Does Your Parenting Style Really Make A Difference?

Written by on June 6, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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Does Your Parenting Style Really Make A Difference,authoritative,permissive,authoritarian,uninvolved,parenting advice

Does Your Parenting Style Really Make A Difference?

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and childcare experts talking about parenting styles lately. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at taking advice. In fact, I’ve learned most of my lessons the hard way. So whenever I see bloggers trying to tell people how to raise their kids my first response is always to wonder how their own kids turned out. Or if they even have kids.

Parenting is the most important job on the planet and unfortunately there is no training manual. Let me stress that point – Sure, there are millions of books on the market telling you how to potty train your toddler, how to raise a teenager and how to get your kids through college. But there is no one single book that tells you exactly how to turn out the perfect kid.

It’s impossible to compartmentalize parents and children. Each person on this planet is a unique individual, with a unique perspective on life, influenced by our own unique environment.

The trendy catch-phrase these days is “Parenting Style” and some researcher out there has actually categorized all of the billions of parents on the planet under four neat little titles:

The Authoritative Parent: This parent sets rules and boundaries for their child but realizes the need to be flexible.

The Permissive Parent: This parent believes in letting the child do whatever he or she wants.

The Authoritarian Parent: This parent sets rules and guidelines and allows no margin for error.

The Uninvolved Parent: This parent has no interaction with the child at all.

According to the experts, the Authoritative Parent is the best “Parenting Style” because it teaches your child that with privilege comes responsibility. They say that this child will grow up to be a mature, successful, compassionate adult and you won’t have to worry about drugs or gangs or drop-out rates.

But I disagree. We all know people who’ve been raised by permissive, authoritarian and uninvolved parents and they’ve turned out to be perfectly happy, well-adjusted adults.  In fact, it’s the norm.

I’d even be willing to bet that most of us were raised with a “Parenting Style” that would fall into each of these categories, depending on the unique circumstances surrounding every event in our lives. I can cite examples right now where my parents, at one time or another, fell into each of these categories and I bet yours did, too.

The problem with these experts and their compartments is that they don’t take into consideration all the little obstacles that get thrown in your path. These categories are based on black-and-white conditions, with a straight line leading from Point A to Point B. And we all know that the roadmap of life is full of detours and pitfalls and lots and lots of speed bumps.

But the big problem I have with these compartments is that now there are millions of parents out there worrying about which little box they currently belong to and which one they should belong to. They’re out there second-guessing their parenting styles because some ‘Expert’, who may or may not have raised perfect children – if he raised any children at all – slapped his name on an article and published it to the Web.

Some situations scream for you to jump from one parenting style to the other. You may be a wonderful Authoritative Parent and you daughter might be 100% perfect. But I guarantee you when she comes home with drugs in her backpack you’re going to flop over to that Authoritarian Style box pronto. And well you should.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my stubborn streak showing. But I refuse to be put in a box. If being flexible is a valuable trait, then shouldn’t you also be flexible in your parenting style?

This is a guest post. Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys small-town living in rural Kentucky. She’s an active member of several online communities and enjoys taking part in discussions that focus on how real people can live real lives in this fast-paced world we all live in.

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