Temper Tantrums are the best indicator of your parenting style, and where you need to land to be effective. Here is everything you need to know to about the 3 parenting styles so you can best discipline and improve your child’s behavior.
Discipline, whether your child is acting up or not, is tough. It means knowing which rules to set, how to enforce them, and what to do when a rule is inevitably broken. When most parents think of discipline, “cruel” and “harsh” often come to mind. It’s pretty obvious why— the screaming, yelling and fighting make it easy to fear.
What most parents don’t know about discipline, though, is that it’s not supposed to be harsh or difficult. We all know the frustration of feeling like you’re constantly shooting from the hip, parenting out of reaction and still not being heard by your kids. But here’s the thing: Discipline is actually an act of LOVE, and effective discipline teaches your child self-control that’s vital for success later in life.
How do I know? I’m a pediatrician, parenting expert, author and mother of four adult children. I’ve worked with thousands of parents to help them become more intentional in their parenting, and the first step of that journey is always the same— figuring out your parenting style. That means knowing why you parent the way you do NOW, so you can parent more effectively in the future.
The Parenting Spectrum
Most discipline strategies are either too harsh or too lax; parents often feel like a complete doormat, or like they never stop yelling. It can be really difficult to find the right balance when disciplining your children, and there’s a good reason for it.
The truth is, no parent is perfect, and we all tend to fall on either end of what’s called the parenting spectrum. The parenting spectrum was created by a developmental psychologist at UC Berkeley named Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, and it still holds true today. Your habits, parenting perspective, relationship with authority and the way you yourself were raised determines where you naturally fall on the spectrum (which is characterized by three common parenting styles).
The Authoritarian Parent
On one end of the spectrum, there’s the authoritarian parent. This is the parent who is strict, intolerant of disobedience, and uses fear and intimidation to discourage bad behavior. You might call them the drill sergeant, because it’s their way or the highway.
If you find yourself firm in your parental authority, consistent with punishments for bad behaviors but sometimes know you are too tough or reprimand excessively, are obeyed by your children immediately but find that they don’t often want to spend “fun” time with you, you’re authoritarian.