Just as there are many types of children, there are also many ways parents and other caregivers can teach them. We call these ways “parenting styles.” Some styles are less helpful than others. They are either too hard or too soft on children. Like in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we need a parenting style that is “just right.” Let’s talk about the differences between these styles.
Autocratic: The “Too Hard” Style
Some parents want to control everything. They have too many rules. These parents use the “too hard” style. They do not let their children make many choices, and they punish them a lot. They do not give their children much in the way of hugs, kisses, or encouragement. Our grandparents may have used this style, but it does not work well today. When parents use the “too hard” style today, their children become angry. They do things just to make their parents angry, too. When they become teenagers they often rebel.
Permissive: The “Too Soft” Style
Parents who use the “too soft” style let their children run wild. They have too few rules. These parents may be too busy to teach their children, or they may not know how. They do not discipline their children. In fact, they may spoil their children when they let them do whatever they want, give them too many toys, or do things for them that their children could do for themselves. These children may get out of control.
WARNING: You cannot give your child too much love, such as hugs and encouragement. Love will never spoil your child. But you can give them too much freedom or too many toys.
Active: The “Just Right” Style
Parents who use the “just right” style are not “too hard” or “too soft.” They understand that their children need rules. They know that sometimes children make mistakes. This is part of learning. They give their children lots of love and encouragement. They let their children make some choices. Parents will make mistakes, too. When they make a mistake, they learn. The next time they will act differently.
Most parents do not use just one style. Sometimes they are a little “too hard” and sometimes they are a little “too soft.” Finding a balance of the “just right” style of parenting can be tricky. You will be better parents if you try to use the “just-right” style more and more. Keep working at it and with time, you’ll see the benefits of this style of parenting as your relationship with your children keeps improving.
Not sure what parenting style you lean towards? We made a quick quiz to help you figure it out!