Introduction to the impact of parenting styles psychology on child development
Parenting styles and parenting practices contribute to supporting the healthy development and growth of children. The way parents, mentors and authority figures behave with children and how ideas of discipline are managed will influence individuals for the rest of their lives. They are also likely to continue to influence for continuing generations.
So, the question is, what`s the best way to bring up a child? How will your parenting style and parenting actions affect the psychological make-up of future generations?
I have been an educator for almost three decades now and I have been a parent for almost one. I have two young daughters and I am very conscious of how they are parented. I also have memories of my upbringing and how own my parents, teachers and relatives managed, educated, and influenced me.
By now I have my own parenting style and way of parenting. I don´t know if it is right or wrong but so far it feels ok, and I have a great relationship with my children. My parenting style is under constant scrutiny in my home and in my classroom. Teachers also have a responsibility to occasionally act like parents and advise and counsel students. I understand the importance of parenting styles and the impact of parenting styles, and I try to take ideas from new research onboard all the time.
The question we are trying to answer here of course is ginormous. After all there is a whole branch of developmental psychology called “Child Psychology.” Different psychologists have different theories and there is no shortage of debate in psychological circles.
This short article will only touch on what I believe are the most important issues and how effective parenting styles lead to effective outcomes. These “effective outcomes” are, of course, healthy, balanced, motivated children who will positively contribute to society and lead to a better more balanced world.
After years of educational training, studies, and personal experiences I have developed my own opinions. The best parenting style is simply to foster autonomy however you can. This is achieved by having an honest, open, nurturing, balanced, two-way relationship with your child.
“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day, teach a person to fish and you feed them for life.” – Proverb
This article will now outline the four main types of parenting styles and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The four main types of parenting styles
Developmental Psychologist Diana Baumrind coined the term “parenting style.” She looked at young preschoolers and how they interacted with parents in detail. Doctor Baumrind noticed that children’s outcomes and behaviours were highly linked to the different parenting styles of their mothers and fathers. Happy healthy parents produce happy, healthy children and this continues for generations.
Dr. Buamrind identified four main different parenting styles that impact a child’s psychological behaviour and development. Her results were after many observations, interviews, extensive research, and analyses. She analyzed parenting styles, parenting practices, parenting psychology, ways of parenting and parenting patterns.
The four parenting styles identified by Dr. Baumrind are listed here. They are ordered from the least interactive to the most interactive. From a neglectful parent to a drill sergeant, an authoritarian parent who focused on rules, regulations, and compliance.
The four parenting styles
- Uninvolved / Neglectful Parenting Style
- Permissive Parenting Style
- Authoritative Parenting Style
- Authoritarian Parenting Style
Each of these styles has a psychological impact on children. This article will briefly analyze each.
1. Uninvolved / Neglectful Parents. How their parenting practices, ways of parenting and parenting patterns impact the developmental psychology of children.
Uninvolved parents are usually extremely complicated individuals with complicated lives. They may be lazy and neglectful. They may have come from similar backgrounds, or they may have issues with drug use, violence or suffer from psychological trauma.
It is difficult to nourish children if parents have an addiction or are somehow psychologically disturbed. They are overworked or struggling financially. Their teenage children have become overly complicated and unmanageable, and they don´t have a support system. The divorce rate in the USA is somewhere between 40% and 50%. In 2017 almost one and a half million people divorced. These figures show the strain that people are under and how children in unstable relationships can suffer. Uninvolved parents may be overwhelmed, and this will have a psychological impact on their kids. The apple doesn`t fall far from the tree.
What are the likely psychological impacts neglectful parents can have on their children`s psychological development?
- Children are likely to be confused and unhappy and distracted and have anger management issues.
- Children can also often suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth.
- Children may develop mental health issues, especially in their teenage years. These may include depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. These issues can in turn get the children involved with drugs, gangs, and crime.
- Children can have difficulty dealing with emotions
- Children may suffer from impulsiveness and act without weighing up the consequences.
- Permissive Parents. How their parenting practices and ways of parenting impact the developmental psychology of children.
Permissive parents are caring and kind and loving but do not embrace rules. It is likely their own parents were permissive as styles may have a habit of running in the family. Kids are not often punished when they misbehave. Youngsters get to do as they please and they get to make a lot of their own decisions even at such a young age. Parents act like friends instead of guardians. Children often call their mom or dad by their first name and parents may choose homeschooling or adopt an alternative approach to education like Steiner schools or suchlike.
This type of parenting style encourages openness and communication, but parents tend not discourage their children from making bad choices. Neither do they berate them excessively for bad behavior. Youngsters tend to be able to do what they want, and adult guidance and monitoring is not a high priority.
