Combining Parenting Styles
By Lillian Funkhouser and Woody Griffin
Today we would like to discuss parenting styles. Over the course of our lives, we have been exposed to many different parenting styles. Our parents greatly influence our social development and interactions as we grow up. In today’s article, we will discuss how our parents have raised us and its effects on our development as well as different types of parenting that we have experienced and studied. Some parenting styles have been shown to produce more positive outcomes in the social development of kids. Though most of our experiences have corresponded with the results of research in this area, we have also found that a combination of parenting styles can still produce positive social development. In fact, in some situations, different parenting styles are more effective than others. In general, there are four prominent styles of parenting, but we will mainly focus on authoritative and permissive.
Lillian’s Personal Experiences:
For the most part, my parents raised me using an authoritative style. When I would get in fights with my siblings or try to hurt them, my mom would take me aside, ask me what I did wrong, discipline me based on my actions, and then we would discuss how to behave better next time. My father would also use this tactic if I wanted to do something outside of the norm. For instance, I asked to dye my hair pink in 10th grade and he responded by discussing the possible repercussions with me. He didn’t directly reject the idea but through our dialog, I sensed his disapproval. These situations demonstrate my parents care and expectations of me through the way they dealt with my behavior.
Other situations also demonstrate this care and sense of expectation but through different parenting styles. Through most of my youth, my parents never set a curfew for me or my siblings, which would be classified in the permissive parenting style. Although this does seem passive, it worked in my family to cultivate good communication and trust because my parents expected us to tell them where we were and when we planned on coming home instead of just demanding we come home at certain time.
Despite the lack of rules for bedtimes, they did have a few rules for us as children that erred on the authoritarian side of parenting. Sleepovers, for example, were not permitted until we turned 10 years old. This rule was taken seriously and only allowed to be broken for necessary situations like my parents going out of town. Another rule they had was that we could not chew gum until we turned 4 years old. My mom enforced this less strictly than my dad but they generally held fast to the “no chewing gum until you’re 4” rule.
Woody’s Personal Experiences:
My mom and dad were authoritative parents. Being the middle child, I was always in the middle of fights between my siblings. I did not get in trouble very often, but I watched my parents critique my sibling’s bad behavior. As I grew older and got more rebellious, my parents had to stop me from doing every crazy idea I thought up and they would explain the repercussions of each situation. Although they were restrictive, I also was very close to both my parents. I feel like their parenting style has shown positive effects in my social development, as I know how to act in tough situations and set standards for myself. Baumrind found that, “As adolescents, they tend to be relatively high in… self-reliance, and coping skills, and relatively low in… problem behavior.” I have grown to solve problems on my own due to my upbringing.
Although they were authoritative while I was young, I feel like my parents have slipped into being more permissive. Once I went off to college, it seemed like my parents let me do whatever I pleased and did not give me any rules to follow. I know this is because I am no longer at home, but even when I am, they let me do what I want. I do not have a curfew anymore and there are really no rules for me to obey around the house. Driscoll and Lamborn researched permissive parenting and found that, “As adolescents, they engage in more school misconduct and drug or alcohol use than do peers with authoritative parents (et al., 2008 and 2009).” This description does not follow my personality at all, but I think that is because the basis of the parenting I experienced was authoritative and the permissive parenting came later on. I think the mix of these two parenting styles has benefited me immensely, as my base parenting has allowed me to rely on myself, slowly pushing me into living under a permissive parenting style without experiencing the negative results
From the personal experiences that we have shared with you, it is obvious that there are different ways to raise a child, each with varied outcomes. However, our friends with parents that used different styles from our own (permissive being the most prominent) still ended up developing into self-relying, positive adults. We have both found that although our parents were mainly authoritative while we were growing up, they have adapted a more permissive parenting style. We are now experiencing the real world on our own and have more freedom to make choices and live with the consequences.
Siegler, Robert S. How Children Develop. New York: Worth Publishers, 2010. Texbook.