What is Your Parenting Style?
Spare the rod or punish the child? Parenting is not easy. Here is how you can identify your parenting style.
Being a parent is like walking on a tightrope, as you balance love on one side and discipline on the other. Your success or failure at achieving the balance determines your parenting style. A good parent is the one, who is responsive to her child's needs, but at the same time, corrects him when necessary.
Here are some hypothetical situations to help you identify your parenting style. Even if these questions are not immediately applicable to you, be honest with yourself and think how you would react in these situations.
TV versus Homework
1. Your eight-year-old daughter's favourite cartoon is on television but she has to finish her homework, which will take at least two hours, and there are just three hours to bedtime. Your response:
- "Do what you want. It is a free world. Do not ask me again."
- "Watch as much TV as you want. Children should enjoy at this age."
- "Turn off the TV right NOW, and head to your books, otherwise…"
- "You need to do your homework first. I will show you the recorded version once you are done."
2. Your children are having a bitter fight, throwing things at each other. What do you do?
- Tell them to shut up and stop fighting. They might damage the furniture.
- Tell them to stop. Even if they do not, they will soon get tired and stop anyway. Fighting is an integral part of growing up.
- Spank them. Warn them that the consequences will be worse next time. If it still does not work, lock them up in separate rooms.
- Hold them firmly and explain why fighting is not considered goodbehaviour. Ask each child to identify his mistakes, and list ways he could have done it better.
Adult Movies and Your Child
3. You discover a porn movie in your fifteen-year-old son's room. What do you do?
- Simply turn a blind eye.
- Boys will be boys. He has to discover sex eventually.
- Confiscate the movie and scold him. Punish him by making him write "I will not watch adult movies" 100 times in his book.
- Discuss sex honestly with him without imposing moral standards. Inform him about the dangers of HIV and unprotected sex.
4. Your child’s performance in exams is poor. What will you do?
- Just wait for the next exam to see how he performs.
- Scold your child and pressurize him to sit for long hours to study.
- Stop him from watching TV, playing games and doing extracurricular activities and concentrate on studies to perform well next time.
- Analyze why the child is not performing well. Speak to the teachers and tutors about his poor performance. Help him with the studies and make sure that he performs better the next time without pressurizing, scolding or spanking him or her.
Tantrums at Restaurant
5. Your five-year old child starts throwing tantrums at a restaurant during a family dine-out. How will you handle the situation?
- Just ignore him. He will eventually stop throwing tantrums.
- Shout at the child in public to make him behave himself.
- Quickly escape from the table and wait till the child calms down.
- Stay calm and make the child understand that he or she is not expected to behave like this in public. If the child continues to throw tantrums, escape from the table and try to calm the child in a composed manner.
Your parenting style may be the combination of more than one of the parenting styles mentioned in the following sections.
Mostly As - Permissive (Uninvolved) Parent
Parents in this category are uninvolved in their children's lives, which may stem from a belief that children should be allowed to do what they want with minimum parental interference. Many parents in this category usually do not have quality time for their children, which in rare instances, can border on sheer neglect.
Mostly Bs - Permissive (Indulgent) Parent
Parents in this category love to indulge their children. At the same time, they do not demand responsible behaviour. They avoid any sort of confrontation with their children. Many parents in this category believe in freedom, and think that children should not be told what to do.
Mostly Cs - Authoritarian Parent
Parents in this category play the part of the dictator. Orders and rules are meant to be followed without an explanation. Punishment is meant to act as a deterrent for deviant behaviour. Some parents in this category are highly intrusive, and keep an eye on each aspect of their children's lives.
Mostly Ds - Authoritative Parent
Parents in this category are authoritative without being authoritarian or too dictatorial. They set clear standards for the behaviour to be expected from their children. Rules are explained and discussed with children. They use firm discipline but avoid harsh punishment. Children are taught to be assertive and socially responsible.
What does Research say about Parenting Styles?
Research has clearly shown a strong correlation between various parenting styles and the child's performance in various domains such as academic performance, problem behaviour, and social skills. Remember, several factors affect how a child will grow up, and parenting is just one of them.
- Children with uninvolved parents perform poorly at school.
- Children with indulgent parents tend to have high self-esteem and good social skills but are more prone to problem behaviour and poor performance in school. Accepting responsibility is difficult for many of them.
- Children with authoritarian parents perform reasonably well in school and stay out of problem behaviour. However, they are more likely to have lower self-esteem, poor social skills, and higher levels of depression.
- Children with authoritative parents are less likely to indulge in drug abuse. On an average, they perform well in school. Their social skills are high, and they have high self-esteem.
Thus, authoritative parenting, where the parent is clear about his expectations from his children, and at the same time, is emotionally responsive and recognises his son's independence, has been shown to be one of the most consistent predictors of a child's good performance in many aspects.
The benefits of pretend play toys….
Many parents come to us asking for “educational” toys. Our reaction to such a request is to try and educate parents that every toy is “educational” and “developmental” in one way or the other way.
In this post we will talk about how “pretend play” or “role play” toys help in the development of children. When your child pretends to be a policeman or a doctor or chef, don’t dismiss it as silly. When your daughter speaks to her baby doll, feeds her imaginary food or otherwise takes care of her, do not push her to play with more “useful” toys. That’s because this so called pretend play has tremendous developmental benefits for your child.
Benefit #1 : Children learn about the world around them. Children learn a lot about the world through pretend play. They understand about how doctors work, what a policeman does or the role of a fireman. They learn about parking garages, train stations, fruits & vegetables, cooking, windmills, farm houses & much more. They get a peek into a world different from theirs. There are 3 ways in which children learn – visual (by seeing/reading), audio (by hearing/listening) and kinesthetic (by doing/experiencing). For children learning by doing is both fun & engaging. And pretend play toys represent kinesthetic learning at its best.
Benefit #2 : Children develop empathy During pretend play children are usually playing a “role”. They are thinking outside themselves. They are experiencing the life of another person (a farmer, or doctor). As they do this get get a perspective into the lives of others. They develop empathy & begin to see the points of view of others too. When your child feeds her doll or tends to an imaginary patient as a doctor, they are thinking about helping/nurturing others. The seeds of empathy are being sown early.
Benefit #3 : Children learn social skills When children are engaged in pretend play with others, they learn valuable social interaction skills. They learn to share, to cooperate & negotiate with their playmates. They learn how to work in teams, to take turns. This gives them a chance to practice behaviour, manners and language that is needed when they interact in real world situations, as well as what behaviour is acceptable in public.
Benefit #4 : Children develop language & communication skills When children are acting out a role, they are communicating (very enthusiastically!). They are using language to express themselves in the role. They become comfortable & confident in communicating! They may even use vocabulary that you have not have heard from them before! Often through pretend play withdrawn children can first start to express themselves by acting a certain role.
Benefit #5 : Children develop imagination & creativity Children are creating & weaving elaborate stories, plots. They are learning to squeeze out their creative juices. This is the first step towards developing a vivid imagination & creativity.
Benefit#6 : Children develop self esteem While playing different roles, children are developing confidence. And when parents encourage them, they get further bolstered. But when a parent brands their pretend play as silly, it hurts their self esteem.