Every parent chooses a different way to raise their children. Some ways are better than others, but everyone is slightly different. Most experts agree that in order to raise well adjusted, assertive, responsible, socially reasonable children that can form positive relationships, you should try to use an authoritative parenting style.
What is an authoritative parenting style?
Authoritative parents are demanding, but they are also responsive. This means that they set rules and guidelines, but they also make sure that their children understand the reasons for the rules, and they adjust them according to their children’s needs. They use discipline, but it is not used in a punitive measure, but rather as a supportive way of reinforcing positive behavior.
Most authoritative parents are assertive, and active in their children’s lives, but they are not intrusive or restrictive. This means that they allow their children to make their own decisions, but there are there to monitor and step in when need be. Basically, they want their children to learn to self regulate so that they can be socially responsible adults. Usually there is an open dialogue with the child and the rules are child-centered, rather than just there to be rules.
What are the results of an authoritative parenting style?
Well, research has shown that this approach is the most positive, and results in children and adolescents who have a good sense of self. They rate themselves and are rated by objective measures. These children are usually more socially competent, and well adjusted in social situations.
Because authoritative parents encourage the child to be independent, and are less controlling of their children and their behavior, the children often grow up to be more expressive and creative, as well as more independent.
Usually the children of authoritative parents are well behaved at school, and do relatively well in their classes. They will occasionally act out, but it is usually emotion based, not a cry for attention, etc. This is because authoritative parents are good at setting limits, and demanding maturity. When children disobey, they are punished, but when punishing a child, the parent will always explain the reason for their punishment, and help the child understand how their actions warranted the punishment. Punishment is usually reserved for willful disobedience. If a child simply messes up, or falls short, they are typically forgiven. For example, if a toddler who is potty training has an accident, they are not reprimanded, but encouraged.
Children who are raised this way have a higher self esteem then most other children because their opinions matter, and their parents allow them to debate with them, discuss actions, and articulate concerns. They are shown that they matter, that what they think, and do matters.
As you can see, this parenting approach tends to produce happy, successful, and caring individuals that respect the thoughts and opinions of others. This usually results in them being well liked by peers, teachers, coworkers, etc. This is the optimal parenting tactic, and while it may need a little adjustment here or there based on the child and their personality, it most often produces positive results.