Nobody can deny the fact that parenting is a challenging responsibility, which explains why most parents are always looking for answers on how to nurture their children. Thankfully, there is no dearth of information when it comes to parenting tips. In fact, parents can use various psychological studies that show the impact of different parenting styles on kids, and their long-term results. As every child is unique, no one option can be deemed as “the right parenting method”. Parents, therefore, need to take a note of these studies on child behavior and arrive at a conclusion that helps them raise their children the right way. On that note, let’s take a look at what science has to say about the art of parenting.
Diana Baumrind, a globally acclaimed clinical and developmental psychologist, conducted her research on parenting styles during the 1960s, but the findings are relevant to this day. According to the study, parenting styles can be divided into four categories:
Authoritarian (high control and low warmth)
Authoritative (high control and high warmth)
Permissive (low control and high warmth)
Uninvolved (low control and low warmth)
The study concludes that Authoritative parenting is the most effective and balanced approach. This means parents who set boundaries and have high expectations - yet are open to discussions - are more likely to provide the right ground for their child’s development.
In this era of permissive parenting, science supports setting boundaries for children. In fact, setting boundaries for children makes them feel safer than otherwise. Simultaneously, it helps children become disciplined, be it following instructions at home, school, or elsewhere. Setting boundaries, however, can be tricky, and parents must proceed with care. Additionally, they need to have age-appropriate expectations when setting boundaries for children.
Here are a few tips on setting boundaries for children:
- Stay decisive
- Avoid explaining the reason for the limit more than once
- Use humor
- Begin with a strong, supportive connection
- Offer genuine empathy
- Avoid being punitive
Providing choices can make children feel that their opinions are valid; however, studies show that providing too many choices can be counteractive, as it may reduce their level of satisfaction. An example includes a study wherein children who were offered only three ice cream flavors: chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, were more satisfied than those taken to an ice cream parlor, where they had many more choices. Studies show that limiting the choices provided to children can also help increase their attention span.
In the words of John Medina, the author of Brain Rules for Baby, “empathy is one of the biggest signs of social competency”. There’s no need to stress on the fact that social competence is highly important to develop relationships that are important to keep us happy. As far as cultivating empathy in children is concerned, the easiest way forward is to be empathetic with them.
Praising children helps motivate and makes them believe that we as parents value them. It is, however, important to not only praise your child’s innate ability, but also their efforts. Studies show that parents who praise children for their efforts are more likely to cultivate the habit of working harder to keep up their reputation. On the other hand, praising your child only for their talent may make them struggle when they meet challenges in life.
We understand that it can be hard for parents to sometimes avoid yelling at their children. However, it is important to understand that yelling can have a negative impact on the psychology of a child. Parents may think that yelling is effective when it comes to calming children, but it can make their behavior worse in the longer run.
Although the findings of scientific studies don’t present any fixed rule to parenting, they provide a rough guide that may be helpful to every parent. At the end of the day, parents need to spare enough time for their children to understand them, and based on their nature, modulate their approach to parenting. Needless to elaborate, every child is fragile, and like they say, “it’s easier to raise strong children than heal broken men.” Hope this read helps. If you have any questions related to child development or wish to learn more, feel free to contact us.