Parenting: The Joy and The Challenge – Psychology

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What type of parent are you?

What type of parents were your parents?

What may be the root cause of your stress & anxiety?

This article is useful for parents, would be parents and people prone to mental illness or those who are suffering mental stress and anxiety. It may help in understanding the root cause and reasons of the issue/s.

Personality theories in Psychology explain that the first 5 years are extremely crucial in building the personality of an individual. These years are usually spent with a parent or another primary caregiver. Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. It refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship.

Following are the 4 main types of parenting styles.

1.  Authoritarian parenting—(Restrictive, punishment-heavy parenting style)
These parents are demanding but less or not responsive. Authoritarian parents have very high demands and low responsiveness towards their children. Instead of getting feedback for their mistakes children are punished harshly, like being yelled at or corporal punishment. They implement strict rules that are expected to be followed unconditionally. Since the parent believes in authority, children are not given choices or options to achieve a certain goal.

Positive impact on children

Obedient to authority
May become good in following instructions
They may score well in school exams
May be less deviant in their behaviour


Negative impact on children

Feels problems in the absence of parental figure
Poor decision taking ability
Low confidence
Low social adjustment
Low self-esteem
Some children may show aggressive behaviour
Some others may show fearful/shy behaviour
Studies show that many may suffer from depression and anxiety.


2. Indulgent parenting(Permissive, non-directive or libertarian parenting style)
The parent is responsive but not demanding. Permissive parents are low in demands but high in responsiveness. These parents are more like a friend than a parental figure, so they provide few guidelines and rules. They are very loving and always treat their child like kids. Generally, they do not expect mature behaviour from their children. Sometimes, they may try to control their children with gifts, toys, money, food, chocolates etc.

Positive impact on children

Freedom to make choices
May have adequate self-confidence
May score well in school if interested


Negative impact on children

Poor self-regulation and self-control
Poor self-discipline
Believes in violating rules
Takes undue advantage of parents affection
Sometimes children develops blackmailing attitude
Poor social skills
Mostly feel insecure, as they have not learned the value of rules, boundaries and guidance
Generally very demanding self obsessed / involved and selfish
Unruly in school
Poor academics
Childish behaviour, lacks maturity
Unrealistic demands
Studies show they are prone to heavy drinking, drugs and other forms of misconduct


3. Neglectful parenting— (Uninvolved, detached, dismissive or hands-off parenting style)
Such parents are neither demanding nor responsive. They remain uninvolved, neglectful, and lack in responsiveness to a child’s needs. They are mostly indifferent, dismissive or even completely neglectful. These parents have little emotional involvement with their kids. Basic needs such as food and shelter are provided, but, emotional involvement is very restricted. A neglectful parent may not participate in the child’s school activities or may hardly interact with the child. At the same time, the degree of involvement may vary considerably from parent to parent. Hardly any rules or demands are made on the child too.

Positive impact on children

Some of them may become self learners.
May develop strong fulfilling relationships outside


Negative impact on children

Shy and withdrawn
Extremely low confidence
Prone to substance abuse, crime
Poor thinking ability
Poor emotional and social skills
Prone to stress, anxiety, and fear


4. Authoritative parenting— (Child – centred parenting style)
Such parents have reasonable demands and high responsiveness. The authoritative parenting style is usually identified as the most effective. It is flexible. In this style of parenting, the parent has reasonable demands and high responsiveness towards the child. Generally they have high expectations with their children, they also provide their children with resources and support that they need to succeed. These parents also encourage independence and using the child’s own reasoning and understanding. They also encourage their children to express their opinions and feelings.

The discipline method used is reasonable, consistent, and proportionate to the child’s action. Most importantly, the parent explains to the child the reason for disciplining in a logical manner. These parents act as role models and exhibit the same behaviours they expect from their children.

Positive impact on Children

Strong self-regulations skills
Adequate self-confidence
Learn new skills easily
Balanced emotional control
Adequate social skills
Independence in thought, emotion and behavior


Negative impact on children – (If parents are more demanding)

Children may be resentful and frustrated
May develop a fear of failure if too much pressure is present
These are thus the 4 main types of parenting that are identified by researchers. A parent can not always fit one category or the other. At the same time, achieving a balance in the interactions with your child is very important. These categories are not watertight compartments, and also differ based on the personality of the parent and child, and the culture in which parenting is taking place. If you feel that your relationship with your child is troubling you significantly, we recommend you seek professional help from a counselor as soon as you can.



Image from internet.