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What's Your Parenting Style?

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 13 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Parenting Parent Children Rules

There really isn’t a right or wrong way to bring up children, and although there are thousands of books, websites, magazines and even DVDs on the subject of parenting, you will find that they all make one thing crystal clear-every child is different and has different needs, behaviour patterns and therefore requires a different approach.

With such a wealth of information available, and with parenting becoming increasingly competitive, it is understandable why so many of us struggle on a daily basis with knowing what to do for the best!

Establish Your Style

A good way to start to look at your parenting skills is to establish your parenting style because this will give you a good indication of what is working and what clearly is not, and from then on you can make some adjustments and changes that could actually make a big difference to the way your child responds to you.

Parenting styles fall into the following categories:

• Authoritarian• Authoritative• Permissive• Neglectful or uninvolved


Here are a few questions that you could ask yourself to try and establish the kind of parent you are, and whether or not your parenting style is working for your children:

1. If your child hits another child in the playground, how do you react?a. Get really angry and tell the other child to hit your child back?b. Ignore both of the children and Just let them get on with it?c. Make it clear to your child that hitting is not acceptable behaviour, make sure they apologise and if it happens again remove a privilege?

2. Your child and some friends have made a huge mess in his bedroom but now want to go outside and play. Do you:a. Shout at them and make them clear it up?b. Just let them go and play and deal with the mess yourself?c. Invent a game that involves clearing up and get involved yourself?

3. One of your children is trying hard to get out of going to bed by claiming to be hungry. Do you:a. Get cross and make her got to bed, even if she is hungry?b. Let her have whatever she wants to eat?c. Choose a healthy snack for her to have but make it clear that she should have eaten more at supper time?

4. If your children have temper tantrums, do you:a. Get cross and send them to their bedrooms?b. Give in and let them do whatever they like because it’s easier that way?c. Stand your ground but try and make them understand that there are better ways to express how they are feeling?

5. If one of your children wakes you in the night because they are having a bad dream, do you:a. Get angry because they have woken you up?b. Let them sleep wherever they like?c. Make sure they are OK and stay with them until they fall asleep?

6. The main reason for parenting and discipline is to:a. Make sure that your children know they must listen to you ALWAYS?b. Make sure that everyone is happy and doing what they want?c. Teach your children the importance of rules and boundaries, and encourage them to make good choices independently?

An authoritarian parent tries to control a child's behaviour and insists that they have complete respect for authority, they are not very flexible in their approach to parenting and will sometimes resort to smacking or hitting a child if they do not behave. They often display anger and shout at their children.

A permissive parent is extremely laid back and relaxed about their child’s behaviour and does not insist on boundaries or even a particular standard of behaviour, preferring to keep everyone happy rather than using any form of discipline or authority.

An authoritative parent believes that both the child and the parent’s needs are important and need to be met and that they both have certain rights. The parent is in control and doesn't need to use physical force to keep the child well behaved, because they are more likely to control the child by setting rules and explaining why they are important.

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