How do you discipline your children when they come home with a tattoo that you specifically told them not to get? What about when you catch them smoking? Or when they refuse to do their homework? What about when they lie to you right to your face? Or when they beat up on their little brother? Every parent has been through at least one situation in which discipline is involved. The style a parent chooses to discipline his or her child may vary, but it is a very important part of parenting. Experts have proven that too much discipline or not enough discipline can have a negative affect on children later in their life. However, just the right amount of discipline and a lot of love can help your child lead a very healthy life. Which style of parenting do you prefer?

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Authoritarian parents, according to parenting expert Ron Huxley, are “high on limits and low on love.” These parents rely on very strict rules. They tend to be very commanding. Authoritarian parents believe that discipline is very important and expect their children to follow their orders immediately. They are able to make quick decisions. However, the decisions they make are most of the time made without getting all the facts and asking for input from their children. In fact, they rarely ever ask for their child’s opinion about anything and do not have a very close relationship with them. They hardly ever show affection and are not aware of their needs.
While children of authoritarian parents are well behaved, they show signs of unhappiness and low self-esteem. Research from the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension has shown that children brought up by authoritarian parents are more likely to give up or rebel later in their life. They usually rebel in their teenage years when they have developed enough to fight back with their parents. Other research has shown that since children of authoritarian parents do not get praised often, later in their life they tend to be motivated to do things for a reward rather than for reasons of right or wrong. These children tend to rely on the voice of authority instead of taking the initiative and acting for themselves.
The opposite of authoritarian parents are permissive parents. Permissive parents are very warm and supportive to their children. They do not set many rules to enforce to their children and do not use consistent discipline. For example, they will let their children go to bed at seven one night and ten the next. These parents generally think of their children as close friends and do not try to control their child’s behavior. They tend to ignore or accept bad behavior and usually just let their child do his or her own thing.
Children raised by permissive parents are more likely to have behavior problems when they get older. They are very immature and do not take responsibility for their behavior. According to the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, these children feel very insecure. They have a hard time adjusting when any rules are placed on them in the outside world and will get angry when they don’t get their way about things. These children also tend to have poor social skills and low self-esteem.
Another style of parenting is Authoritative. These parents have a good relationship with their children and communicate well with them. They are both controlling and nurturing to their children. They allow their children to have the freedom to do what they want, but they do have clear rules that they are consistent in enforcing. Authoritative parents do what is best for their children. They are very understanding and patient with their child and will listen to their child’s opinions about things.
Children who grow up with authoritative parents tend to have the most balanced characteristics when they are older compared to children with permissive or authoritarian parents. According to the Robin F. Goodman from the New York University Child Study Center, since authoritative parents allow their child to have some freedom to do what they want, they are able to develop a sense of independence. When they get older, they have a higher level of achievement and higher self-esteem. These children grow up to have good social skills and confidence. They are honest, responsible, compassionate, and have good problem-solving skills.
I’m sure that most parents have probably gotten the response “I’m never going to treat my kids like this when I grow up” at some time or another from their children when disciplining them. Although you may get negative results like this from your children when you discipline them, it is a very important part of parenting. It is hard to decide what is too much discipline and what is not enough, but whichever style you choose is going to affect your child in the long run. So again I ask you, which style of parenting do you prefer?
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