All parents love their children. We can confidently assume that save for the perverse, this statement is true. Thus, the WHETHER-OR-NOT of parental love is not actually up for debate. The tricky part is the HOW. There are likely to be as many ways of loving children as there are parents themselves.
Psychology however has identified three basic parenting prototypes. Of course, for each style, it would be rare to find a pure type; most of us, even if we recognize ourselves as a particular kind, still embody a little of the other types. Let us take a look then. At the very least, we will be able to affirm the things we seem to be doing right. We might even learn something about ourselves that we haven’t realized before, and thus find things to strengthen, or modify, or remove, all for the better.
The first parenting prototype is the PERMISSIVE style. A permissive parent is highly accepting and affirming, a non-punitive type. Family decisions are consulted and rules are explained. The level of parental control in the family is low, with few demands made of the children, who then end up regulating themselves. In lieu of employing direct power in relating with the children, the permissive parent uses reason at best and manipulation at worst. The permissive parent is more of a resource in the home, rather than a manager.
Because of low parental regulation, children in permissive homes tend to have poor emotional management skills. When their desires are challenged, they are likely to be rebellious and defiant, as they are used to generally having their way. They also exhibit low persistence in challenging tasks, giving up rather easily. On the extreme side, antisocial behaviors may be observed.
Recently, a certain mother-and-son pair has made it to the headlines, due as much to the son’s alleged crimes as to the peculiar relationship they demonstrated, based on the mother’s pronouncements. Here is a wonderful example of permissive parenting in its most intense interpretation, and the contingent negative effects, likewise in the most acute sense.
On the other end of the continuum is the AUTHORITARIAN parenting style. This type of parent imposes a set, often strict, sometimes absolute standard of conduct, according to which the children’s behavior and attitudes are shaped, controlled and evaluated. Order and structure are very important in an authoritarian home, and they are valued as ends in themselves. Thus obedience is valued over a child’s self-will. Parental demands are at a high level, as are responsibilities in the home. There is low autonomy for the children, and a low level of verbal give-and-take, as in discussions and general exchanges of opinions. Logically, the authoritarian parent is punitive, using forceful measures.
Children who grow up in authoritarian homes generally do well in school and are not likely to engage in anti-social behavior, most likely for fear of parental punishment. However, they tend to be anxious and withdrawn, with unhappy dispositions. When faced with frustrating situations, they display poor reactions and low initiative. Girls are especially prone to giving up while boys become particularly hostile.
This type of austere, militaristic method of upbringing is typical of generations past. Many of our grandparents have doubtless narrated to us how they had to kneel on monggo seeds, or been beaten with a stick, or slapped in the face for some transgression. Practices like these are thankfully gone for the most part, but we have to realize that harsh parenting is not limited to corporal sanctions. Words, looks and body language can be just as punitive.
The third type lies somewhere along the middle range. AUTHORITATIVE parents may be described as rational, firm, fair and reasonable. The home is directed on issue-oriented adult perspectives, not on group consensus (no Matilda, the home is NOT a democracy!) nor on individual children’s desires. And at points of parent-child divergence, the authoritative parent decides, exercising reasoned control while not claiming infallibility. Autonomy, self-will and disciplined conformity among children are valued, thus there are low restrictions and high recognition. Through much verbal give-and-take, a child’s present qualities are affirmed while standards are set for future behavior.
This combination of priorities and practices produces children of lively and happy disposition, with well developed social skills and emotion regulation abilities. Children of authoritative parents are self-confident about their ability to master tasks. In addition, they are less rigid in their attitudes, expectations, responses to situations and gender-typed traits; boys for instance are comfortable with their sensitivity, and girls are not hesitant to demonstrate independence.
Why is authoritative parenting so effective? In the first place, parents who are nurturing, combining warmth and reasonable control are far more likely to be complied with. When children perceive their parents to be levelheaded and evenhanded, making demands that fit their ability, they subsequently learn that they are competent and esteemed. Parents who praise children for striving to meet their expectations and who make good use of disapproval provide models of caring concern as well as confident, self-controlled behavior. Children are taught emotion management skills and are better able to transition to maturity.
So therefore, ano’ng klase kang magulang?
Reference: Diana Baumrind’s (1966) Prototypical Descriptions Of 3 Parenting Styles