Self-awareness is integral to being a good parent. Striving toward ever-greater self-awareness helps you ask yourself honest questions about your most honest motivations when making parenting decisions. The key word in that last sentence, of course, is ‘honest.’ For example: Do I yell at my children because I have examined its effectiveness and conclude that it is an important part of my parenting strategy? Or do yell more out of habit, perhaps because yelling was prominent in my own parents’ approach to correcting my behavior?
The capacity to consider one’s actions in retrospect and in planning for future parenting behavior is where the help of a trained professional can be helpful. And while it can be said that there are as many parenting styles as there are parents, there are ways to gather information and gain greater understanding of your parenting style, as well as its strengths and limitations. Though our individuality makes it difficult to generalize, a broader understanding of parenting styles can be helpful. To many trained professionals, there are four major categories of parenting styles:
- Authoritarian: If you tend to opt for punishment frequently in order to disseminate life lessons to your children, you may be best described as an authoritarian. The authoritarian parent tends to demand things to adhere to certain specific standards. A strength of the authoritarian parenting style is that it accomplishes what the parent wants. This parenting style is characterized by the desire to show the parent’s strength to the children.
- Permissive: The permissive parent operates at the opposite end of the spectrum from the authoritarian parent, opting for few if any rules and very little structure. Children of the permissive parent are often allowed to set their own boundaries, for which they have little experience. Permissive parents may be better able to become their children’s friends, but the cost could be too much power in the hands of the child before the child is ready.
- Uninvolved: This style of parenting can neglect the primary needs of the child, likely giving far too much independence to the child, and communicating a lack of caring for the child.
- Authoritative: Likely the best balance of each of the main parenting styles, the authoritative style communicates a balance between giving children the independence they need to learn and the structure they need until they’re ready to gain more responsibility.
AMS Mediation can help you understand your parenting style better, especially in the context of a divorce, separation or other major life event. AMS Mediation provides superior professional divorce and parenting services which are efficient, effective, respectful, informative, and non-judgmental. If you would like more information about our parenting services, call 1-952-252-1492.