What Is The Best Parenting Style To Raise Your Children? One Parenting Style May Be All You Need Says Study
Which of the following best describes your approach to raising your children?
- Permissive. These types of parents tend to be very warm, engaging, and accepting of their children. They encourage their kids to make their own decisions. They avoid using punishment and tend to be rather lenient. Rules are viewed more as guidelines, with kids given lots of freedom without close parental supervision.
- Authoritarian. Children in these families have strict rules and firm consequences. Parents are in control, not the kids. These are demanding parents with high expectations. Parental flexibility is feared as a sign of weakness, with a concern that children will manipulate the situation.
- Uninvolved. Parents using this approach are generally very preoccupied with their own lives, and leave the children to figure things out on their own. There are few expectations for the children. Youngsters are viewed as small adults, with a great deal of freedom and flexibility.
- Authoritative. This style reflects parents who set clear limits on their children’s behavior, but combine that with warmth and affection. The parents are in charge, but there is close communication and engagement with the children.
It’s fashionable to think that all approaches are effective, depending upon the style of the parents and the personality of the child.
However, research indicates that one approach is generally the best for kids — the authoritative style.
This was reaffirmed in a study of over 5,000 children that took over 65 years to complete that was just published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
The study was done in England, and looked at the connection between parenting styles and how kids developed into adults. The monitoring began when the kids were young teens, and continued throughout the next 50 years until the subjects were in their 60s.
The study reaffirmed what every parent already knows. We matter. How we treat our kids echoes into their adulthood.
The authoritative style of parenting was most correlated to positive mental health outcomes throughout life. This means focusing on three aspects of your interactions with kids.
First, be warm and affectionate. Have fun. Enjoy your children. Don’t take things too seriously, and overreact to minor infractions. Watch a funny YouTube together. Do something silly.
Second, supervise and set firm limits. Don’t strive to be your child’s friend. Consistently enforce consequences. At times, be strict. At times, be accommodating. Most importantly, have the confidence in your ability to know whether firmness or flexibility is appropriate.
Third, communicate often with your kids. This means listening and understanding, not lecturing and interrogating. Try to see and feel the world from their perspective. Listen a lot. Talk a little.
Gregory Ramey, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, visit www.childrensdayton.org/ramey and join Dr. Ramey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drgregramey. Dr. Ramey has been a guest contributor to the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007.
[Reprinted by permission from the October 25, 2015, edition of the Dayton Daily News, “Are you using the correct parenting style?” Gregory Ramey, PhD]
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Guest Contributor Gregory Ramey, PhD, Child Psychologist and Dayton Daily News Columnist
Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a nationally recognized child psychologist and columnist who has worked at Dayton Children’s Hospital since 1979. In addition to his weekly column in the Dayton Daily News about effective parenting, Ramey has conducted more than 200 workshops and has recently been quoted in articles in Redbook, Parenting, Ladies Home Journal as well as columns distributed by the New York Times Wire Service.