Psychologists have been exploring the best parenting style since the 60s. According to Baumrind, a well-known developmental psychologist who is famous for her parenting style research, there are four types of parenting styles based on parental’ responsiveness/warmth and behavioral control level.
Parents both high on responsiveness/warmth and behavioral control are authoritative parents, parents both low on responsiveness/warmth and behavioral control are neglectful parents, parents high on responsiveness/warmth and low on behavioral control are permissive parents, and parents high on behavioral control and low on warmth/responsiveness are authoritarian parents.
Authoritative parents are supportive to children’s needs, and they discipline children in a rational manner. Authoritative parents also value autonomy, so their children are given the opportunity to participate into family decision making. Baumrind believes children who grow up with authoritative parents have high confidence, well developed social skills, and well adjusted emotion regulation ability. Children who grow up with parents of other parenting styles might get involved in problem behaviors or suffer from anxiety. Therefore, she perceives authoritative parenting as the most effective parenting strategy and suggests that parents adopt authoritative parenting style.
Now that we know authoritative parenting is an effective parenting style, the question is: how do we practice this parenting style?
Warmth: Gentle Cuddle, Big Smile, and Strong Encouragement
Authoritative parents are caring and supportive. Children’s sense of security is built upon daily interactions with caregivers.
A warm hug and a loving kiss express a strong affection for our children. Smiles and laughs indicate how happy we are around our little ones. Also, encouragement and appreciation would help boosting children’s confidence. Also, be sure to avoid comparing your children to others. We know every child has her own talent. Comparing our children to others might harm their self-esteem and cause frustration.
The warmth we render to our children can add up to the establishment of secure attachment between children and us.
Responsiveness: Respect Opinions, Talk about Misconduct, and Value Autonomy
Authoritative parents are responsive. Unlike strict parents who only set rigid rules and give commands, authoritative parents listen to their children, and respect their opinions. Whenever there is disagreement, they can hold a little family discussion, listen to both side of the story, and reach a compromise that is based on everyone’s agreement.
Sometimes our little ones might fail to meet our expectations. Instead of disciplining children immediately, parents can sit down and talk to children about what is not acceptable, and offer the reasons.
Authoritative parents also value independence and autonomy. They encourage children to set their own rules to obey, and invite children into making “family decisions” (not all young children are capable of giving constructive opinions just yet).
Restrictiveness: Set boundaries, Be Consistent, Use “Punishment”, and Teach Responsibility
Unlike permissive parents who might end up cultivating egotistic children, authoritative parents set boundaries to guide children’s behaviors. Parents should also be consistent in setting limits and implementing rules so children know they need to keep promises, and learn to control themselves. Exceptions only happen once in awhile as a reward for extraordinary behaviors.
Also, a little “punishment” is necessary when children break rules and refuse to correct their behaviors. It is always good to discuss issues and reason with children first. Once negotiation fails, parents can implement punishment such as time-out, or taking away privileges. Punishments need to be instant, minor, and followed up with discussions about why punishment occurs. The goal for punishing our children is to make them aware of their misconducts, and eventually agree to keep with rules.
In addition, parents should instill a sense of responsibility in their children. Children need to know once they make promises, especially those they come up with themselves, they need to take responsibility and stick to those promises.
Finally, we would like to offer you some extra guidelines for being qualified parents: How to be a Good Parent.
Susana Zhang, our Content/Marketing Specialist here at Woobo authored this post. Susana’s background is in psychology, previously earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and more recently earning her Master’s degree in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Human Development and Psychology. She is also actively working with our software and hardware team to help build out Woobo’s natural language processing technology.
Baumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56-95.
Keil, F. C., & IVONNE, P. (2013). Developmental psychology: The growth of mind and behavior. New York: WW Norton & Co.