Parenting Style, All Parents Have One. Do You Know Yours?

Parenting Style, All Parents Have One. Do You Know Yours?

Knowing your parenting style is a bit like knowing your blood group. We all know we have one, but we don’t actually know what it is. Is it positive or negative?

Who You Are As A Person Will Define Your Parenting Style?

I never really thought about what my parenting style would be when I was pregnant with my first and didn’t even look into it until she was at least four. During my first two pregnancies (1999 and 2001) I was really only preoccupied with week-by-week fetal development and shopping for everything everyone said we needed. I was massively apprehensive about looking after (and frankly just keeping alive) a tiny, totally dependent human and I never projected into future life with a small walking, talking person let alone a bigger child or teenager.

Are You One Or More Parenting Styles?

  1. Authoritarian Parenting – Where children follow a series of strict rules and are expected to adhere to them. Failure to do so results in punishment. The parents are dictatorial and uncompromising and often expect their kids to be high achievers.
  2. Authoritative Parenting – Clear boundaries are set and enforced democratically. Authoritative parents are nurturing but do expect guidelines to be followed. The majority of parents demonstrate some form of authoritative parenting.
  3. Permissive Parenting – No set boundaries, allowing the child to self-regulate (e.g. go to bed when they want to). Permissive parents are nurturing, nontraditional and very easy-going.
  4. Instinctive Parenting – Parents raise their kids based on cues from their child, mixed in with influences from how they themselves were parented. Again, the majority of parents demonstrate some form of instinctive parenting.
  5. Attachment Parenting – Attention is focused on the bond between the parent and their child with minimal separation (in the early years). Think baby-wearing, co-sleeping and extended breast-feeding.

My Parenting Style Can Be Confusing To Some

The first three on the list were coined by parenting style psychology expert Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, with the last two being added as parenting has evolved. When I reflect on the above definitions, I realise that I am mostly an instinctive parent although I am also authoritative and have thrown in some attachment parenting just to confuse everyone. My parenting style is definitely a reflection of who I am, and I am not at all permissive nor authoritarian.

We Still Have Our 5 Year Old With Us In Bed

I remember the day clearly. My third baby and I were at the doctors. He had a bad cold, was 9-months-old, and had been in bed with me for the two weeks prior. I had been sleeping sitting up with him, so he could breathe properly. “You need to put him back in his cot, or he’ll be in there until he is five” the Doctor said. I came away smiling at such a ridiculous response…we celebrate his 5th birthday in less than a month and, yes, he’s still in our bed. My mother’s “you’re making a rod for your own back” still rings in my ears.

The amazing thing is, Hubby and I don’t mind. We have enjoyed being close to him and I feel that we have all benefited. This is a classic example of attachment parenting; yet it is the only part of that school of thought that we have embraced.

Thank God The Era Of Corporal Punishment Is Over

Trusting your instincts and carving out your own style, based on what your child needs, is instinctive parenting. It is said that it is established by how we, as children, were parented. Now, as a child of the 70s, I can say that I have adopted many of the loving practices my parents bestowed upon me, yet I have not attempted to smack my kids with a wooden spoon! My parents were definitely authoritative but the punishments many of my generation received (including in school) were fairly authoritarian. I recall having the board rubber (in the days when interactive whiteboards were not even a figment of someone’s imagination) thrown at me by one teacher and being lifted by my ears and placed in the classroom bin by another. These are punishments that simply would not occur in any school today and came from authoritarian parenting principles.

Time For A Change Perhaps

When the terrible twos are in full force, the food is flying and the melt-down is real most parents will follow their gut instincts based on their personality and upbringing. This is, in essence, their parenting style. I was never able to leave my child to ‘cry it out’, hence I have a 5-year-old in my bed. One of my friends could, and did, and sleeps much better than I do. There is no right or wrong but after many years of research, it has been concluded by child development experts that authoritative parenting produces the best ‘outcomes’ in children who tend to be confident and happy.

I believe it is time to kit out a soon-to-be 5-year-old’s bedroom!

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