Dr. Sarita Bhargava – Pediatrician.
Qualified PALS by Indian Academy of Pediatrics.
Author of a very popular book ‘Your Precious Gem & You’.
It is generally considered that the method of bringing up children is the same in our society. No, it is not so as we see that parents adopt different ways for bringing up children . Infact even in a family the style of rearing two children is not the same. Parents have to adopt different measures depending on the nature and abilities of the children .Some parents recall the ways in which they were raised by their parents and follow them .Some adopt different ways in accordance with the changing scenario of the society .They are financially sound and want to provide the best to their children . Economic status is no bar for adopting measures whilst raising children, even a labourer wants to send his child to a private school .
In the era about 4-5 decades back the joint families were in abundance ,the family head believed in spending money on the basic requirements of the family, savings were his priority. With the intermingling of the Indian culture and Western culture and the coming up of nuclear families the way of using the finances have changed . People earn , spend lavishly competing with the colleagues in the society ,each one wanting to achieve the highest standard of living . Savings have shifted down in priority.
Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind identified three main parenting styles which were later expanded to four. They are based on the combination of acceptance , responsiveness ,demand and control between the parent and the child.
- AUTHORITATIVE parenting is considered to be the right style of parenting by many because in it the child has medium demands and the parents are highly responsive .The parents do not have high expectations from the children. They have a positive approach and rarely believe in punishing the children. They are aware of the child’s feelings and abilities and help him in becoming independent within set limits. There is a “speak and listen” child parent communication , so both the child and the parent are satisfied. This is because parents willingly listen to the children , consider their views and are more forgiving. Results from this attitude are positive as the children have the best cognitive , social and emotional outcomes . They have good communication skills and are able to take decisions independently . The children try new ventures ,are socially competent , responsible and autonomous. All this is seen because parents have not imposed strict restrictions on the children .
- AUTHORITARIAN parenting—Parents following this style are very rigid and strict. They place high demands on the children and are not responsive. They place a set of rules which the child is supposed to obey and follow strictly .The parents are status oriented and use punishment frequently to make the child follow the rules . The child is not heard to when he breaks the rules .This type of parenting is seen in working class families who say ‘Do as I say”. The children are not allowed to do anything according to their wish , they are always under stress of following the rules . Diana found that children raised by these parents are less cheerful , more moody and prone to stress. They become passively hostile in due course of time. Children have poor communicating and interpersonal skills .They display low levels of initiative .These children snap their emotional bonds and move away from the parents at the earliest opportunity .They may rebel or become dependent and aggressive . However some parents of this group have some warmth for children. They communicate a bit more with the children .This helps them in maintaining parent child interaction.
- PERMISSIVE parenting —Parents mostly from middle class families show this type of indulgent parenting. Child’s freedom is highly valued and parents rely on reasoning and explanation . They are not demanding and rarely punish the children .Parents respond well to the demands instantaneously. They believe that what they were not able to get in childhood should be given to the children freely .Parents and the children communicate in a friendly manner. Children are highly demanding , spoiled and are impatient with people who do not give them what they demand . The children are happy but have low level of self control and self reliance . They have poor social skills , are self centred and so do not develop good relationships with the peers. They only want their desires to be fulfilled and want that peers should listen to and follow them.
- UNINVOLVED PARENTING—The parents are not involved in the children’s life .They have little or no expectation from them and do not communicate regularly with them. They do not demand much and have low responsiveness to their needs. These parents fulfill the children’s needs for surviving but are detached from their lives .There is a large gap between them and the children. Children are allowed full independence.In most extreme forms this comes as neglect . The children learn by their own experience .Children show poor social skills and are emotionally deprived . They try to seek emotional guidance from other persons .The children have low self esteem , are socially incompetent show poor academic performance , and have behavior problems in later life. Their verbal skills and initiative skills are normal .Children find it hard to discipline themselves because they have not received any sort of guidance from the parents . Warm but firm approach by parents allow the teens to be independent within developmentally appropriate parental limits and boundaries .
- HELICOPTER PARENTS give too much protection to their children and make them very dependent. The children of these parents lack confidence and are not able to take decisions independently .The dependence is so much that the children go for the academic interviews with the parents .
Parenting based on control usually lacks warmth and with too many restrictions the children learn only to obey rather than making good choices about their behavior .As they get older they spend more time outside adult supervision . The style of parenting that fosters self discipline is authoritative parenting . These parents use positive discipline to help children to learn and understand good and bad impacts of their behavior , actions and choices . They set reasonable limits , tell and show what behavior is expected and use fair measures rather than harsh punishments . They allow children some freedom with guidance and are willing to negotiate and consider their children’s ideas and desires . Children are allowed to make their own decisions in matters of choosing clothes and spending their pocket money .Small mistakes make them learn the connection between the behavior and the consequence .Mistakes made by the children act as ladders for advancing further . These help them in preparing for the teenage years when they will be making their own decisions. Children are to be protected from serious mistakes which can harm them . You should give suggestions at the stage when they are allowed to take their own decisions.