Adolescence is a time for exploring identity, autonomy, and for learning to take up responsibility. However, it is also a time that contains the potential for life-altering mistakes. Teenagers need to be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn from them and develop into self-sufficient adults.
There are four theoretical parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. The Authoritarian model is the strict family structure described by Giorgio Nardone. This style has a fixed set of rules that are inflexible. Regardless of circumstances, a particular act will always result in punishment. The drawback to this style is that it discourages independent thinking and depends on obedience. Research suggests that children of authoritarian households “tend to be timid, have lower self-esteem, lack spontaneity, and rely to an unusual degree on the voice of authority.”
Authoritative parents, much like authoritarian parents, have high expectations for their children but value communication over absolute authority. They are noted for being more open to their children’s individual needs and ideas. This style encourages assertiveness and responsibility while maintaining regulation of their children’s behavior. Rather than not allowing their teenager to attend a party, authoritative parents would permit the party with clear expectations of behavior in place. Dr. Maryann Rosenthal, author of “Be a Parent, Not a Pushover”, says that kids raised in an authoritative household “tend to develop into more competent adults than children brought up in the other styles.”
Permissive parenting falls under Nardone’s description of the parent who tries to be his or her child’s “friend.” These parents are described as warm and accepting, however, tend to give in readily to their child’s demands. Another example of permissive parenting is tying good grades to material goods. Permissive parenting may also teeter on the edge of falling into the final parenting style, the uninvolved parent, treating their child with indifference and making little or no demands and offering no guidance. The children of permissive and uninvolved parents are at the highest risk for substance abuse, early sexual activity, and report bad relationships with their parents.
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