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CENTERS' PIECE: Parenting styles are varied - Odessa American: Centers’ Piece

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CENTERS' PIECE: Parenting styles are varied

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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2019 1:00 am

As a mother myself, I was often challenged by the difficulties in raising my children. I asked myself if I was doing the right things or teaching my children what they needed to know to be responsible adults.

It is very difficult to always be the best role model. Most parents do the best they can with where they are at the time. This is not always the most successful parenting, but we are all humans and make mistakes.

When I started learning about the different parenting styles, it helped me to navigate the challenges of effective parenting. I wanted to change the way I approached my children. I wanted to learn how to discipline in a teaching way instead of punitive.

I found that punitive disciplines were not as effective as offering choices and consequences. The real world works on choices and consequences so if I could instill that concept in my children, they would be more equipped to handle real life situations.

As I learned more about parenting styles, I found that most parents use a combination of styles. The three main styles are permissive, authoritarian and authoritative.

Permissive parents give the children few restrictions and often believe that what goes wrong couldn’t be helped. I was not fond of the idea of letting my children make most of their own decisions without any guidance. I also realized that I could not be “friends” with my children until they were grown. One of the problems with this style of parenting is that by making excuses for children and rescuing them from situations in which they might learn a valuable life lesson you may have emotionally crippled them to deal with the real world. 

I then found out about the second parenting style, authoritarian. In this style, the parent is in charge. This is the “my way or the highway” parenting style. I was not very good at setting rules without some flexibility allowed for the situation and wanted my children to learn how to make good choices and decisions for themselves. 

Often children whose parents are authoritarian will leave home as soon as they can. I was not prepared to have this happen until my children were ready to leave. That is not to say that there aren’t times when a parent must be authoritarian. For example, if your child runs out in the street and you yell “stop” you want them to obey you.

Finally, I found a parenting style I could live with. It is called authoritative and basically the parent sets reasonable boundaries and teaches children to be responsible for their own behavior. The parents allow the child, or children, to experience natural consequences of choices and is consistent in enforcing boundaries. The aspect of this parenting style that was most appealing was that children become independent by learning to do things for themselves. It also focused on growth.

So, how do you find out what you parenting style is? There is a website (www.4parents.gov/topics/parenting_styles.htm) that has some questions for parent that can help you decide what kind of parenting style you have.

Kit Boyd is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Please call 570-1084 (Midland) or 580-7006 (Odessa) for an appointment or questions about counseling. 

Odessa, TX

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