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Parenting Styles

Child Rearing Practices & Parenting Styles

Waking with Baby

The term child rearing practices simply means the way parents go about raising their children. How you raise Baby will depend on many influences which can include how you were raised as a child, cultural and religious beliefs, your knowledge and understanding of how to support Baby's happiness, learning and development through his/her childhood and adolescence years ... and your willingness to accept Baby as a unique little being who will always need to be loved.

As theory goes (pioneered by Diana Baumrind in the 1960s), within Western culture there are 3 main 'styles' that describe normal variations in parenting. These parenting styles are known as Authoritarian, Permissive and Authoritative.

Authoritarian parents lack sensitive nurturing skills with their children and words of comfort and encouragement are not regularly used. They assert control of, and obedience from their children. There is little reasoning or discussions with the children as the parents are always 'right' and rules and regulations are strictly adhered to. In other words, children of authoritarian parents are 'seen and not heard'.

Permissive parents are warm and loving to their children but in general don't provide their children with behavioural guidance that is required to assist them in negotiating the world. In other words, these children 'lack boundaries' and are encouraged to be 'free spirits'. Permissive parents want to avoid confrontation by having a low level of 'control' (strictness) over their children, so saying no to their children would be a rarity. As the children develop they make decisions to regulate their own activities, asserting their autonomy (independence).

Authoritative parents are nurturing and responsive to their children's needs and recognise and respect the individuality within their children. While these parents expect their children to comply with the family's guidelines of appropriate behaviour they communicate through reasoning skills with their children. Open discussions between the children and parents are part of the family practice and the children's autonomy is encouraged.

From these 3 parenting styles, researchers Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin added another category in the early 1980s - Neglectful parenting - recognising some parents as being neglectful or non-responsive to their children's needs.