What's your parenting style?

It’s always best to settle with your spouse your joint parenting style before bubba… Here are tips from Fiona Walker:

We often have a vision of what kind of parent we will be — we want to share the wonder of discovery with our offspring, impart our values to them, as well as develop in them a positive attitude, sense of humour and robust sense of self-worth.

However, by the time your child has turned 1, this vision becomes a little fuzzier, especially after a particularly fraught clash of wills over meals, bedtime or outright defiance. When junior has looked right at you and done just what you said they’re not to do, you may have asked yourself, “Wait a minute, who is this child?” Or even, “Who is this frustrated, screaming parent? Why is my spouse letting them get away with this? Things are not going according to my parenting plan!” This means that it’s time for you and your spouse to have a rational, unemotional discussion about how you feel you can best parent your child.

Fiona Walker, principal of schools and CEO, Julia Gabriel Centre, Singapore, explains that as soon as you realise you have different opinions on what acceptable behaviour is, you’ll need to have a discussion to come up with a game plan that is mutually acceptable. If you two don’t make a strong team, your child can and will divide and conquer!

She explains that parenting requires an enormous amount of patience, boundary setting and consistency. You want to avoid falling into the “good cop/bad cop” trap as this often leads to inconsistency, family disputes and may even cause a rift in your relationship with your spouse. It is important to be clear about your parenting style and your significant other’s parenting style.

The four important dimensions of parenting:

•  Disciplinary strategies.

•  Warmth and how to show emotional support and loving care.

•  Communication styles.

•  Expectations of maturity and control.

Studies that focus on parents’ responses and attitudes towards these dimensions have enabled four parenting styles to be identified.

1. Authoritarian parenting

Children are expected to follow strict rules set by parents, who will often respond to queries with “Because I said so” and may believe that children should be seen and not heard. These parents are very focused on obedience and training their children.
Impact Children can be obedient and proficient, but often have low self-esteem, poorly developed social skills and rank lower in happiness indexes.

2. Authoritative parenting

While these parents establish clear rules and guidelines, they are much more responsive when their children question authority. They are more nurturing than Authoritarian Parents when their children fail to meet expectations and are assertive, but not intrusive or restrictive.
Impact Children generally are happy, capable and successful.

3. Permissive parenting

More non-traditional and lenient, such parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children and have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. They often seem more like a friend than a parent.
Impact Children generally rank lower in self-control and happiness. They are also more likely to have difficulty with authority and this may affect their performance in school.

4. Uninvolved parenting

This style of parenting is characterised by very little communication and low expectations as the parents are largely detached from their child’s life.
Impact Such children unfortunately rank lower in all areas, including happiness, self-control, self-esteem, social awareness and academic competence.