Every family needs rules and discipline, but how it is enforced will vary according to each family’s parenting style. Parenting style not only refers to the limits and consequences that parents use to influence a child’s behavior, but it also includes the manner in which the parents display affection.
There are three main styles of parenting: authoritarian, permissive, and democratic. Child researchers are now suggesting that democratic parenting is the best approach of these three when bringing up children. To understand why this is so, let us take a quick look at the notable characteristics of the different parenting styles.
Different parenting styles
Authoritative parenting is the traditional style, where parents make rules and children obey them. Parents do not give explanations for rules and decide what punishments will be awarded when they are broken. This system is harsh on children, and they feel distant from their parents as they have no say in how the family is run. As they grow older, children from such families tend to rebel, are aggressive, and have low self-esteem.
However, by doing this, there is a chance you will have respect from your children, and there will be less rule breaking when they are younger, and there will be less of a chance of them injuring themselves or getting out of hand. Unfortunately, keeping things so strict with them can lead to emotional damage for them and their futures.
In permissive parenting, there is absolute freedom for the child to do as he pleases. The parents are very affectionate and avoid confrontation of any sort. With no definite rules or consequences for bad behavior, these children usually have trouble adjusting to authority as they grow older.
Since they are used to having lots of freedom, they don’t cooperate easily and usually are difficult to live with or around.
Your children may show you a lot of love, and it may make your life easier, for the most part; unfortunately, it won’t last too long as children quickly become spoiled in this way and aren’t able to learn many life lessons. So, the future will more than likely be harder on them and other people outside the family who comes into contact with them.
Democratic parenting is the third parenting style and is also called respectful or positive parenting. As the name implies, parents treat their children as equals. While parents set the rules and are in charge, the children have a say in deciding the consequences when rules are broken.
Here, parents help the children understand why rules are necessary. The children choose to follow them because they understand how it benefits themselves and their family.
Is Democratic Parenting the best style?
When we compare the three parenting styles, we can see that there are definite advantages to the democratic style. Here, parents observe, understand, and listen to the child.
They guide the child towards making the right choices. The children know they are in charge of their decisions and have to bear the consequences of wrong decisions; this makes them responsible. Parents ensure that the child is aware of why specific behavior is unacceptable. So, the child avoids breaking rules not because of fear, but because he realizes it is wrong.
Since democratic parents are approachable and respectful, their children grow up to be secure and confident.
However, we should remember that there is a thin line between democratic and permissive parenting. Unless parents consistently follow through with consequences and are diligent about altering the consequences based on how effective they are, it can give way to permissive parenting.
Democratic parenting is most rewarding if we focus on open communication and mutual respect.