While this style has plenty of advantages the impact of this parenting style can be varied. Obviously, there are a lot of other factors to consider e.g., the temperament of the child, the social environment, the socio-economic status of the family and the quality of the education that the children are receiving.
What are the likely psychological impacts permissive parents can have on their children`s psychological development?
- Children may experience feelings of sadness and confusion. This could be caused by lack of guidance and excessive freedom and choice.
- Children can also suffer from impulsiveness and make brash decisions without thinking them through.
- Children may develop problems with figures of authority and develop an inability to obey rules and regulations. This can lead to problems in adult life. These problems could be in the workplace or in relationships or with the law.
- Children may also develop social awkwardness and have difficulty interacting with peers and authority figures.
- Children may have problematic relationships. Imagine a child of a permissive parent developing a friendship with a child of an authoritarian parent?
- Authoritative Parents. How their parenting practices and ways of parenting impact the developmental psychology of children.
Authoritative parents put a serious effort into building and maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship and encourage their offspring to be responsible. They do this in a specific way. Rules and consequences are enforced, but the reasons for the rules are explained in detail and feelings are always taken into consideration. Parents tend to be open. They like to have talks and try to reason with their children. They are supportive and loving and children´s autonomy is encouraged. The style is somewhere in between permissiveness and authoritarianism.
Authoritative parents set boundaries and it is clear who is the parent and who is the child. Adults are in charge. Adults make the rules and children obey them. Authoritative parents focus on preventing problem behaviors by nipping things in the bud. They spend time and energy raising their children. Their methods of discipline are done to try to reinforce positive behaviors and develop an all-round healthy relationship between parent and child.
What are the likely psychological impacts authoritative parents can have on their children`s psychological development?
- Children tend to have great social skills and are well able to communicate and interact with peers.
- Children learn how to be autonomous and independent and do things themselves. This, in my book, is crucially important and a huge bonus for parents are kids alike. A child who can do things themselves learns from hands-on experience and also helps parents out at home and elsewhere. Eventually, we all need to be independent so learning from childhood is great.
- Children have less anxiety, depression and impulsiveness and better mental health in general.
- Children are likely to be well behaved, polite, and mannerly.
- Children are likely to achieve academic success.
- Children are likely to be energetic and active.
- Children are likely to feel secure and loved.
- Children develop good problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Children learn how to be self-aware
- Children understand the value and importance of setting goals, morals, and integrity
- Children tend to be positive and happy.
Authoritarian Parents. How their parenting practices and ways of parenting impact the developmental psychology of children.
Stand up straight! Take your hands out of your pockets and don´t you dare be cheeky to me young man!
Authoritarian parents’ rule by discipline and obedience. “You will live by my rules while you live under my roof!” They expect their rules and orders to be followed without hesitation. They use threats or punishment to control and discipline their children. They don´t mess around. Kids often live in fear and this fear can pervade other aspects of their lives.
Authoritarian parents who use this style don´t ask their kids´ advice and don`t take their children`s feelings into consideration. In general, they lack empathy and kids grow up in a dictatorship.
“Children should be seen and not heard!” Punishments are meted out without much consideration. Parents are not very responsive and not very nurturing parents often act more like drill sergeants.
What are the likely psychological impacts authoritarian parents can have on their children`s psychological development?
- Children frequently engage in challenging behaviors and misbehaviors. They get into trouble, and they often get into drugs and alcohol and petty crime.
- Children develop poor social skills and have difficulty interacting with peers.
- Children are prone to developing mental illnesses and depression. This is especially true these days. Kids are influenced by lots of negativity and peer pressure on social media and the recent lockdowns and restrictions have impacted this even further.
- Children are likely to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. These could include stuff like overeating, under-eating substance abuse, isolation, overthinking, overspending, toxic positivity, and self-harm.
- Children may have low academic results.
- Children are likely to grow apart from their parents.
- Children are less autonomous and less independent.
- Children may have low self-esteem.
Conclusion to the impact of parenting styles psychology on child development.
This is a complicated topic and there are many factors which the scope of this article has not permitted. Life is a complicated journey and parenting styles, and parenting practices are also complicated. There is no ultimately perfect parenting style, but it is good to have a knowledge of the most common ones. Try to adapt them to your own relationships with your kids. It is good advice to try to avoid extremes.
Extreme authority and extreme freedom can lead to extreme chaos. Chaos is to be avoided as there is plenty of chaos in healthy normal relationships. Communication is always good. Children and parents should pay attention to each other, listen to each other, and try to understand each other. It´s a tough journey but then again, the sun always shines after the rain. Life is about finding a balance.
Patrick is from Ireland and has been teaching for the last twenty years. He has worked in Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. He has a degree in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Patrick loves travelling and learning about new cultures. He is passionate about motivating students to maximize their creative potential.