If you've never given much thought to parenting styles, I would urge you to do so now. Obviously, how you parent is going to affect how your children behave. You want to change your child's behavior, you have to change your parenting ways first.
When it comes to parenting styles, there are generally 3 categories:
- Autocratic or Authoritarian - Like a dictator, you don't give your children much opportunities for them to make choices. Lots of limitations, not much freedom. You are very strict and very demanding and you give out harsh punishments. Think of a drill sergeant.
- Permissive - You let your children run the show. Lots of freedom and not much limits. You don't demand a lot from your children. You are very lenient and give in to your children's needs and wishes.
- Authoritative - Rules and guidelines are clear. However, there is democracy as well. You give your children a chance to make choices and have their voices heard. You are assertive but also encouraging and supportive. There is a balance between limitations and freedom. Instead of harsh punishments, there is forgiveness and teaching.
Children raised through autocratic parenting are usually very obedient but have problems with self esteem and social competence.
Children that have permissive parents usually end up being spoilt brats. They have problems with authority and don't do very well in school.
Children with authoritative parents are usually happy, independent and successful.
I hope after reading the description of the 3 parenting styles, you will want to follow the 3rd style which is the authoritative style.
Children need rules and guidelines and you need to make them clear. BUT if they make a mistake, don't come down too hard. Definitely there must be a consequence to their bad choice, however the goal should not be to make them feel bad about themselves. The goal should be to teach them to make better choices.
Communication is important. If you feel upset and angry about your children's bad behavior, let yourself calm down first and then have a heart-to-heart discussion about it later. Don't just hit them, send them to their room or punish them without any explanation except for "because I said so." Explain to your children why they have to sit in time-out or have their computer time taken away or whatever else.
If you want your children to be independent, you must allow them to make their own choices and solve their own problems but with your guidance.
So, what kind of parenting style are your practicing?
p.s. If you need parenting ideas, I highly recommend this book. I've read it and it is a treasure trove of good advices. The examples shared makes it easy for parents to relate to. I had hope of being a better parent after reading it.
Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family