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Effective Parenting: Plinth to Healthy Adulthood

“I was a wonderful parent before I had children” (Adele Faber).

True, as the quote signifies, all can be very caring and affectionate to any children till the time experiencing parenthood themselves.

Understanding the developmental pattern at each milestone and fulfilling its required needs at every stage of development, (no matter if the child is already an adult and has outgrown parental lap) is the most crucial phenomenon of family life. As children grow and pass through different stages of physical, cognitive, emotional, social and moral development, parents’ also need to grow and learn because they no longer remain only a couple, or an individual mother/father rather evolve as a single entity ‘The Parent’, ‘the guiding star’ of children’s life. Moreover, it is beyond doubt that the task of parenting to ensure better future for the child becomes more challenging when it comes to Single Parenting.

In this regard, understanding and adopting an effective parenting style is very important. Four major parenting styles (as suggested by social science researchers) are discussed (in brief) below which can help identify and adopt the most effective parenting strategy in positive disciplining of children.

  1. Authoritarian Style: This pattern of parenting is high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. Parents are more controlling and tend to establish strict rules for their children, and do not give children much to say during decision-making (often leading to either asocial and dependent personality of children, or aggressive and manipulative personality).
  2. Authoritative Style: Here parents establish rules with active involvement of children themselves. Parents are more supportive, taking part in children’s inquisitive activities and motivate children to develop varied productive interests. Parents also trust children with decision making to make them feel responsible and self-dependent, and guide children in the process whenever and wherever required.

This style of parenting believe in the concept of “The more power you give your child in any discipline process, the more likely he will be able to make it work positively for himself” (Hilary Flower).

  1. Permissive style: Not demanding, but at the same time set no rule or standard for children, and never hold children accountable for their actions. Parents tend to fulfill almost every demand of their children without much logical reasoning of age appropriateness (of that demand). Parents over here, in this particular style, simply disregard the fact that “Our children want more than presents, they want our PRESENCE” (Heather Schuck).
  2. Rejecting/Neglecting Style: Parents are low in both demandingness and responsiveness. This is the parenting pattern where parents just don’t seem to care about what children do or what they become; rather parents here are mostly preoccupied with self and busy with own life and profession.

Among all the above-discussed parenting styles, the most effective one is the Authoritative Style as the developmental study researches indicate.

Nevertheless, in present day social scenario, especially in cases of Single Parenting, mostly parents are practicing any of the other three mentioned strategies (viz., Authoritarian, Permissive, or Rejecting/Neglecting). In these instances, parents are either using strict disciplining instead of positive disciplining, or else compensating and substituting quality family time with expensive commodities; this in turn is giving rise to much disturbed childhood, impulsive adolescent years and unhealthy personality pattern (selfish, insecure, self-occupied and dismissive to others) during adulthood.

The children are more and more living into the virtual world of social entertainment, and losing the touch and essence of real life relations. This unhealthy developmental pattern  is causing various personality and adjustment problems among present day youth, along with increase in different social problems as well, like: Suicide, Murder, Addiction, Relationship break-up, etc.

However, as the parents’ are not only shaping the future of their children, but also raising the future citizens of the society, they play a very sensitive role in development of a child. Henceforth, not only adopting a responsible parenting style will do, but giving importance to few strategies while nurturing an young mind can ensure effective parenting and help child develop an all-round healthy personality:

  • Being genuine in front of the child.
  • Preaching what is practiced.
  • Being assertive, rather than aggressive, with the child.
  • Not being permissive with unrealistic and age inappropriate demands of the child.
  • Being convincingly assertive and logically sound with the child.
  • Focus on providing child with quality time.
  • Help child develop positive and productive interest.
  • Trusting child with decision making, and guiding whenever required, to help develop sense of responsibility and self-dependence.
  • Appreciate child with verbal praise and reward efforts through encouraging to pursue of positive hobbies rather than adopting bargaining technique (for example, provide me good result and I shall provide you with new smartphone is a ‘NO NO’)
  • Encourage child to open up and be creative and expressive, work upon development of self-esteem and confidence building.

Furthermore, the understanding that children follow their parents’ live examples and not mere words, and focusing more on adopting an overall positive lifestyle for self can prove to be the most fruitful and one of the healthiest strategies of effective parenting.

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