Too much freedom and you risk losing control. Too much control and you end up with rebels. What is the best parenting style, then? Giving enough freedom, strict parenting, or helicopter parenting? Well to be fair, there isn’t just one that can be considered the best method of parenting. Different stages in a child’s life and varying situations require different parenting techniques. However, experts agree that a democratic style of parenting is close to being one of the most effective methods. It is easier said than done, as parents are constantly walking the fine line between being too overbearing and too friendly.
Kinds of parenting styles
In this parenting style, parents tend to express their needs with respect, are mindful of their children’s needs, give space, and believe in an open communication. They listen to their children’s perspectives and offer pragmatic solutions. They are firm but are ready to discuss mutually acceptable boundaries. Assertive parenting is also known as democratic parenting.
These parents believe in having complete control over their children. What they do, who they meet, where they go – authoritative parents keep tabs on every detail of a child’s life. These parents are caring and nurturing, however, they set firm rules and regulations for children. They do listen to a child’s perspective but do not always accept it. They have high expectations from their children and punish mistakes and deviations harshly. Such a style of parenting may lead to children feeling claustrophobic, and they may look for validation outside the family, and turn into recluses or rebels.
These parents are not involved in a child’s life and tend to avoid the real issues. They sometimes play the victim, and are unable to care for children as mature adults should. They may be indifferent or completely uninvolved. Children of neglectful parents find it tough to nurture relationships with others, be it friends, or colleagues when they grow up.
Permissive parents offer excessive freedom and do not believe in restrictions. They pamper children and often provide more than is required. They believe in being friends with children and letting them make their own choices. These sets of parents are ready to shield their children from any harm and tend to be extremely protective. Children of permissive parents may not understand the importance of boundaries and take everyone and everything for granted.
Irrespective of the parenting style, a healthy balance of freedom and discipline is required for children to bloom and be their best selves. True, it may be easier said than done to strike that balance, however, it is not impossible. Let’s explore.
How can parents help children be their best?
Keep channels of communication open
Children are always looking for ways to express themselves. As parents, the best way to let children grow into the best version of themselves is by allowing them to communicate freely. At times their demands may be unreasonable, or they may be boisterous or argumentative. In such circumstances, parents should be patient and ready for discussion. Instead of crushing a child’s voice by saying a blunt “No”, parents should make a genuine effort in explaining their stance. Discussions lead to better solutions than outright orders, and help children to learn how to convey their side of the argument, an important communication skill.
Let them be decision-makers
Children who are allowed to make their own decisions grow up to be more confident and responsible. When children are encouraged to decide what they eat, what to wear, or what games they play, they begin to gain ownership of their lives. Learning how to make small decisions young equips them to handle bigger and more complex decisions growing up – for instance, which subjects to study in school, or what career to pursue.
Give them attention
Spending quality time with children is one of the best ways to help them bloom. Children often do not mimic what parents say, rather, they learn more from what they do. Setting aside exclusive time for playing games together, reading stories, or discussing the day’s events qualify as quality time. Children who receive attention from their caretakers feel valued and loved, and tend to grow up as happy and secure individuals. Especially when it comes to making career choices, youngsters need the support of their parents and guardians.
Look out for non-verbal cues
Quite often, children’s communication may not always be verbal. A lot of what they want to communicate may be non-verbal. Quieter kids may not openly express their emotions or needs. Parents need to keep a keen eye out for non-verbal cues that may be giveaways. Such possible triggers can be an unusual painting, irregular sleep pattern, or a sudden change in behaviour. Caregivers and guardians need to identify these non-verbal methods of communication and address them at the right time to keep the lines of communication open. Some children need extra nurturing to come out of their shell, and are using their non-verbal cues as a way to communicate with you. It’s up to you to listen.
Let them make mistakes
Parents want their children to lead happy and successful lives. In a bid to keep them happy, some parents become overprotective and shield them from any harm that may come their way. It is the duty of parents to protect their children, however, overprotection may lead to children becoming ill-confident or unsure of themselves in the long run. Mistakes are stepping stones to many learnings, hence an important aspect of growing up as confident individuals.
Different stages of a child’s life may require different styles of parenting. As parents, if you feel that you are constantly being let down by your children’s behaviour, maybe it is time to relook at your expectations. If you put up unrealistic expectations, children may not be able to keep up with the pressure. Alternatively, if children grow up with zero expectations, then they may never aspire to be good at anything. A fine balance between discipline and sufficient freedom is required for children to grow up as dependable, disciplined, and confident youngsters capable of making their own decisions and leading a successful life.
Remember that you’re doing your best
Being a parent is not easy. Parents are constantly torn between being role model and providing growing kids a balanced approach toward life. We have provided some guidance here for you to consider, but we recognize that with parenting it is always easier said than done.
Give yourself the grace to recognize that you are doing your best as a parent. It’s not every parent will seek out a blog dedicated to parenting styles or look into resources to help your child succeed. You really are a cut above the rest, so take a beat and recognize that.
If you are interested in targeted help for you and your child(ren), reach out to our experienced LaunchMyCareer career counsellors. They can provide comprehensive guidance to both parents and children on how to foster better communication with each other and navigate a pathway to a successful life.