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What kind of parent are you?

publication date: Jan 25, 2011
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author/source: Anne Coates
ParentMost of us try to be the best parents we can be and our parenting styles are influenced by our culture, family, religion and so on or are a reaction to the way we were parented. If you had very strict parents you may have decided to be exactly the opposite.

Psychologists have divided parenting styles into three broad categories: authoritarian, permissive and authoritative.

Authoritarian parents are those who ry to exert control over their children. Their standards of conduct are strict and they are critical of lapses. When they tell children what to do they tend not to explain why. They may be the type of parents who withold their love and affection if a child misbehaves and they focus on the misdemeanours rather than good behaviour.

Permissive parents are unlikely to set rules and are often inconsistent in their reactions. The opposite of authoritarian parents they accept a child's behaviour – good or bad – and are warm and loving. They want their offspring to make their own choices even when they are too young or immature to do so.

Authoritative parents focus on their child's good behaviour and give clear guidelines as to what is expected in a warm and loving manner, explaining why some behaviour or action is wrong in an age-appropriate way. These parents also allow a child to make choices based on their abiity.

An illustration of parenting styles

A child is disputing what to wear for school. An authoritarian parent would would brook no argument, a permissive one would let the child wear what he wanted while the authoritative parent would offer the child a choice of say two approriate garments.

Research shows that children develop and progress better when parents are authoritative and a loving bond is central to the parent-child relationship.