Each child, each parent, and each household is unique in its character and temperament; hence, there are as many parenting styles as there are people. Yet, a few common parenting patterns emerge to create a few template styles.
1. Absolute Power Style – In this style parents (especially father) hold absolute power over their children, putting the family before the individual – always and every time.
2. Authoritarian Style – This style is completely parent centric; with a favourite refrain, “You will do it because I say so…”Spanking, punishment, denial and rebuke are the tools of authoritarian parents.Decision-making remains strictly the adult domain, without any inputs from children. The feelings and emotional states of individuals are not taken into any account.
This style is best suited for aggressive kids. However, it creates power struggle between parents and grown up children.
3. Indulgent Style – Indulgent parents desperately want their children to like them; hence, they refrain from creating rules, stable routines, structures or boundaries. There is very low expectation of behaviour from children.
Children learn how to please their parents in order to get what they want. They can’t take no for an answer and get used to getting their way. They find it difficult to handle disappointments and setbacks in life.
This style is best suited for shy kids.
4. See-Saw Style – In this style parents usually follow indulgent ways but give vent to their frustrations when children fail to act responsibly. This dilly-dallying style sends mixed signals to children. Parents too feel guilty about their outbursts and over-compensate with material things.
5. Neglectful style – Neglectful parents think that their job is only to provide food, shelter, and basic needs to their wards. They do not show any emotional involvement in their children. Such children become estranged from parents when they grow up.
6. Aristocratic style – in this style the domestic help rears children, because the parents are too busy. These children grow up conscious that they are somehow superior to the adults around them. They grow up knowing that the care given to them is motivated by pay and not love. They are always on the lookout for bad treatment from their caregivers, as parents ask them to remain cautious and report on any trespasses. Thus they grow up with distrust.
7. Instructional style – In this style, parents give out a lot of instructions, including do’s and don’ts. They explain all the rules of behaviour, as one would teach traffic rules, without any explanations, viable alternatives or encouragement. Children in such families remain confused and don’t learn the moral or social implications of their actions.
8. Weeding style – Parents following this style believe that they must weed out all the so-called negative traits in their children. Children in such families face harsh critical judgment and evaluating statements such as, “Why can’t you be more like so and so? What is the matter with you? You make me so mad. You are such a useless fellow. If you do this you are a good boy.” In the process, children grow up ‘hating/ disliking’ some aspects of themselves. They also look for perfection in others and feel disappointed. They never feel good enough.
9. Stick and Carrot style – This parenting style is completely logic based. If children behave well, they receive a reward or praise; bad behaviour is punished or reprimanded. The problem comes when behaviour is identified with the child’s being. In that case the child develops a deep shame, and feels guilty for all wrong doings. Such children start believing that they ‘deserve’ to be punished for every small mistake. If there is no one to punish them, they punish themselves. Such children attract all kinds of illnesses.
10. Democratic style – In the democratic style of parenting, parents treat their children like adults by offering them ample choices and letting them make their own decisions. The rules are fair and directions are clear. This adoptive, flexible, warm, responsive and authoritative parenting helps develop an open and participating communication between parents and children.
Children grown in such homes have high self-esteem. They are usually cooperative, happy, generous, successful, articulate, well rounded, responsible, and psychologically well adjusted.