A few years ago, psychologists began to study and create different Parenting Styles. It is an attempt to bridge the gap between what works in a family and what does not. A parenting style is simply a mental construct reflecting common, typical ways that parents approach to child rearing in their family. The quality of parenting is more important than the amount of time invested with a child.
Most parenting styles fall into one of three categories. There is Structuralism, Emotionalistic, or Clinical Child Development. (I call this the SCD syndrome because it has a consistent pattern of functioning over time.) In this article I want to discuss the first one, which is Structuralism.
Structuralism is the first of the three parenting styles described above. As the name implies, structuralism is driven by the importance of structure in family life. Most psychologists who work with this group tend to be social workers and social scientists. They view families as having three interacting principal parts – parents, children, and friends. The importance of this primary group in the life of each member is high. Children learn a lot from their parents, so it is important to them.
The second of the three parenting styles described above is emotionalistic. This is also known as the L-shaped model of psychology. Here, the parents are the main anchors and the children are just along for the ride. Emotionalistic parenting styles are highly dependent on the role of the other two anchors, the parent-child interaction. Children are usually very responsive to the parent-child interaction, although some will become overly responsive to parental warmth.
The third of the three parenting styles is the clinical or tri-p-positive parenting styles. This model is based on research on child behavior and has been found to be the most effective in altering problematic behaviors. The clinical child behaviorist will use time management techniques, rewards and consequences along with various family-based therapies to accomplish this goal. This group also tends to be therapists and teachers.
The fourth of the parenting styles, the uninvolved is characterized by the mother as the primary caregiver. This mother does not participate in the family’s activities and has little to no involvement in the family’s activities or decisions. She is very involved in the children’s lives though and is very protective and is involved in all aspects of their lives. Unlike the authoritative family-based parenting styles, this one does not emphasize the importance of establishing boundaries and limitations.
In order to fully explore the types of parenting styles, research on the characteristics and function of these four parenting styles should be conducted. This is the only way to determine which one is most appropriate for you. Leung’s parenting style focuses on creating a balance between mother and father, while allowing children to have their personal needs and desires fulfilled.
This balanced parenting means setting limits without giving the child an authority figure to demand obedience. It is very different from the authoritarian parenting styles, but may fit very well into the uninvolved parenting styles. Dr. Leung offers many other parenting styles that can help you find the best kind of parenting for your family. He is the author of the groundbreaking book The New Parent Manifesto – A Revolutionary 12-Step Workbook For Creating a Life of Meaningful Parents and Children. You can follow the blog at Psychology Today to learn more about this important topic.
An additional study by Dr. Leung on the parenting styles revealed that those who parent with an authoritative parenting style are actually more happy with their children than those who use the uninvolved or non-authoritative style. This would seem to make sense as the authoritative parenting style gives parents more control over the lives of their children. Also, parents who use the uninvolved parenting style with their children are not happy with the results. This might make sense also if you think in terms of motivation. If you feel like you are not in control of your life and you don’t really enjoy taking care of your kids, then being in the authoritative parenting style may not be for you.
Although these theories on parenting styles may help you understand yourself better, it is not a guarantee that you will be successful in becoming a successful parent. All of these theories can be examined only by you. You must know what you want in life. You have to determine which parenting style you prefer. This will help you find out what type of parenting style fits you best. You need to determine if your ideal parenting style is one that results in your child behavior being happy and healthy.
In addition, these parenting styles are not mutually exclusive. There are some families that both parents use one of these styles and this is not a bad thing. You need to remember that even though each of these parenting styles may work for your child, it does not mean that they are the right ones for your child. Your family is unique, and your child needs to have a chance to grow and thrive. Find out what works for you and your family and move forward from there. If at any time you feel that you are not doing a good job as a parent, then you need to talk to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s behavior.