Parents are their children’s strongest role model and greatest influence. Your children will eventually adopt many of your values and types of behavior, just as you have been influenced by your parents. Your children notice and respond to the way you deal with problems, express feelings and celebrate special occasions.
As a parent, it is impossible to not model. Your children will see your example—positive or negative—as a pattern for the way life is to be lived.
Keep in mind, though, that there is no such thing as an ideal family. Every family has problems, and everyone makes mistakes. Young people make mistakes, and parents make mistakes. What’s more important for learning (yours and your children’s) is the way you handle the situations when you do make mistakes. Honestly admitting when you are wrong and making amends can be a powerful way to model the behavior you want your kids to adopt.
It isn’t enough that we tell our children we love them. We need to put our love into action every day for them to feel it. And when we do that our kids need a lot less discipline! It’s important to stay involved, no matter what the age of your children. Start early and keep at it, even if you get the impression that they aren’t paying any attention to you.
Mostly, it means making that connection with our child our highest priority. Love in action means paying thoughtful attention to what goes on between us, seeing things from the our child’s point of view, and always remembering that this child who sometimes may drive us crazy is still that precious baby we welcomed into our arms with such hope. It takes a lot of effort to fully attend to another human being, but when we are really present with our child, we often find that it energizes us and makes us feel more alive, as being fully present with anyone does. Being close to another human takes work. But 90% of people on their deathbed say that their biggest regret is that they didn’t get closer to the people in their lives. And almost all parents whose children are grown say they wish they had spent more time with their kids.
What about the overall approach that parents take to guiding, controlling, and socializing their kids? The attitudes that parents have about their children and the resulting emotional climate that creates?
It’s this general pattern–this emotional climate–that researchers refer to as “parenting style”. And research suggests that parenting styles have important effects on the ways that children develop.
Parents are a huge part of a child’s life. However they act, whatever they say, anything that they do largely impacts a child’s development from the moment they are born. According to psychologist Diana Baumrind’s research, she found that there are four types of parenting styles:
Baumrind identified the following four parenting styles:
- Authoritative: Democratic style of parenting, parents are attentive, forgiving, teach their offspring proper behavior, have a set of rules, and if child fails to follow their is punishment, if followed their is reward/reinforcement.
- Authoritarian: Strict parenting style, involves high expectations from parents but have little communication between child and parents. Parents don’t provide logical reasoning for rules and limits, and are prone to harsh punishments
- Permissive: Parents take on the role of “friends” rather than parents, do not have any expectations of child, they allow the child to make their own decisions
- Uninvolved: Parents neglect their child by putting their own life before the child’s. They do provide for the child’s basic needs but they show little interaction with the child