Of the four kinds of parenting styles – authoritarian – authoritative – permissive – uninvolved – the authoritative parenting style is the favored choice. In my own estimation, authoritarian parenting is a fire and brimstone kind of approach where instilling fear is part of the pattern and children are under an umbrella of rules and regulations to behave. They are not allowed to be children and express themselves and while punishment for doing wrong may not be abusive, it is strong enough that children may suppress their inner feelings and grow up tight and afraid. Their playtime is restricted, they are not allowed to go out with their friends, they can’t be themselves, and burn with resentment.
Setting rules for your children
- Don’t expect that when you tell a two year old not to throw her bottle and toys out of the cot, that she will listen. Shouting at the child does not help. Instead, talk in an even and calm manner to the toddler and show her instead where the toys belong. Always invite the child to participate in clean up rather than shouting and ordering. You want a happy toddler; one who wants to help.
- Tailor your parenting style as the child grows up. He or she has a greater understanding of the rules then and can have some light duties such as sweeping the porch or drying the dishes. He understands the consequences when a parent asks him to do something and he does not. He understands timeout. He understands that if he does not do his homework that he will not be allowed to watch his television program. There is no shouting.
- As your child grows up and starts to be interested in the opposite sex, the parenting style too has to pony up and not shy away from that first birds and bees conversation. Talk to your children about puberty and about sex. You don’t want them experimenting. A teenager goes through a lot of changes, hormonal and otherwise, and many teens need their parents to talk to them about the consequences if they have sex. Push on and mention the hardship of pregnant teens. If you suspect that your thirteen year old daughter is already experimenting, don’t be afraid to burst her bubble and tell her that she is too young and that you would like her to wait until she is older and knows more about life. This is a delicate conversation; don’t be afraid to have it.