Bad Parenting vs. Irresponsible Parents
According to clinical and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, parental responsiveness and demandingness help classify parents and their styles of child-rearing. Baumrind separates parents into four groups. Authoritarian are the controlling, overly strict and unresponsive parents, whereas permissive are those who allow their child to do as they please, demanding little. Authoritative parents are those who are firm, but at the same time warm. Last, uninvolved parents are the irresponsible and neglectful parents. They demand nothing because they don't care about their children.
Generally, authoritative parenting is considered the best child-rearing method, according to Laurence Steinberg, author of "We Know Some Things: Adolescent-parent Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect." This parenting style has proven so far to be the most successful because is most often associated with healthful child development. Authoritative parents tend to provide their children with options and opportunities, and give them the warmth and emotional stability they need, but they also set clear limits and teach them how to obey rules.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, to be considered a good parent, you must help your child maintain his health, you must raise him with plenty of affection and consistency, you support communication, set reasonable limits and lead by example 2. Anything that steers away from these basic principles is generally considered bad parenting. Styles such as authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved are commonly frowned upon as negative parenting styles.
Irresponsible parents are those who put themselves first, who often risk their children's well-being and who fail to set a proper example. This type of parenting falls in the same category as uninvolved parenting. According to Kimberly Kopko, cited at Cornell University Cooperative Extension, irresponsible parents tend to be self-centered and as a result, neglectful. They often fail to take responsibility of the child's rearing because of a lack of care and interest. This can be the result of them becoming overwhelmed by the major task they are faced with or the outcome of mere irresponsibility and indifference.
Bad Parenting vs. Irresponsible Parents
Bad parenting can refer to excessive control, lack of affection, selfishness, extreme permissiveness, lack of communication and other similar incorrect child-rearing tactics. Irresponsible parents are generally considered bad parents mainly because of their dismissive and unresponsive nature. According to Anita Gurian, a clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, irresponsible parents are often emotionally detached to such an extent that they can subject their children to many risks, both physical and psychological.
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- Baumrind D. Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genet Psychol Monogr. 1967;75(1):43-88.
- Power TG. Parenting dimensions and styles: a brief history and recommendations for future research. Child Obes. 2013;9 Suppl(Suppl 1):S14–S21. doi:10.1089/chi.2013.0034
- Huh D, Tristan J, Wade E, Stice E. Does problem behavior elicit poor parenting?: A prospective study of adolescent girls. J Adolesc Res. 2006;21(2):185-204. doi:10.1177/0743558405285462
- Bernstein DA. Essentials of Psychology. Cengage Learning; 2013.
- Benson, JB, Marshall, MH. Social and Emotional Development in Infancy and Early Childhood. Academic Press, 2009.
- Macklem, GL. Practitioner's Guide to Emotion Regulation in School-Aged Children. Springer, 2008.
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