Effects of Parenting Styles on Children’s Behavior

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As parents, we all want the same thing for our kids.

That’s for them to grow happy, healthy, and ready to face whatever life throws at them.

An excellent place to start is reading The Whole-Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson.

The book presents the twelve scientifically proven strategies to promote positive behavior in children.

You can get the key insights of this best-selling book on Blinkist, a premium summary platform for non-fiction titles.

However, before learning those strategies, it’s essential that you first understand the effects of parenting styles on children’s behavior.

This way, you’ll know whether or not you’re making the right approach to raising happy and resilient kids.

The Four Parenting Styles You Need To Know About

Parenting style refers to the practices and strategies that parents use in rearing their children.

Needless to say, it affects your child in every possible way, from what they eat to how they deal with others and behave in any situation.

That said, you want to ensure that the parenting style you choose supports your child’s healthy growth and development.

According to clinical and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, parenting styles are classified into four categories.

They are:

  • Authoritarian Parenting 
  • Authoritative Parenting 
  • Permissive Parenting 
  • Uninvolved Parenting 

Authoritarian Parenting: Demanding but Not Responsive

When you think about the authoritarian parenting style, you can imagine a child in a boot camp and you, the parent, as the drill sergeant.

Authoritarian parents usually set a lot of rules for their children because they want them to behave in a certain way and adhere to authority.

For that reason, this style of parenting is often considered the most controlling.

According to Baumrind, authoritarian parents expect their children to behave in a certain way without explaining the why and the how.

Children of authoritarian parents do not receive praises or rewards for their good behavior.

They only usually receive punishment when they don’t follow the rules.

Effects on Children’s Behavior

This style of parenting might sound displeasing, but many parents use this approach for many reasons.

A lot of parents choose it because their culture and background dictate it.

Others do so because it’s also how they’ve been raised, and it worked for them.

Finally, other parents believe that to spare the rod is to spoil the child, so they choose this parenting style to ensure good behavior.

Unfortunately, study after study has shown that children of authoritarian parents:

  • Have poor self-esteem
  • Are unable to make decisions on their own
  • Have difficulty managing or regulating their emotions
  • Are either aggressive or socially inept
  • Are likely to rebel against authority figures when they become older
  • More likely to be involved in bullying

Mounting evidence also suggests that heavy-handed tactics don’t result in long-term behavioral improvements.

Instead, they tend to make things worse.

For instance, children of authoritarian parents are likely to elicit externalizing behavior problems.

Those range from defiance to antisocial conduct, theft, vandalism, and relational aggression.

They are also more likely to use and abuse alcohol.

Authoritative Parenting: Caring and Nurturing

As the term suggests, this parenting style involves strict rules that the child must follow; otherwise, there is a corresponding punishment.

To say that an authoritative parent is strict is an understatement.

While they often set rules and consequences, this style of parenting is more democratic.

That said, authoritative parents take their child’s opinions into account.

They listen to them and are willing to answer their questions.

They also offer feedback, support, and encouragement.

These parents also use positive strategies to reinforce good behavior, such as praise and reward systems.

Even though authoritative parents clarify that adults are ultimately in charge, they validate their child’s feelings and take their opinion into account.

Moreover, authoritative parents instill good behaviors in their children by being role models.

Effects on Children’s Behavior

Many studies suggest that children raised by authoritative parents are more likely to grow as responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

In fact, according to Baumrind, the authoritarian parenting style is the best approach to parenting.

Based on her research, children of authoritative parents:

  • Have good social skills
  • Have good emotional control and regulation
  • Are self-confident
  • Tend to have happier dispositions

Additionally, these children tend to be more self-reliant, academically successful, and well-behaved.

They are also less likely to report depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Permissive Parenting: Low Demands With High Responsiveness

Do you set rules for your children but rarely enforce them?

Do you let them learn on their own and only interfere when things start to get worse?

Then you must have a permissive parenting style.

Permissive parents are characterized as being quite forgiving.

They tend to adopt the notion that “kids are kids”, so when their children make a mistake, they often let it pass.

That they will soon outgrow their bad behaviors as they mature.

Permissive parents somehow prefer to be treated by their children as a “friend”, not a parent.

That said, they are very nurturing, warm, and encouraging.

Similar to authoritative parents, permissive parents are also emotionally supportive and responsive to their children.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside is that they are reluctant to impose limits.

They don’t require their children to demonstrate good habits and manners or be responsible around the home.

Effects on Children’s Behavior

Children of permissive parents are likely to elicit the following traits and behaviors:

  • Lack of discipline and self-control
  • Inability to manage their time or form good habits
  • Aggression, impulsiveness, and less emotional regulation
  • High self-esteem and good social skills

Furthermore, children of permissive parents tend to display low achievement in many areas of life.

According to experts, that is because parents have little to no expectations from them, so these kids grow up with nothing to strive toward.

Other experts link permissive parenting to risky behaviors in adulthood, such as drug use and misconduct.

what are the effects of parenting styles on children's behavior

Uninvolved Parenting: Dismissive and Neglectful

The last parenting style is also called “neglectful” parenting.

