We discussed the various styles of parenting in the earlier blog. We shall now discuss the effects that these various styles could have on children.
When parents exercise complete control and there is no scope for discussion, children are unable to develop self-confidence. They may become insecure as they are always wary that they may offend their parents. Depression may also set in. They may become indecisive as they are never allowed to take decisions. They could also become very obedient children, but in some cases, children raised in such environments suddenly become extremely rebellious in their teens. The effect of discipline may last only till the parents are around as they have never been really explained why they should not do certain things. Their behavior is always targeted towards escaping punishment. Such children may also become very rigid and autocratic in their approach.
Children raised in such an environment usually grow up to be independent, mature, secure and confident. They are good at decision making as they have always been encouraged to take decisions. They are usually rational in their thinking and are aware of their limits. They are usually successful and liked by others around them. Family ties in such families are generally strong.
Children raised in such an environment may find it difficult to deal with structured environments. They may get into trouble with authority figures as they experience difficulty in following rules. They could have a very low frustration tolerance level and find it difficult to accept rejection.
Children raised in such an environment could either become very mature or responsible as these were traits that had to be developed for emotional survival or may lead directionless lives as they have lacked the strong support from parents. They could face issues with attachment and may find it difficult to develop and sustain interpersonal relationships.
In addition to these theoretical concepts, we also often discuss ‘Helicopter parenting'. Some parents are continuously hovering around their children, interfering in their lives, making choices and decisions for them even when the child is capable of doing so himself. They try to make life as comfortable for their children as they can. They do not have a separate life and are forever in the ‘parent' role. They are perennially on the lookout for the best possible extracurricular activities, schools, hobby classes, tutors, summer camps etc for their children. Some very talented mothers give up their careers just so that they can devote themselves to their child. The issue is not with giving up their careers as this is a matter of personal choice. But often such mothers cease to have a life of their own, and they forget that they have an identity of their own, apart from being their child's mother. They progressively become more involved in their child's lives and forget to see the fact that there are two individuals here. The child has his own personality and it needs to develop accordingly. But the presence of such helicopter mothers could be suffocating for the child and often problems surface. These could be academic, emotional or interpersonal. These are the mothers you would find arguing with other kids or their mothers in the park or fighting for that 1 mark with the teacher or taking up maximum time in a parent-teacher interaction! Even when the child is willing to take wings, these mothers end up clinging to their child. Disciplining techniques could range from bribery to corporal methods to permissive parenting to emotional blackmail. Children raised in such an environment may end up blindly following their parents. They may become indecisive and may continuously look for approval. Interpersonal relationships could be difficult as they are used to getting the privileged treatment and have not learned to adjust.
Parenting no doubt is a tough job. But let us not stress ourselves to be perfect parents because there is no perfect parenting, there is only rational parenting. We need to assess each situation on its own merit and then decide what works best for that particular instance. As a style, however, a structured, firm but open to communication approach works best.