What’s the Best Way? Authoritative Parenting or Permissive Parenting?
Let’s look into each form of parenting and determine what works best for lasting respect and cooperation from your kids.
This seems to be the most common way to parent – using punishment or rewards to get kids to behave. Many of us grew up with authoritative parenting, which is based on dominance and fear. It’s a model where you have power over your children. You determine what is best and right for them, and you try to persuade and control them by enforcing compliance with punishments or rewards.
If this works for you, then what’s the problem?
Having too much control over your kids can damage the relationship you have with them, and actually lessen their cooperation and respect. Authoritative parenting can make kids feel hurt and resentful, and it can undermine their sense of safety and their trust in you.
When you encourage your kids to cooperate for the reward or to avoid the punishment, rather than doing things because they see the value in doing it, this can diminish their internal guidance and their natural desire to cooperate and contribute. You may unintentionally train them to ignore their intuition and suppress their feelings and needs.
Punishments and rewards might seem to work well, since you do get compliant kids. But if a child behaves out of fear of the punishment or the desire for reward, they might not be developing the self-discipline and good judgement they need as a teen or later in life. Too much authority and control might not give them a chance to develop the ability to think for themselves. This will make them more vulnerable to peers and other influences.
I was raised by authoritarian parents, and I became a rebellious teen with self-destructive behavior. It took me many years to figure out what I was feeling, what I needed to be happy, and to speak up for myself. I was always trying to figure out how everyone needed me to be in order to make them happy and to avoid conflict.
The big irony is that authoritative parenting LESSENS our influence; it doesn’t make it stronger.
Would you rather have your kids decide to do something good simply because they truly want to help? Would you prefer that they listen to you out of true respect rather than to avoid having a privilege taken away?
Some of us were raised with permissive parenting. This is another model that is based on fear. While authoritarian parenting is based on the child’s fear of losing the parent’s love, permissive parenting is based on the parent’s fear of losing the child’s love. With permissive parenting, your child doesn’t know where the limits or boundaries are, which can also undermine safety and trust.
Kids need to know their limits and boundaries, so they can feel safe in the world. They need to express and work through their feelings in being told “no” so they can tolerate disappointments and frustrations later in life and they can form healthy relationships.
Without developmentally reasonable limits, kids have fewer opportunities to practice self-discipline and emotional regulation, which are important skills for creating a happy life. It takes self-discipline to manage all aspects of life, including being considerate of others.
If your kids aren’t able to trust that you will enforce the rules, they may begin to disrespect you and become more challenging, looking for limits and proof that they are loved.
If neither of these parenting models work, then what does?
Conscious parenting is based on connection and is proactive rather than reactive. It’s the only model that truly works for lasting respect and cooperation. It shifts the focus to guiding and empowering your child to make good choices that are in alignment with your family values as well as their own personal values.
Let’s go further into the meaning of conscious parenting. Conscious means being mindful, attentive and aware. When you place a high level of attention on your child, you can more fully understand their feelings, desires and needs. This awareness is everything when it comes to parenting, since you then have the keys to what motivates and what discourages your child. You can better understand and prevent unnecessary reactions and outbursts and create a more peaceful way of being together.
Conscious parenting creates respect between you and your kids. Everyone feels honored and empowered, and you work together to find solutions and mutually agreed upon actions and limits. This inspires true cooperation.
Your child’s level of cooperation and desire to accept the family rules is directly related to the level of positive connection they feel with you. Without this strong bond and connection, your child may try to fight your authority and satisfy their needs by acting out in negative ways. Anything that undermines your connection is counterproductive.
Punishments and rewards are reactive, and you probably find that you are having to react over and over again. Maintaining a conscious connection with your child can reduce or even eliminate those behaviors that cause both you and your child to react. You can prevent the power struggles and the never-ending cycles of acting out.
When you show your kids how to communicate respectfully and positively, they will also learn how to create mutually respectful relationships and powerful connections later in life.
Would you love to establish positive relationships with your kids that will last a lifetime? And would you love for them to be in healthy relationships as they grow older?
Let’s look deeper into conscious parenting and how you can build a strong bond that gives you the greatest influence and a satisfying, mutually respectful relationship with your kids that lasts a lifetime.
Read all of the posts in this series . . .
Learn more about Authoritative and Permissive Parenting
Learn more about Your Child’s Motivations and Reasons Behind Their Behavior
Learn more about Why Do Your Kids Trigger You?