It’s characterized by a lack of responsiveness to the child’s needs.

In many cases, uninvolved parenting is not intentional.

Some parents could be suffering from mental health issues like depression or substance abuse.

Other times, it could be that they are just overwhelmed with work, finances, and other life issues.

Uninvolved parents are often indifferent or dismissive. They show little regard to their children and make few to no demands at all.

They also have little emotional involvement with their kids.

While they provide necessities like food, shelter, and education, they are relatively hands-off with their kids, and at times, downright neglectful.

Effects on Children’s Behavior

Children raised by uninvolved parents experience many different effects.

According to experts, they usually:

  • Are emotionally withdrawn
  • Suffer from anxiety and stress due to a lack of support from their family
  • Perform poorly in academics, social skills, and emotional skills
  • Have low self-esteem, anger, and hostility
  • Have a fear of becoming dependent on others
  • Rank low in happiness

Needless to say, uninvolved parenting is the worst approach to rearing children.

Children raised by uninvolved children have an increased risk of mood disorders, such as depression.

They are also four to ten times more likely to engage in substance use.

What Parenting Style Has the Most Positive Effect on a Child’s Behavior?

If you find yourself leaning towards authoritative parenting, congratulate yourself.

Still, both you and your spouse must be in sync when it comes to your parenting approaches.

When parenting styles clash, children become confused because they get inconsistent messages from their parents.

The good thing is parents can get along and send a clear and consistent message to their kids even though their styles conflict.

Different parenting styles can even complement each other.

For example, a permissive parent may help an authoritarian parent to become more affectionate and forgiving.

In contrast, an authoritative parent can help an authoritarian parent listen to their children and validate their feelings.

Research also suggests that having at least one authoritative parent makes a big difference to a child’s behavior.

How Can You Improve Your Parenting Style?

It’s undeniable that parenting is difficult and overwhelming.

It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time parent or a parent of five.

We all find ourselves grasping at straws sometimes.

The good news is we can always better our ways, especially how we treat and connect with our children.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of the effects of parenting styles on children’s behavior, you should work on the areas where you lack.

Here are some tips to improve your parenting style:

Be a Good Role Model

It’s true what they say that young children learn from their parents.

Research has shown that young children copy everything they see and hear.

That said, you have to be careful about what you say and do.

Set a positive example to your kids, regardless of how young they are.

Listen To Your Children

Make conversation a priority. The best thing about listening to your child is it makes them feel important.

When they do, they feel valued, which has a lasting impact on their self-esteem.

Stick To Your Rules

Making rules but not sticking to them has the same effect as making no rules at all.

To begin with, your children need to know that you are the parent, not just their friend.

As a parent, it’s your job to teach them the difference between right and wrong.

Therefore, you should make sure that your discipline is consistent.

It does sometimes hurt to say “no” to your kids, but when you can properly explain the reason behind those rules, it’s easier to make them comply.

Be Flexible

There are no “perfect parents”.

Every day can seem like an unending process of trials and errors and trying to figure out what works for your child. That’s okay.

When you’re struggling with unrealistic expectations and goals for you and your children, you may suddenly feel overwhelmed and burdened.

Instead of trying to make things perfect, learn how to be flexible with your parenting skills.

It’s fine to let the little things slide.

More Parenting Tips From the Whole-Brain Child

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your parenting style, The Whole-Brain Child by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson is a good resource.

This New York Times Bestseller explains the science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.

More importantly, it teaches us the twelve key strategies to promote healthy brain development in children, which helps them grow calmer, happier, and more resilient.

This book teaches parents how to:

  • Connect with their children when they’re upset and re-direct their minds to making amends.
  • Engage and not enrage. Allow them to think and listen rather than react.
  • Improve emotional regulation by asking questions and telling stories.
  • Teach their kids solving-problem skills, so they become more confident decision-makers later on.

Learn More Parenting Strategies on Blinkist

With the never-ending challenges that come with parenting, it pays to feed yourself with helpful resources that make your journey as a parent easier.

However, if you’re like most parents, you probably struggle sneaking time to read a book or two.

If that’s the case, you may read parenting books on Blinkist.

It’s a premium platform that allows you to read non-fiction books in 12 to 20 minutes.

Blinkist features 4,500 titles on different subjects, so you can also read book summaries on other topics.

Effects of Parenting Styles on Children’s Behavior: The Conclusion

Numerous studies have established a relationship between parenting style and a child’s behavior later in life.

In summary:

  • Children of authoritarian parents are likely to elicit poor self-esteem, aggression, and emotional regulation issues.
  • Children of authoritative parents are likely to become happier, resilient, and confident adults.
  • Children of permissive parents are likely to become adults with issues with self-control, discipline, aggression, and impulsiveness.
  • Children of uninvolved parents perform poorly in many aspects of life, including their social relationships.

Among the four styles, you should strive for an authoritative approach to parenting as it has the most benefits to your child’s behavior.

If you wanna learn more about them, books like The Whole-Brain Child, which you can find on Blinkist can help.

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