4 parenting styles – which is yours?

How you parent your child will affect their skills and behaviour in the future.

Your parenting style plays a crucial role in the holistic development of your child’s journey towards adulthood. This includes how you relate to your child through daily interactions, guidance, and even your chosen method of discipline.

Each child is unique and they are growing into individuals with distinct needs and interests each day. Because they are evolving into their own selves, they are, in a sense, writing their own stories.

A large part of this narrative depends on a variety of factors that are anchored upon their earliest relationships, particularly with their parents or parental figures.

It was in the 1960s when developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind first identified the connection between parenting style and behaviour types.

But in the decades since, several similar studies have claimed that this is merely a correlation and not the be-all and end-all to determine the kind of person a child will become.

Based on these extensive studies, here are a few examples of how parenting styles can influence child development.

1. Authoritarian Tiger: Follow rules without question

Strict rules are set in place and must be followed at all times. These parents often reduce their children’s involvement in problem-solving, especially since they have already provided a set of rules to follow as a more effective guide.

Studies have revealed that children under these parents could develop self-esteem issues that stem from the belief that their opinions hardly matter.

However, it is important to note that this parenting style could be effective for children who require calculated guidance through strict and regimented upbringing.

Being too firm with your children could negatively affect their self-esteem. (Rawpixel pic)

2. Authoritative Dolphin: Learn and improve with each passing experience

Similar to the body of a dolphin, these parents are firm yet flexible in nature.

And while they do set certain rules and consequences for their children, they also allow them to express their personal opinions on selected subject matters.

And while parents in this category are still somewhat authoritative, they do inspire understanding and learning through discussion, reasoning and role-modelling.

In addition, these parents invest a large part of their time and energy on nipping potential behavioural problems in the bud.

This includes positive disciplinary techniques such as praise and “point rewards” systems.

In turn, children who grow up under such parents tend to become responsible adults who are not only comfortable with expressing an opinion, but also good at decision-making and evaluating risks on their own.

3. Permissive Kangaroo: Follow these rules, but you’re free to explore

On the surface, these parents appear quite lenient, and will only step in if a serious problem arises.

Even though they do provide their children with a set of rules, they could lapse in monitoring their children’s behaviour closely or set firm limits.

Mothers and fathers in this particular category also tend to forgive easily, and often adopt an attitude of “let kids be kids”.

Guiding your children will help them stand up for themselves and form their own opinions.

When they do reprimand their children, they may use punishment, but even these can often be inconsistent and flexible.

Children of these parents are encouraged to express their feelings.

But in some cases, the parents’ need to raise kids freely results in insufficient guidance. As a result, these children could grow up to be impulsive or domineering.

However, some children could benefit from this method of child-rearing, in particular, those who need the freedom to learn and make mistakes without fear of punishment.

4. Negligent Panda: Love and nurturing above all else

This type of parenting style is associated with granting a child flexibility and choices, as compared to adhering to strict guidelines.

In some cases, although a child is allowed to have more freedom, there has been healthy holistic outcomes.

This is exemplified through the Montessori Method of Learning, which practises self-directed activity, hands-on-learning, and creative play to invigorate critical thinking.

But this style has certain drawbacks too, as some children could be overwhelmed with choice and unable to problem-solve efficiently.

It is generally believed that a child who is given choices could potentially develop better self-esteem and self-direction than one who is frequently scolded and criticised.

Be the best parent you can be

Your parenting style may fall under one or more of the aforementioned categories, but what matters is focusing on the holistic growth of your child.

Raising a child who is self-confident, independent and adept at making decisions begins with a good foundation.

And as with anything in life that is built and strengthened over time, child development requires patience and understanding, for both your child and yourself as a parent.

For example, parents should encourage children to share about potentially difficult challenges they face in school, and how they plan to solve it.

At the same time, parents must share their personal experiences in facing similar challenges, and how they managed to rise above them.

You and your child are in this together

Let your child express themselves and try their hand at problem solving. Share your own personal experiences and wisdom to help guide and support them.

What is vital during their formative years is constant reassurance that you will be there for them no matter what challenges the years will bring.

Build a good psychological foundation for child development by emphasising that making mistakes is actually good, as this provides an opportunity to grow and learn.

Encourage mental growth by cultivating their interests and applying them into hobbies, which can also become good bonding experiences. But most importantly, learn to trust the process of growth.

This article first appeared on Hello Doktor and was medically reviewed by the Hello Doktor Medical Panel. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.