Monday, December 15, 2008

Debate: Most Harmful Parenting Style

Posted by Mandy at 7:14 AM
In the parenting group I attend twice monthly, we've been discussing different parenting styles. There are typically three styles of parenting that we all can fit into: Permissive, Authoritative, Authoritarian.

Permissive parents would be those in which strive to be "friends" with their children, have little to no rules and do not provide consequences when rules are broken. A common phrase of the permissive parent would be, "Aww... it's okay, they're just being kids." This phrase could be applied as easily to accidentally spilling a cup of juice as it could be to them punching their friend in the eye.

Authoritative parents would be considered the "middle ground" parents and the type that is deemed most healthy for children. Parents in this group know how to pick battles, how to be attentive but not overly protective, know how to let children fail without making them feel like failures, and also stick to their guns on important issues.

Authoritarian parents would commonly be those in generations past, but many parents today still use this method simply because it was what was taught to them. These would be "I'm right and you're wrong" parents. No explanation for "being in trouble" is typically seen as necessary from parent to child, children's emotions are often overlooked or deemed unimportant, and parents in this category can often be verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. (not always.. but it is common.)

So, up for debate today: Which extreme parenting style, Permissive or Authoritarian, is most detrimental to children long-term? Is being allowed to live without rules and consequences more harmful once you become an adult than never learning how to make mistakes without being extremely hard on yourself? Is having your way most of the time going to make your life harder as an adult than having your self-esteem constantly beaten down?

What do you think?


Rosjuane on Monday, 15 December, 2008 said...

I think that a little of all three is the best. And too much of any is BAD!!

Mandy on Monday, 15 December, 2008 said...


The second type - authoritative - is actually considered good and healthy. It's the kind of parenting we 'should' all strive to do. The other two - permissive and authoritarian - are both considered harmful. Which is MOST harmful, though? Come on.. give an answer! ;)

Anonymous said...

I believe it is the permissive style.I grew up with the two harmful ones,lol and luckily they balanced each other out.But as far as life altering,the permissive point did more damage,for me.I got away with ALOT.I see the permissive parenting style ALOT,now.

I am guilty of all,there are times that I am sure I am WAYYYYYYYY to strict and then times that I should really do more,and I am pretty sure there are times when I am right on que.

Shelley @ SIMPLE Reviews on Monday, 15 December, 2008 said...

I think I would not touch this discussion with a ten foot pole.

All kids are different, and respond differently to different methods. I think it's our job as parents to create a plan that best fits our children's personalities. Some kids need a firmer hand than others.

Anonymous said...

I think permissive parents often accidentally encourage their kids to become teenage parents, drinkers, and drug users, by being the "coolest" 'rents around. Those reasons are why I would say that method is worse. I will do whatever I can to make sure my kids lives aren't ruined by an unwanted pregnancy or a drug overdose.

Rosjuane on Monday, 15 December, 2008 said...

Okay so if I was one I would be the middle ground.

Permissive. I'm rarely this. There are times I let my youngest get away with more, but he's two it's nothing that is going to scar him. Now when Ashlyn gets to be of a certain age I will be somewhat permissive with her. I am the mother who believes if you hold them back too much on being a teenager you will only cause them to rebel when they get of age. Don't get me wrong she won't be allowed to run wild, but she will be allowed to do more than most will agree with. Same goes for Garret. If you teach them responsibilty and give them opportunity to prove it they will learn. I believe in letting them make mistakes. Let them learn what life is about. My child will be on birth control when she gets a period. Teach and preach all you want they are more than likely going to do it and they aren't going to come tell you till after it has happened. That doesn't mean she will have my permission, but she will be protected when she does decide to do it. They will both be taught at a young age how to CORRECTLY put a condum on. 16 year old boys on there first time are going to have shaky hands and I don't want his nerves to be the reason my child has an STD!!

