Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker

So what difference does parenting style make?

There is a fair bit of research out there that shows that kids who come from homes with different types of parenting styles behave in different ways. Parents who provide emotional warmth and closeness, show interest in their child’s well being, consistently provide clear rules and enforce them, and grant children age appropriate independence tend to have children with higher self-esteem. Kids from these types of home also tend to be more engaged and successful in school, more independent and more self-reliant. And here’s one more thing…..they tend to choose to be a part of peer groups that are more socially acceptable, like athletic teams, drama club, band, etc.

This type of parenting style is Authoritative, the one that provides rules and consequences with high levels of love and support. I find this information really interesting. It tells me that if I choose to parent in this way, I have a better chance of my children being successful, happy with themselves, and making responsible choices.  That’s what I want!

So, here’s my question to you parents out there. We all know we should provide clear rules and consistent consequences along with love and encouragement. But, in day-to-day life, sometimes we don’t succeed in doing that. What is your biggest challenge in parenting in this way? What gets in your way?

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4 comments on “So what difference does parenting style make?

  1. Matt
    March 9, 2010

    One challenge is figuring out how to “evolve” the rules as kids age. At some point, for example, we stopped telling our teenagers what time to go to bed. We still do it every once in a while, but for the most part they make their own decisions on that front. Its part of the process of “age appropriate independence.”

    Problem is, that the younger kids, who still have bedtimes, think its grossly unfair. The ongoing question is – at what point do we “loosen” those rules for the next kid? And how to do it?

    • drshew
      March 30, 2010

      Matt, that’s such a tough one, especially when your children are all different ages. Right now we have a 10 year old and a 5 year old. Wow, that’s huge difference in what’s allowed in so many areas. We’ve been struggling this year with how to give our older child enough freedom while also protecting our younger one.

  2. Laura
    March 10, 2010

    My struggle is with being consistent. I feel pretty good about the boundaries and guidelines that my husband and I set, and if all is right with the world, then those go pretty well, but if I am really tired or working on a deadline, I either become more lax or more strict than I want to be. And, if I’m honest with myself, those days happen far more often than I’d like.

    • drshew
      March 30, 2010

      Oh, consistency. Isn’t that hard for most of us? Once we have more than one child, anyway.

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2010 by in Acting, Planning, Recognizing and tagged , , .

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