PARENTING!

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As parents we are often labelled. While some of us are laid back or jellyfish,

others may be branded as lawnmowers or helicopters.

The link between our type of parenting and the happiness of our children seems intricate. Much research has been devoted to this topic; and while a number of studies establish a clear causal relationship between parental care and the child’s growth (even physical) and development, we all tend to forget that none of us were born with ‘parenting skills’.

At this electronic age, we need support and guidance; and, it is important that we review our parenting style.

The following two article extracts talk about the different types of parenting: In the first, the standard four types are defined. In the second article, the new brands of parenting: the overparenting style a.k.a. lawnmowing and helicoptering and its antagonists are detailed.– Food for thought.

- R. Zgheib, Ed.D.

Types of Parenting Styles …

By Bianca Mgbemere and Rachel Telles

In psychology today, there are four major recognized parenting styles: authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian. Each one carries different characteristics and brings about different reactions in the children which they are used on. It is important to keep in mind that every parent child relationship is different, so there is not one sure fire way to go about parenting. This is a simple guide to help decode your parenting style and provide general suggestions on how to raise a happy, responsible, productive member of society.

Authoritative

Authoritative parenting is widely regarded as the most effective and beneficial parenting style for normal children. Authoritative parents are easy to recognize, as they are marked by the high expectations that they have of their children, but temper these expectations with understanding and support for their children as well. This type of parenting creates the healthiest environment for a growing child, and helps to foster a productive relationship between parent and child.

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 Neglectful

Neglectful parenting is one of the most harmful styles of parenting that can be used on a child. Neglectful parenting is unlike the other styles in that parents rarely fluctuate naturally into neglectful parenting as a response to child behavior.If a parent recognizes themselves as a neglectful parent, or if a friend recognizes that they may know a neglectful parent, it is important to understand that those parents (and the children involved in the situation) need assistance so that they can get back on track to having a healthy and communicative relationship within the family.

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Permissive

Permissive parenting, also known as indulgent parenting is another potentially harmful style of parenting. These parents are responsive but not demanding. These parents tend to be lenient while trying to avoid confrontation. The benefit of this parenting style is that they are usually very nurturing and loving. The negatives, however, outweigh this benefit.Few rules are set for the children of permissive parents, and the rules are inconsistent when they do exist. This lack of structure causes these children to grow up with little self-discipline and self-control. Some parents adopt this method as an extreme opposite approach to their authoritarian upbringing, while others are simply afraid to do anything that may upset their child.

Authoritarian

Authoritarian parenting, also called strict parenting, is characterized by parents who are demanding but not responsive. Authoritarian parents allow for little open dialogue between parent and child and expect children to follow a strict set of rules and expectations. They usually rely on punishment to demand obedience or teach a lesson.

 Bringing up baby: Are you a tiger mum or a helicopter dad?

By RACHEL CARLYLE

Oct 5, 2014

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It sometimes seems that the world of parenthood has split into warring tribes, each convinced that theirs is the only way of bringing up baby. But what do the experts say – and just where do you and your family fit in?

Helicopter parents

They hover anxiously so their precious offspring never come to any harm – the world is a dangerous place, after all. It all starts by standing under the climbing frame (“no higher, sweetie, that’s enough…”) and progresses to obsessively monitoring school grades and screening friends.

Most likely to say: “Those toddler helmets are a brilliant invention.”

Does it work? You may stop them from falling, but in the long term this approach prevents children from assessing risk, which is vital to development. Studies show that children are naturally good risk-assessors, and most wouldn’t climb much higher than their parent allows, even without supervision. Helicoptered children are also more likely to take bigger risks as teenagers because they’ve had no practice with small hazards. 

Underparents

Also known as slacker, sloth or free-range parents, these are essentially too lazy – or too busy – to micro-manage their children’s lives, arguing that kids need more freedom. Their poster girl is Lenore Skenazy – branded “world’s worst mom” for letting her nine-year-old travel on the New York subway alone – who started the blog www.freerange kids.com.

Most likely to say: “Failing is the new succeeding.”

Does it work? Children learn best by finding their own motivation, discovering their passions and learning social skills by playing without adults present. They also learn resilience if they are allowed to fail. But this is not to be confused with negligent parenting – you have to teach them how to be safe before giving them freedom. 

Lawnmower parents 

Also known as snow plough parents, they are desperate to clear away all obstacles in the path of their brilliant child. They will intervene to “save” them from every pain and inconvenience: dropping off forgotten school lunches, hiring tutors and berating teachers for bad grades. Intensely competitive, they believe they are helping their children achieve their full potential in a cut-throat world. 

Most likely to say: “I’ve emailed the essay we wrote to your lecturer.”

Does it work? Your child may get high grades as long as you are around to help, but over-involvement can be damaging. The child can become dependent and feel constantly under pressure, says research, and because they never have to face the consequences of their own actions they won’t learn from their mistakes. By doing everything for our children, we also imply that they are not good enough to achieve things themselves.

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Outsourcer parents 

Why bring up your children when you can pay a professional to do it for you? 

A report in New York magazine calculated that this could cost £2.6 million per child for a complete service including maternity nurse for a year, behavior and etiquette consultants, a live-in nanny and tutoring. Oh, and someone to teach the kids how to ride their bikes. 

Most likely to say: “Goodness, is it really your birthday today?”

Does it work? You may have a walking, talking, educated adult at the end, but will you know them? It’s going through developmental milestones with your children – like learning to ride a bike – that strengthens the bonds between you. It’s tempting for working parents to farm out the troublesome bits so they can concentrate on fun time, but children feel loved and secure when parents set the boundaries and, as any divorced dad will tell you, “treat parenting” doesn’t work.

Tiger parents

These are the ultimate authoritarians who believe a punishing work schedule will result in academic glory. They’re exemplified by Yale law professor Amy Chua, whose daughters Sophia and Lulu weren’t allowed sleepovers, had to practice piano or violin for two hours a day, were only praised for getting As in exams and weren’t allowed to take part in school plays, as they were considered a distraction.

Most likely to say: “I’ll donate your dolls’ house to the Salvation Army if this piece isn’t perfect next time” (Chua did actually say this).

Does it work? Well, Chua’s older daughter got into Harvard, played piano at Carnegie Hall and wrote a defense of her mother after worldwide criticism. But Lulu rebelled from the age of 13. 

By taking over your children’s personal sense of control and motivation, you stunt their development, and a hectic schedule deprives them of the downtime vital to figure out their own identity and thoughts. A study found that children of tiger parents were less creative and did less original thinking than others. 

But emphasizing that anything is possible with hard work is a good lesson for all parents – and their children – to absorb.