Many parents are unaware of the need for parenting education until they’re faced with situations they don’t know how to handle. Here are some general tips that all parents should know.
Your parenting style can influence your child’s health, self-esteem, and relationships.
There are four types of parenting styles: research has found authoritative to be most beneficial for healthy child development.
No matter what parenting style you use, there are some basic components that all parents should strive for.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent.
If you’re struggling with parenting skills, counseling can help.
Parenting is difficult, even if we think we’ve got it under control. Sometimes, we know what kind of parents we don’t want to be, but that knowledge doesn’t turn us into the ideal parents we want to be. So we’ve put together a brief parenting 101 guide with the basics we think every parent should know.
What’s your parenting style?
First, it’s important to know your parenting style. Your parenting style can impact your child’s health and development, as well as their self-esteem and relationships. No pressure, right?! Researchers have identified four primary parenting styles:
Authoritarian: These are the parents that use “Because I said so” as the rule of law. Their focus is on obedience, rather than problem-solving. They use punishments instead of positive reinforcement, which often shames a child for making a mistake rather than teaching them how to learn from it. Children who grow up in this type of environment often struggle with anger, low self-esteem, and self-worth, which can have long-term consequences.
Authoritative: Authoritative parents focus on explaining the reasoning behind rules. They center their relationship with their child as opposed to obedience. They set rules and consequences, but they’re considerate of their children’s feelings. This doesn’t mean that they allow their child to run the household; rather, children are heard and validated, but parents are still the ultimate authority. They use positive discipline such as praise and rewards as opposed to doling out punishments.
Permissive: There are some rules here, but parents may struggle to enforce them or follow through with consequences. They don’t get too involved unless there’s a problem. They’re likely to cave in with children, allowing them to have extra privileges, which teaches them that consequences are negotiable. Kids who grow up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically and have difficulty with authority and rules.
Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents take a hands-off approach to parenting. There are few household rules and children are unlikely to receive guidance or parental attention. These parents can be neglectful, even if it’s not always intentional. These parents may struggle with issues of their own, such as mental health or substance abuse issues, or be overwhelmed with trying to survive. Children raised by uninvolved parents are more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem and academic performance and may have frequent behavioral problems.
While there’s no one “right” parenting style, researchers agree that authoritative parenting is ideal for child development and healthy parent-child relationships. Children raised this way are more resilient, better able to make healthy decisions, more in touch with their feelings and emotions, and better able to calculate risks.
Basic components of “good” parenting
Regardless of your parenting style – we often emulate our caretakers unless we learn other skills – there are some basic components found in “good” parenting. Children thrive when these four needs are met:
Choices: Reasonable choices help a child develop autonomy and trust in themselves.
Consequences: Having consequences, which are natural, helps children learn that their choices determine outcomes.
Consistency: This helps children learn how to interact with you, others, and their environment. It’s important to mean what you say and say what you mean.
Care: Children need to understand that all actions parents take are grounded in love and are in their best interest. This helps children feel safe, even in times of conflict.
You don’t have to be a perfect parent, which is unattainable. You can be a “good enough” parent and still raise a healthy, happy, and successful child.
Why you need routines and systems
Creating routines is important. Routines help children – and their parents – in many ways:
Help create stability in the home
Help children manage their expectations
Alleviate the stress of decision-making for parents
It’s even better when children help create routines and schedules. Weekly family meetings can be helpful to discuss challenges and problem-solve together. Children should have age-appropriate checklists or other visual reminders of the schedule to help them. This also gives them a sense of control.
Why you should use positive parenting
Positive parenting doesn’t mean that you’re engaging in toxic positivity or expecting happy outcomes all the time. Positive parenting means interacting with your child in a healthy, proactive way, even when things are going wrong. This can mean:
Offering replacement behaviors instead of just scolding
Helping children learn emotional regulation skills
Connecting with your child versus just correcting them
Providing them with structure, routines, and building good habits
Acknowledging and validating children’s moods and helping them move through struggles
Being a ray of sunshine all the time is impossible, and you shouldn’t expect that for yourself or your child. This can be a form of toxic positivity. Parenting is a very challenging – and rewarding – undertaking.
Get support from a qualified, caring therapist in the South Florida area
Everyone needs a little help sometimes. You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child,” right? Getting a professional such as a therapist to be a part of that village can help provide you with invaluable support as you navigate parenting, either via family and couples counseling or individual therapy.
The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to get started in therapy to help facilitate healing within yourself and your interpersonal relationships, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 305.605.LOVE (5683).
We are here to help you improve your mental health and support you through this tough time.