The majority of parents are unaware that there are different styles of education or that they belong to one of them. They act by doing the best that they can, helped by their own experience and integrating their opinions and principles.
Whether they realize it or not, each parent has adopted, without realizing it, one of the different styles of education.
4 styles of education
If we base ourselves on the psychology of Diana Baumrind's development, Education styles depend on two fundamental aspects: 1) sensitivity and interest, 2) demand and firmness.
This American psychologist has developed one of the best known theories about educational styles. It differentiated three categories (authoritarian, indulgent and permissive), to which will be added later the category of parents called "negligent".
Each educational style is a mix of these two fundamental aspects, and of course, the best style is one that has struck a balance between these aspects.
– The authoritarian style : "It's like that because I decided it, a point that's all." (Level of requirement and firmness = 100%). The parents here show a great authority, to the detriment of tenderness, which is rare. In extreme cases, the authority may become abusive.
– The permissive style : "Do as you want darling" (level of sensitivity and interest = 100%). The level of attention is moderate to very high, with no control. No rules of discipline have been established; all the wishes and whims of the child are answered.
– The careless style : The child claims: "Where is mother?" (Level of requirement, firmness, sensitivity and interest = 0%). These parents lack commitment to their child and the authority is non-existent.
– The "democratic" style : "Now you understand why it is important that you obey the rules?" (Requirement and firmness = 50%, sensitivity and interest = 50%). These parents are generally very affectionate but know how to be respected when necessary. They promote social skills. They know how to bring rules with reason and respect the independence of their child.
What do the studies reveal about this?
All studies agree that children whose parents are part of the "democratic" style – that is, parents who remain moderate, who communicate, who use logic to cooperate with the child, who show the example – are the most fulfilled, in the short and long term.
These children know how to adapt, cooperate, and are independent. Studies have also revealed that they are less exposed to negative pressure and know how to surround themselves with the right people. They have a good self-esteem and respect others.
What is certain is that even though the democratic style is the most enviable and effective, it is also the hardest to put into practice. Indeed,it requires a lot of time, patience and energy from the parents. It may be for these reasons that some opt for another educational style.
Is the style we "choose" really important?
Parents seeking to avoid conflict are surely part of the permissive style. They do not establish rules of discipline, everything is only love. After all, no one likes to be seen as the "villain of the movie", especially in the eyes of a child.
However, the observations are not always good. Indeed, studies have revealed that children raised as well are more likely to suffer later from depression. Moreover, they show a correlation between a style that is too permissive and drug use, delinquency and promiscuity.
The irony is that most of these kids sometimes think their parents do not like them …
What about the authoritarian style? Everyone has ever heard someone say, "My father was very strict and showed no love, but today I do not suffer from it."
According to Dene Garvin Klitzing, a professor at the University of Delaware, this reaction is not only due to the educational style, but also to the child's own personality. If the child has a positive temperament and an open mind, he can flourish despite the circumstances. However, he is much more likely to succeed in life with a good education.
Children with authoritative parents learn very young not to talk about their concerns to their parents, and are therefore more influenced by their friends. Often, they feel frustrated and even rebel against the values and beliefs of their parents.
In addition, a study conducted at the Boston Medical Center found that children with authoritative parents who are firm in their ideas are 5 times more likely to become obese than children with more flexible and democratic parents.
Of course we all agree that these three styles of education are better than an absent parent.
Indeed, studies have shown that children who have neglectful parents will have more difficulty developing, and also in adulthood. In addition, these children do not manage their emotions well and have difficulty creating and maintaining relationships.
Photo courtesy of Dustin J Mc Clure