Be the Best Parent Your Children Deserve

It is often surprising to some adult siblings to discover that their recollections of their parental upbringing vary greatly and that their views of their parents are also not necessarily identical. What can we learn from our childhood views of our parents that can enhance our own parenting?

There are various factors that affect parental choices in raising children. The most prominent determinants are probably parenting styles, followed by the parents’ personality types and their philosophy of healthy parenting.

Psychologist Diana Baumrind, who studied more than 100 preschool children, labeled the four commonly observed parenting styles as: 1. Authoritarian Parenting – in which parents establish behavior rules that their children must obey to avoid punishment. 2. Authoritative Parenting – in which parents set the rules but are more nurturing and forgiving as they guide their youngsters toward responsible, self-regulated conduct. 3. Permissive Parenting – in which parents are very lenient, flexible, allow child-self regulating and act more like the children’s friend than an authority figure. 4. Uninvolved Parenting – in which parents provide the child’s basic needs but are emotionally detached, lax or even neglectful in their parenting

The style of parenting is also affected by one’s personality. Self-disciplined and highly structured people are more inclined to expect greater compliance from their children. More relaxed and easy going individuals may be more likely to be flexible about their youngsters’ compliance with their parenting rules. Communicative parents may be more prone to teach their children the reasoning, wisdom and life-benefits of abiding by their rules. Highly emotional and reactive adults may become angry and impatient with their children’s lack of obedience. Impatient grown-ups tend to become angry and intolerant of their youngster’s resistance to their guidance. Highly cognitive adults may be more prone to logically explain the reason for their discipline and may become more easily annoyed with the child’s distractibility or non-compliance. Some very casual and relaxed parents may not see their youngster’s dallying as a sign of disrespect.

Today’s parents, who have access to instant information about most subjects, may be more inclined to seek current wisdom about parenting methods and help their children understand the rationale behind their expectations and rules and do so in a considerate and loving way.

In talking to adults about their upbringing it appears that perhaps the most important factor in their relationship with their parents had been the intuitive feeling of being loved, appreciated and treated with respect. These emotions determined their compliance or non-compliance with parental rules. Those who state that they always knew that one or both parents loved and respected them, found it easier to abide by the rules and recall their childhood with fondness.

To be the best parent:

  • Understand that the same formula of love and respect that creates positive adult relationships also applies to healthy parenting.
  • Use Authoritative parenting – which has been found to be most successful in enabling children to become happy, capable and successful.














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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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