Now on the authoritative side. My husband was raise the old fashion way. They weren't abusive or anything but they were set in their ways on how kids should act. And I have to say that he is by far the most mature, well mannered, grounded person I know. He make you think of your grandpa in some ways. I believe that if your child has done something to deserve a good spanking then they should recieve it. I think that they should be taught the manners and respect that so many lack. I can't say which is worse than the other b/c each has it's own good sides and each has it's bad. I won't make my kids be home before the street lights come on when they are seniors, but I aslo won't allow them to be having sex at 12 in my living room. I think that people need to do what they think is best for there children. Each family is diffrent. Not that I will agree with everyone but that's life.

As far s which one is most harmful it's all in opinion. Too many factors to weigh in. There are two sides to everything. There is no right answer.

No Brainer Bargains on Monday, 15 December, 2008 said...

Most harmful I would say authoritarian. Permissive is harmful but only in the long run. For example, I know a boy who is being raised by parents who are permissive with him. In fact, they can't help being permissive because they don't set limits with him. I'm convinced they're raising a sociopath. The boy will only experience frustration of not getting his way which won't dampen his self-esteem as would parents who are authoritarian.

Mandy on Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 said...

No matter how much I think of this and even talk it out in group.. I still struggle with this answer!

Though both, NO DOUBT, can cause serious problems with kids(and adults), I guess I'd have to pick authoritarian. My reason is b/c a true authoritarian parent would be one that only cares about how he or she looks, and this is the reason the children are expected to behave. It has nothing to do with the child learning right from wrong. (as it would with the authoritative parent.) When the child messes up, they would no doubt be humiliated for it, b/c the parent would be humilitated. I think growing up in a home of complete fear and humiliation could definitely do a lot of harm to a person's self-esteem...and it might be damage that cannot be reversed. I can see people turning to drugs and alcohol to feel better about life because they have no way of understanding emotions due to being raised that way.

I am thankful that I was, primarily, raised in an authoritative home... so I cannot speak from experience. Everything I've read about the parenting styles is what's lead me to this conclusion.

Good discussions!

Anonymous said...

Hmm I answered this question first answer was better.

I said permissive.I was raised by both authoritarian and permissive parents.For me,permissiveness caused life altering changes.Luckily I think my parents ended up balancing each other out.

Although authoritarian parents can make their child feel like they arent worth anything,overly permissive parents seem to not care to deal with their children at all,which can make a child feel completely worthless as well."Well,they dont care what I do..."

Anonymous said...

teaching your child to put on condoms at 16?? A daughter?? what message do you think that sends????? note to self: don't let my kid spend the night with Rosjaune's.

Rosjuane on Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 said...

I don't think it sends any message that they haven't recieved already. Wake up and get real they have had all the messages beat into their head wayyyyy before 16. I'm protecting my kid!! Better to teach them early. You don't wait till they are 10 to teach them right from wrong. You teach them early!! I hope and pray they won't need them at 16 but chances are they might. I will do my best to discourage it and teach them to wait. Hopefully they will, but if they don't then they will know what to do. I don't want some boy who is nervous to bust one and not tell my daughter cause he is afraid of not getting what he wants. Better for her to know what she is doing just incase. Note you yourself whoever you are. I wouldn't be teaching your child anything of the such, but parents who are blind, don't think it's happening, and in complete denial are the ones who are usually in the ones who end up in shock!!! Just b/c you don't put them on B/C, teach them to put on condoms, and have the "safe" sex wait till your married conversations don't mean they aren't going to do it anyway. And when my kids is healthy without HIV or something else then I can be thankful that I protected them. Say what you want and keep your kid away from mine but the fact is they are doing it ALOT younger.

Allie said...

Rosjuane- I think you have made some excellent points. I think that children do need to know. It's kinda like going on a cruise ship with a life jacket. You hope you don't need it...but you need to know how to use it if you do. Just because the lady shows you how to use it doesn't mean she is telling you to jump overboard. And to the Anonymous poster...FYI children raised by all parenting styles are becoming pregant teens...check the stats.

I do think that both of these parenting styles are very extreme. I think that the there are various levels of each of these styles. Being too submissive could allow the children to get themselves into situations that they are not ready for. However the authoritarian parent shelters the child and hinders their ability to have any self confidence for fear of what will be thought of them. So, I don't know that I have a real answer for the question. Hmmmm....

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