As we walk the path of life, we will experience many challenging situations, but one of the biggest challenges in life is parenting. Well, what is parenting? According to an academic article by Kretchmar-Hendricks (2017), “parenting is the process of raising children and providing them with protection and care in order to ensure their healthy development into adulthood”. Though welcoming a new bundle of joy is a wonderful blessing, raising a well-balanced child who is able to contribute towards society in future can be a daunting task. It is said that infancy and toddlerhood is a very important period that will become the foundation of the child’s adult life. Children will depend greatly on their parents who will decide most of what their children will experience. Kretchmar-Hendricks (2017) wrote, “Experiences over the first few years of life lay the foundation on which the rest of development builds” and in Aslan and Cansever’s (2007) research paper, “children learn and gain their first social experiences in the family”. So, while parenting is subjective and there is no right or wrong to parenting, there are four parenting styles that most parents generally fall under; democratic, oppressive-authoritarian, unconcerned-indifferent and over protective. This essay will argue that parenting styles do play a significant role in children’s development and how it shapes them as individuals as well as an explanation on how parenting styles can impact children’s development.
Firstly, the oppressive authoritarian parenting style is defined as parents who show their affection towards their children only when the child behaves obediently and listens to instructions. Children under the oppressive authoritarian styles are supposed to listen to all the rules set by their parents without compromise and if the child fails to behave or opposes, punishment is given. Turkum (2013) states that this parenting style does not allow the child to have any say in decisions made concerning him or her. Children under this parenting style are not able to stand up for themselves or say no. Furthermore, the difference between discipline and punishment are often mixed up. While disciplining is, important and is a technique parents use to educate their children on acceptable behavior, punishment, on the other hand, is less favored and even frowned upon. Punishment may bring out negative outcomes like aggression or depression and is not likely to correct bad behavior in the long run.
Secondly, unconcerned-indifferent parenting style is parents that play an inactive role in their children’s lives. While this parenting style is undemanding, it is also unresponsive which is the same as being neglectful. The lack of affection and emotional involvement has a significant negative impact on a child’s growth. Erkan et al., (2002) states that “the unconcerned attitude of the parents causes children to have a strong need for approval and acceptance”. Hence, children who are brought up under this parenting style are often left feeling lonely, anxious, and may even have trouble communicating and forming connections in future with people around them.
Thirdly, overprotective parenting is parents who control and provide extra protection to their children. Parents who do not allow their children to go out and explore on their own because they feel like it would be better if they made decisions for them. Overprotective parents may mean well and this overprotectiveness may come from an incredible amount of love and concern, however, in doing so they affect their children’s ability to be independent and make decisions for themselves. The psycho-social maturity of their children becomes affected in a negative way and they fail to become self-sufficient (Gunalp, 2007).
On the other hand, although parenting styles do affect children’s development in a negative way, there are positive parenting styles and influences as well. For example, although the oppressive authoritarian parenting style has its negative effects, parents who follow this parenting style tend to have high expectations of their children which translate to children having high expectations on themselves and working hard in everything that they do. In addition, the democratic parenting style had more positive results according to an experiment by Kol, S (2016). Democratic parents are more supportive of their children and have clear, open communication with their children but with boundaries. This type of setting at home creates a safe and warm environment for the children which gives children the freedom to step out and try things on their own, thus, the opportunity for growth as an individual.
In conclusion, different parenting styles can affect children in various ways. Although the democratic parenting style seems to have the best outcome from the rest, the most important and oldest idea a parent can do for their children is to love them unconditionally. Make the time to be present in that moment and listen, even if it is for something unimportant. It is crucial for parents to foster clear, verbal communication with their children. This may seem like an easy thing to do but often times parents get caught up in everyday responsibilities or work and become impatient, forgetting that time waits for no one and children will grow up very quickly. There is no right or wrong way to parenting, but what parents choose to do now will become memories that will stay a lifetime for both children and parents.
Kol, S 2016, ‘The Effect of The Parenting Styles on Social Skills of Children Aged 5-6’, The Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Sciences, volume 4, issue 2, page 49-58.
Kretchmar-Hendricks, M 2017, ‘Parenting’, Britannica Academic, viewed on 9 May, <http://academic.eb.com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/levels/collegiate/article/parenting/605044>.
Laukkanen, E, Karppinen, S, Maatta, K & Uusiautti, S 2014, ‘Emphases of Parenting in the Light of Three Comparison Groups’, International Education Studies, volume 7, no. 3, page 67-77.
Mathis, E & Bierman, K 2012, ‘Child Emotion Regulation and Attentional Control in Pre-Kindergarten: Associations with Parental Stress, Parenting Practices, and Parent-Child Interaction Quality’, ERIC, ED530409.
TEDTALKS 2016, ‘How To Raise Successful Kids- Without Overparenting’, 4 Oct, viewed 10 May 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyElHdaqkjo>.