When it comes to parenting styles, most of us struggle between being too strict like older parenting styles once were and too lenient like newer parenting styles now are. The strict style of parenting that many current parents grew up with has caused many modern parents to do a complete 180 on the way they parent. While the old school authoritarian style of parenting raised children who grew up learning exactly how to avoid punishment and who distanced themselves from their parents once given freedom, the newer permissive style of parenting has created a generation of children that parents struggle to control and that don’t have a great appreciation for rules and authority. Both parenting styles are extremes and they both have their pros and cons and like many other things in life, balance is key.
Old school parenting styles were based on the principles that children were to be seen and not heard, spankings were issued for even the smallest of infractions and parents were to be feared and not befriended. New school parenting styles have more lax principles and are anti forcing children to do anything that they don’t want to, embracing children as members of the family that should absolutely have a voice and not only are spankings seen as ineffective, but many new school parents fail to implement any form of discipline in their households. The many pros and cons associated with both styles of parenting only seem to make parenting more confusing than it already is.
There is no absolute right or wrong and no matter how hard you try there will probably be something that you do wrong and you will never get everything right. Every child is different and every situation is different and will require a different style of parenting. Part of being a parent is being flexible and trying new things until you find what works for you. Many of us grew up under old school parenting and while it may have damaged us in some ways, it also made us strong in many ways. New school parenting is doing a great job of helping to raise independent thinking children and healthier overall relationships. Great parenting isn’t going to be choosing one style over but rather blending them to take advantage of the positives of each while eliminating the negatives.
The ideal style of parenting lies somewhere in the middle in a place where you don’t spank your children but you do enforce rules and mete out consequences when those rules are broken. A place where you realize that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be your child’s friend but you understand that you are first and foremost a parent and your number one job is to keep your children safe and not to be friends with them. A place where you give your children the ability to make their own choices but with the understanding that their ability to properly make decisions is limited and very much needs restrictions and structure. A happy medium in your parenting style means finding a way to build trusting relationships with your children while still maintaining the hierarchy of leadership in your home.
Great parenting will involve taking the aspects of your own upbringing that you loved and that you think made you a better person and implementing them into your own parenting while abandoning or improving the aspects of your childhood that you didn’t like or love or that you think may have damaged you. Great parenting provides your children with a fun and fulfilling childhood but also sets boundaries and rules that will keep them safe. Great parenting will look different for every household but will ultimately be balanced between being too strict or too lenient and will lie somewhere between “No! Don’t do that” and “Ah, what the hell?”