Navigating parenting can be a wild sport.

As the world evolves, it’s imperative that we as parents keep abreast of the factors that influence our children’s lives and in so doing, it can be quite easy to gravitate more towards parenting styles that may stifle our children’s ability to independently self-develop – which can be counter-productive to what we truly intend for them.

Child Development Specialist, Dominique Adonis says several factors form and shape our parenting styles, such as our experience, temperament, and sadly many times our fears and anxiety. On today’s #ParentingMonday, we explore parenting styles that may hinder a child’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development and look at what contributes to that.

Parents often find themselves hovering between what society dims to be a good, great and acceptable parenting style, while they frustrate themselves to figuring out how to best parent their children – for their effective development and individual development.

But how far is pushing too far and where should you draw the line as a parent?

Adonis shares four types of parenting styles parents can identify to introspect and make adjustments that will encourage healthy parenting outcomes.

Highlighting Helicopter Parenting!

The term “helicopter parent” was first used in 1969 by Dr Haim Ginott in his book, “Parents & Teenagers’. He quoted teens who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter.

Interesting to note the term became so popular that it became a dictionary entry and might not be the solution to successful parenting.

In essence, Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parenting that is overly focused on the child. A ‘helicopter parent’ will ‘over parent’ and take too much responsibility for their child’s development, success, or failures.

You know you are a helicopter parent when;

  • You fight your child’s battles,
  • Do their school work or assignments,
  • Coach their coaches,
  • You don’t give them household chores, and
  • You can’t let them fail.

‘’It is very easy for a first-time mom or dad to fall into this trap, I know I did. The motivation for this could be many things such as fear, anxiety, or wanting to live vicariously through your child. One can have the best of intentions for your child by hovering, however, it can leave the parent tired and frustrated and the child demotivated and overly dependent,’’ shared Adonis.  

Noting Authoritarian Or A Disciplinarian!

Parents with an authoritarian style have very high expectations of their children which are often unrealistic. There is no room for engagement or feedback from the child and no freedom to fail, ask questions or make mistakes. Mistakes tend to be punished harshly.

The negative effects of this style of parenting include aggressiveness, socially ineptness, shyness, inability for a child to make their own decisions, poor self-esteem, poor judgment of character, and rebelliousness towards authority figures when older.

Acknowledging Permissive Or An Indulgent Parenting.

This is the parent who is afraid to set limits on children or believes a child has to be true to his or her nature. Permissive parents look at their children as equals rather than children.

They have little to no boundaries or consequences for bad behaviour.

Being a permissive or indulgent parent can lead to the inability to manage time and habits. This child tends to become unruly in a controlled setting due to lack of boundaries, more prone to delinquency and substance abuse, less academically motivated than peers, and prone to poor decisions.

Meeting Uninvolved Parenting.

Uninvolved parenting is also called neglectful parenting, which carries more negative connotations. It’s a style of parenting where parents don’t respond to their child’s needs or desires beyond the basics, sometimes not even the basics. These children receive little guidance, discipline, and nurturing from their parents. The children are left to raise themselves and make decisions, big or small, on their own.

This can produce a child that is susceptible to being anxious or stressed due to the lack of family support, a child that is emotionally withdrawn and fears becoming dependent on other people. This child is forced to learn to provide for themselves and tends to exhibit more delinquency during adolescence.

Knowing Where To Draw The Line.

Adonis says there will come times and seasons in parenting when a parent will have to be authoritarian. “It doesn’t happen often but there will be times when as a parent we will have to pull rank and might not have the time or luxury to explain themselves or engage their child on a certain matter,” she adds.

Adonis encourages parents to exercise conscious proactive parenting. “This is the exercise of the authoritative parenting style that recognises that there will be times to be authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved.

It is key for any parent to know when to exercise which style.

As parents, it is incumbent upon us to become informed through reading and studying, to be students of our children, and understand their needs by observing and responding to them. Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. We need to step up and courageously lead them with love, discipline, and vision,” she concludes.

There is no formula or roadmap to the ‘correct way’ of parenting. The process of relearning and unlearning is all part of the journey. Maintaining a positive relationship with your child while establishing ways implement a healthier parenting style should take priority.

Over time, the seed you plant will produce positive results.

What you aspire for, in regard to your children should be regarded as a dream that is informed by your own biases and be harnessed to be the best advantage point for your child and/or children in the future.

The next time you feel the urge to not allow your born ones to be themselves, think about the things you wish your parents did for you to allow you to effectively grow and have freedom to be yourself.

Our love for those that we bring to this world can blind us to think that they should be us. They are not us, they carry our generational inheritances, and it is up to you as a parent to improve their future, by exercising fluidity in parenting.