Saturday 19 November 2011

What is Your Parenting Style?

In the midst of learning how to parent my baby girl, I've been reminded of Baumrind's Model of Parenting Styles that we learnt in my developmental psychology class when I was an undergraduate. To put simply, Baumrind generally categorize parenting into three styles:

1) Authoritarian
These parents value control and unquestioning obedience. They have a set of rules that they enforce with the use of physical punishment and are less warm towards their children (sounds very much like the typical Asian father).

2) Permissive
Permissive parents value the child's opinion so they make little demands and let their child make their own decisions. They are warm towards their children and rarely punish them (sound like typical grandparents don't you think? *laughs*).


3) Authoritative
These parents value their child's individuality but also stress social constraints. They respect their child's opinion, allow them to make independent decisions and are loving and warm towards them. At the same time, they also actively discipline their children and are willing to punish them when necessary.

4) Neglectful / Uninvolved


This fourth style was later added by researchers Eleanor Maccoby & John Martin (1983) to describe parents who, for some reason or another, focus on their own needs rather than those of their child.

To put it even simplier, here's a nice graph that we were taught in school:

Parenting Styles Graph

Most psychologists believe that authoritative parenting style is the best as it produces more balanced children.

However, when I became a parent I began to realise that there is the ideal way of parenting but there is also the realistic way of parenting. Children are not computers or calculators. You can't input A and expect that you'll definitely get B. Every child is different and unique. What may work for one may not work for another. I think that as long as we have done our very best, we should manage our expectation and not be too hard on ourselves if we fail.

Although this is easier said than done. We all know that the minute you become a mother you tend to get judged by others and sometimes even judge others especially on how you or they parent.

"OMG, she uses a cane to beat her child to submission?!"
"I can't believe she doesn't ever discipline her child in any way!"
"How can that mother let her child scream in public like that! If it's my kid, I'll definitely slap him!"

Sound familiar?

I personally believe in disciplining your child when they're young. Yes, even as young as 6 months old (mine threw her first temper around that time)! If you don't show them who's boss from the very beginning, I think it'll be a lot harder to do so in future.

So we out in public as usual and baby girl misbehaved, leading to me scolding and giving her the there's-no-freakin-way-I'll-let-you-have-your-way-so-you-better-behave-and-not-push-your-luck stare, which I have been trying hard to perfect after the Master of all deathly stares aka my own mama (believe me, it's scary!) *laughs*. And while I'm doing so, I keep getting looks from people. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean but people have said that I'm pretty fierce and baby girl is still young. The thing is, my girl is the youngest in the whole entire extended family of both my husband and I so everyone dotes on her and gives in to her. I shudder to think how bratty she'll turn out to be if I don't discipline her!

I suppose no matter what parenting style you've got, you'll still get judged one way or other so the bottomline is to do what you think is best for your child.

What is your parenting style? Have you ever been judged because of it?

Papalia, D. E.; Olds, S. W.; Feldman, R. D. & Gross, D. (2004). Human Development (9th Edition). McGraw-Hill: New York, United States of America.
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