Reflective Parenting

February 15, 2024
Dear Families,
This newsletter topic was excitedly generated out of a conversation amongst the Wellness Team counselors! This was a “real life” dialogue discussing the many different parenting approaches, and how they show up amongst our students, in the school and social settings. Understanding parenting styles is crucial for fostering a nurturing environment that promotes healthy child development. Reflective parenting, where parents consciously consider their actions and the needs of their children, plays a significant role in effective parenting. Being "firm, fair, and consistent" is essential in this process. A fair approach ensures that children feel understood in the context of each situation, rather than rigidly adhering to a specific set of rules or expectations.  Now, while we “label” and define the four types of parenting styles below, keep in mind that it’s just that-”a label!” We should not judge, or even limit ourselves to squeeze into a “box.” There might be elements that really work for you and your family, and others that absolutely do not. Focus less on the “titles” and more on the things you are doing that are working, and other areas that you might want to improve upon. 

1. Authoritative Parenting

  • Characteristics: High responsiveness and high demands. Authoritative parents set clear and consistent rules but are also responsive to their children's emotional needs. They value open communication and encourage independence while maintaining expectations.
  • Example in a School Situation: If a child fails a test, an authoritative parent might sit down with the child to discuss what happened, express empathy for their feelings, and work together to come up with a study plan or seek extra help from teachers, emphasizing effort and improvement over just the grade.

2. Authoritarian Parenting

  • Characteristics: High demands and low responsiveness. Authoritarian parents enforce strict rules and expect obedience without question. They value discipline over nurturing and communication is more one-way.
  • Example in a Social Situation: In a situation where a child behaves inappropriately with a friend, an authoritarian parent might strictly reprimand the child and impose a punishment without discussing the child's feelings or understanding the context of the behavior.

3. Permissive Parenting

  • Characteristics: High responsiveness and low demands. Permissive parents are indulgent and may set rules but rarely enforce them. They are nurturing and communicative but provide little guidance and discipline.
  • Example in a School Situation: If a child forgets to do their homework, a permissive parent might shrug it off and say, "It's okay, just try to remember next time," without providing structure or consequences to help the child develop responsibility.
4. “Neglectful”/Uninvolved Parenting
  • Characteristics: Low demands and low responsiveness. Uninvolved parents are detached from their children's lives. They provide minimal emotional support and limited supervision, and may meet only the child's basic needs.
  • Example in a Social Situation: If a child is struggling to make friends or experiencing bullying, an uninvolved parent might not notice or might dismiss the issue as unimportant, providing no support or intervention to help the child navigate the social challenge.
Research generally demonstrates that authoritative parenting is the most effective for positive child development, as it balances structure and discipline with support and love. Children raised by authoritative parents tend to have better social skills, higher self-esteem, and better academic performance. However, it's important to note that cultural, social, and familial contexts can influence the effectiveness of parenting styles. Flexibility, understanding your child's unique needs, and adapting your parenting approach as necessary are key to fostering a positive parent-child relationship and promoting healthy development. 
And remember, you are your child’s parent for a reason, step into it with confidence and joy!
The Wellness Team