The Best Parenting Style For You And Your Kids

By Gabrielle Benitez|Updated July 12, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

Parenting is not an easy task. There will be times where you feel like you've got parenting down and other occasions where you question whether or not you're doing the right thing. This is normal and not something you should beat yourself up over; even the best parents make mistakes. Nobody gets it right all the time; the reality is that parenting is, in many cases, something that you learn as you go.

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As a parent, you may naturally wonder which parenting style is best for you and your kids. To date, there are four parenting styles: hands-off, permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian. Each parenting style comes with its own points, although the latter two are often incorrectly viewed as the same. Although parenting authoritatively is largely viewed as the best parenting style for you and your children, understanding the other parenting style and their subsequent pitfalls are very important.

A Review Of Different Parenting Styles

Not all parents will engage in the same parenting styles, despite the benefits associated with certain styles. As a matter of fact, parents sometimes switch between various styles or maintain that their children are more compatible with certain styles than others. Regardless of which camp you fall into, knowing the basics of each parenting style will be of value to you as a parent.

Hands-Off Parenting

As the name suggests, hands-off parenting happens when parents have minimal involvement in the lives of the children. This particular parenting style forces children to learn from experience; in the worst cases scenarios, hands-off parenting can be neglectful or even dangerous if the child runs into trouble. Many parents who engage in hands-off parenting promote self-reliance and smart choices, but this is not always the best path.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting happens when parents make a habit of bending to the will of their kids and failing to enforce rules. In many cases, permissive parents want to maintain their children's happiness and be friends with their children. Sometimes, when heavy schedules, busy lives, and other factors monopolize a parent's time and energy, they may fall into the permissive parenting style. Ultimately, this form of parenting has been linked to children who develop senses of entitlement and believe the world will bend to their will.

Authoritative Parenting

A balance between maintaining ground rules and a healthy relationship with your kids is the embodiment of parenting authoritatively. Authoritative parents set guidelines for the children, but they also explain the reasons behind these guidelines and why they're in the children's best interest. The child's perspective is also heard, although this does not always change the mind of an authoritative parent. Overall, parenting authoritatively is linked to massively beneficial outcomes for children, including a healthy, loving relationship with their parents.

Authoritarian Parenting

"My house, my rules" is the mindset of authoritarian parents. Unlike authoritative parents, authoritarian parents expect obedience and respect simply because they are parents. Traditional and old-fashioned parenting styles tend to resonate with authoritarian parents, although this type of parenting can fracture a healthy, emotional connection between children and parents. As kids get older, they may be more likely to rebel or otherwise find sneaky ways to get around the rules and restrictions of their parents.

Why Is Authoritative Parenting Best For You and Your Children?

Parenting authoritatively is classified as "the optimal style" of parenting for a series of reasons. This particular manner of parenting is generally viewed as a healthy style due to its incorporation of ground rules, discipline, and care for the thoughts and feedback of children. This parenting style will especially prove valuable as children get older and become more eager to explore their independence.

Balance

Extremes are negative in all areas of life, but particularly when parenting is involved. Allowing children to do whatever they want with no guidance is just as perilous as being an overbearing, austere parent who fails to hear their child out. Parenting authoritatively is a healthy middle ground. Parents set rules and expect these rules to be followed, but they also explain the reasons behind the rules, ensuring that children know their parents care for them. Each parent will ultimately determine how they choose to raise their kids, but kids do become adults who remember how their parents treated them.

Positive Development

Parenting authoritatively is linked to positive development in children for a series of reasons. First and foremost, this manner of parenting involves sitting down with children and explaining why certain rules are in place. Over the long term, this helps kids understand how to make the most beneficial choices. In situations where children make mistakes or otherwise fall short, they are likelier to feel comfortable with divulging this to parents, assuming that a healthy relationship exists. Experts have described authoritative parenting as "warm, responsive, and autonomy-supportive."

Learning Potential

In many cases where parenting is involved, learning is viewed as something mutually exclusive to children. This is a common misconception, but the reality is that hearing out a child's perspective and outlook on certain issues can be eye-opening and enlightening to parents. Learning is an opportunity always to remain open, even if the source comes from their own children. Unlike other styles of parenting, authoritative parenting involves truly hearing a child and considering their opinions.

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Better Adulthood

Time and time again, parenting authoritatively is linked to children who grow into better, more sound, and accomplished adults. The ultimate goal of any parent should be to ensure that they're setting up their kids for success in the world as they grow into adults. Authoritative parenting helps foster this; adult children of authoritative parents are typically responsible, independent, respectful, and able to make good judgment calls. Authoritative parenting is moreover linked to children who can resist peer pressure and other negative influences.

Having A Relationship With Your Children

Individuals who subscribe to the authoritarian parent style often state that they shouldn't be friends with their children; this serves as a polar opposite to permissive parents, who often want to be viewed as their friend. While parents shouldn't seek to be their children's friends, this doesn't mean that authoritarian parenting is constructive or effective. Parents need to understand the difference between being friends with their children and maintaining a healthy, loving relationship with their children.

Why Should You Have A Relationship With Your Kids?

Having a relationship with your children impacts how they grow into adults, the treatment they learn to accept from others, and even how they conduct themselves in challenging situations. This goes back to the pitfalls of excessively strict, authoritarian parenting, which tends to erode positive relationships between parents and children. Kids who maintain positive relationships with their parents are more likely to confide in their parents when they get into trouble; this can be a very good thing, as certain predators in the world actively seek young people who seem disconnected from their families and others.

If You're Struggling With Parenting

If you're a parent and have difficulty raising or connecting with your children, you need to know that you are not alone. Parenting can be quite rewarding at times, but there are other occasions where it presents unique challenges. This happens in addition to other areas of your life, which may also cause stress.

Asking for help and seeking professional therapy is actually a great idea for anyone who has a rough time successfully parenting their children. Unfortunately, many parents beat themselves up when they feel like they're doing something incorrectly; wanting to improve as a parent is great, but handling this feeling improperly can backfire on both the parent and the child. Of course, having a spouse or others in the community can be of great value, but this is not always possible in every situation.

Signing up for online therapy with Regain can take an immense burden off your shoulders, whether you're dealing with parenting challenges or another matter entirely. One of the greatest upsides of online therapy is that you can take it anytime and from anywhere. Unlike more traditional forms of mental health care, you don't have to deal with the hassle of trying to make it to a therapist's office each week. We all have our busy lives and schedules, which can monopolize time and energy.

Struggling with parenting is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is seeking professional therapy. So many individuals have been led to believe that there's something wrong with asking for help. The truth of the matter is that no matter how strong, smart, successful, or capable you might be, no one is an island unto themselves. Seeking help when you know you need it is the ultimate mark of strength, self-awareness, and the potential to grow as a human being.

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