents may mentally devalue the worth of their child to the level that they become emotionally or physically abusive.