How could parenting styles affect the outcome of our children?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The social and professional outcome of children are quite dependent on the support systems that are found, both at home and in society, as a whole. However, there is the rare occasion where the parenting, itself, has little influence over the choices made by children, given their own particular temperament. It is asserted, nevertheless, that there are four types of parenting styles which do seem to be correlated to specific outcomes: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved.

Both, successful parents, as well as teachers, can confirm that the worst outcome for children comes as a result of authoritarian parenting.

Authoritarian parenting consists on possessing all the control of the household while disenfranchising the child. Parents who are authoritarian limit their children by giving them excessive (and sometimes even unnecessary) rules followed by punishment if they do not abide by them. Authoritarian parents are basically telling their children that the only way that they (the parents) know how to exert control is by using their age as a mechanism of oppression. Children are expected to obey the parents without question and follow every direction without judgment. The product of authoritarian parenting is fear, anger, resentment, and suppressed emotions that could either explode into a rage, or implode in the form of self-mutilation, drug, and/or alcohol abuse.

Permissive parenting, on the other hand, would be the absolute opposite of authoritarian. By saying "permissive" does not mean that the child is allowed to do whatever they want, but that they are trusted into that they will make the right choices. There are no limitations as to what the child can or cannot do, but there is a lot of openness into meeting the expectations of always making good choices. This is a real game of trust that may entice the child to always do the right thing, as he or she has ALREADY been judged positively. Self-confidence, self-trust, and the freedom to do "right" is a possible outcome. A negative one would be not knowing the limitations in situations outside of the home and getting in trouble as a result of that.

Uninvolved parents do not interact with their children, either positively nor negatively. They rest their responsibilities on their child's teacher, blame others for the actions of their children and miss out on valuable communication time. These are busy parents who are automated to a number of activities that require their presence. The possible outcome of this (the worst) type of parenting is an unaffected child; one which will not express affect, nor affection, responsibility, nor conscience for his or her own actions. Unfortunately, our society seems to be gearing in this direction.

Authoritative parenting is the most positive type, but it is also the rarest to be found. In it, the parents and children interact democratically in the delineation of limits, privileges, and even in consequences. Open communication is ever-present as well as a strict discipline in the following of social rules. This type of parent supports the teacher's suggestions, accepts the mistakes and consequences given to the child, and seeks for the best. The outcome of a functional home where there is respect and mutual trust will be a successful, confident, and socially equipped individual that will understand limits, accept defeats, and appreciate the everyday victories of life.