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Parenting Styles.

During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:
  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturance
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity and control
Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles:
- Authoritarian
- Permissive
- Authoritative

In the first article by Baumrind, she explains the different parenting types and how someone's childhood can have a huge impact on the type of parent they become. 

First, there is the Authoritarian style. This is one of which the parent feels the need to control. They value obedience and demand respect. They feel they are superior to their children and they make it known. The child is often fearful. They also give harsher punishments. They do reward, but it is usually in a bribery manner. Many parents in this category set high expectations for their children, which many cannot meet.

At the other end of the spectrum, is Permissive parenting. These parents do not control their children, it is more like the other way around. There is no discipline, and the child grows up knowing they can get whatever they want. When the parent does try to discipline, the child doesn't take it seriously. These parents give in easily and avoid confrontation whenever possible.
Then, there's Authoritative parenting. This style is considered to be the best of the three. These parents set standards, but also give their child choices. They recognize the good things that their child does, but they do not overlook the bad things. These parents are more confident and nurturing. They set standards that their child can meet. Usually, this type of parenting leads to a positive self image in the child.

"A person's childhood can play a major role 
in the type of parent they become."

The Authoritarian parent usually has a history of an unhappy childhood. This type of person may have been anxious and withdrawn as a child, and learned to have poor reactions to frustration. As an adult, this person reacts by showing that he can control something in his life: his child.
The Permissive parent usually has a history of low self esteem, and is sometimes known as antisocial. These people become rebellious when an interest is challenged, and they have low persistence during any challenging task. Therefore, it is easier to just let a child do whatever he wants.
The Authoritative parent, however, is shown to have been happy and confident as a child. This person would have developed social skills and be able to handle tough situations without resorting to violence or rebellion. This means setting rules, standing by them, but also being fair and talking to your child about what they did wrong at the time of their disciplining. You don't have to be mean or unfair to get them to listen to you or to be disciplined. 

"Being a friend isn't saying you are being permissive either. Some people think that if you are their friend, you aren't disciplining them and you are letting them walk over you. But this just isn't true. If you set rules, stand by them, be fair and talk with your teenager, they will respect you and honor the rules more so than if you were unfair and authoritarian. Try it, you might be surprised.- Amy Black, Yahoo Voices contributor.

What's "wrong" with an Authoritarian parenting style?

“The problem is that the world changed and it is not the same as it was fifty years ago. Authoritarian parenting worked when  it was common for rules to go unanswered and practices to go unquestioned. It may have worked then and probably seemed to work then because it was the only way to do things. Its existence depends on its goal of attaining unquestioning loyalty...

If the child asks the Authoritarian parent about why he can't smoke cigarettes, the parent would simply say, 'Because cigarettes are bad, that's all you need to know.'

To the child who asked why cigarettes are bad, the Authoritative parent will tell him that they cause your breath to stink, make your lungs black, and shorten your lifespan by several years. And then he'll tell him the meaning of addiction.
Authoritative parents give reasonable evidence (of) why the rule is there, giving kids a better idea of how it is beneficial as a whole. And unlike kids of Authoritarian parents, they will not deliberately break the rule in a rebellious act.
Nobody in the world is perfect. We all make mistakes. Sometimes the biggest mistake a parent can make is to think they are always right about what is best for their children. Don't make that mistake. Perhaps it is the ability of children to learn what their parents are too old to learn, that makes them so special." (Reddy, 2008). 

I am thankful to have come from a relatively Authoritative household; but my mother kind of border-lined Authoritarian. My dad was definitely a bit more of a free-spirit type who always told me to "not be too hard on myself" when I messed up; my mom was more "let the punishment fit the crime." My parents did their best to enforce guidelines and did not rely on control or physical force. I point out in another post that, as adults, we don't go around hitting each other at work when things don't go our way (at least not without the cops getting called), so why would hitting a child out of frustration or anger be any example or way to teach him/her what is acceptable and what isn't? 

In the real world, if you make a bad choice, you usually get something taken from you - a job (showing up late, lying to your boss), freedom (breaking the law), money (fines, traffic tickets). So why wouldn't we teach our children the same, how to actually deal with negative choices and negative consequences?

Act up? Privileges taken away. Consistency. Add a brief explanation of what you think about what happened, ask what the child thinks about what happened, how it affects the family, and what might be the better approach. 

One commentator wrote, "That's why mirco-managing parents are creating this needy culture who can't handle heartache or any type of disappointment when they are adults because as kids they never had to. Mommy would come and fix it. The best gift my parents gave me is how to handle life's ups and downs, death, disappointment and rejection, and to create confidence to handle situations. If they aren't made to do it as kids/teens they aren't going to be able to do it as adults."

We influence our millennial+ children for such a short time, 10-15 years at best, where the parent is their most trusted example. Then it's up to your teachings (and example) to help your child stand strong against all of the mischief and temptations out there. 

Look up books on parenting, read Amazon reviews, and understand that you weren't born knowing every single best way to care for your child. We live in a time when there are numerous books/magazines, websites and literature about the proper caring and nurturing of children that its silly not to take advantage of it, and try to open our minds. I felt like when I became a parent I would know it all, do it all "better!" Then quickly realized I had to use my own filters to take in advice from other parent's who maybe made mistakes but learned from them, then shared their ideas with other parents, and what they found really worked for them. 

I don't know that I would have wanted me as a parent when I was 20-25. I think any time after 25 would have been good, but before then...too much life to experience first, mistakes and all. I wasn't as patient, kind, or understanding when I was a teen and young 20-year-old, I can admit it. Other friends I speak with admit that having a baby young was really so much harder than they could have imagined, and some admit to not being as patient, kind, and really there for their children when they were "still growing up themselves." 

Don't take away that brilliant life and happiness that children are born with; the intense desire to learn and become a confident young person. Whether you are a young mom or not, you are a great mom just for caring. But when you have time, try to take a look at your parenting tactics to make sure they really will fuel longevity and a close bond between you and your child(ren). Children learn best by example..but they also need true acceptance, friendship, guidance and love. 

Some authors I recommend that really helped us as millennials are: 
  • Raising Your Spirited Child, author: Mary Sheedy Kurcinka 
  • Siblings Without Rivalry, Adelle Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  • The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
  • How To Talk So Kids Will Listen.., Adelle Faber &  Elaine Mazlish 
  • The Birth to Five Book.., Brenda Nixon 
  • 1-2-3 Magic, Effective Discipline.., Thomas W. Phelan
  • The Pocket Parent, Gail Reichlin

What is the extent of parental influence? 
As a parent, you influence your child by the example you model (who and how you are), the treatment you give (how you choose to act and react with your child), the structure you impose (what you value and allow), and the education you impart (what information and instruction you provide). As a parent, you need realistic humility. You need to say the following to yourself: “I am not all-powerful. I am not all-knowing. I am not perfect. I cannot fully protect my child any more than I can fully prepare my child. I can be right some of the time, but not all of the time. I can be sensitive to some of my child's needs, but not to all of my child's needs. I cannot always be at my child's side. I can inform my child's choice, but I cannot control that choice. I can be totally committed to my child's welfare, but I cannot totally ensure that welfare even though I wish I could” (Net Places, Positive Discipline). 
Everyone can changeknowledge and acceptance is half the battle. The desire and ability to make it happen is the other half. Life ought to be lived as if you are running out of time...which we all essentially are. We are running out of time to make a difference, to spend time with our children and spouse, to become a better person, to be an example of the kind of footprint we want to leave on this earth.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure...We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." 
~M. Williamson