There are many ways that we could characterize parents’ attitude toward their children. Thanks to the work of psychologist Diana Baumrind, we have a useful approach to describing these attitudes (Steinberg, 2016). Her work shows that there are four types of parenting. The first type is authoritarian parenting which is characterized by placing a high value on obedience and conformity. The second type is authoritative parenting which is characterized by being warm but firm and valuing a child’s independence. The third type of is indulgent parenting which is characterized by behaving in a benign, accepting, and a slightly more passive way. The last type is indifferent parenting which is characterized by a parent minimizing their time and energy that they would use with their child (Lund, 2018). In this paper, I will be discussing my parents’ parenting style and linking it to one of the four types of parenting.
Throughout my childhood, my parents seemed like dictators. They said that I could not answer the phone unless it was their number, could not use the computer when they were not home, could not play videogames all day, and could not stay up and watch tv on a school night; but looking back at my childhood, I would not say that they were authoritarian. When my sister was born, my mom and dad decided that my mom should quit her job at my school and homeschool us. She did this because they did not want us to go to a daycare. Because of this, I would not say that my parents were indifferent. My parents would let us know if we did something wrong by popping us on the mouth, spanking us with a variety of things (e.g. wooden spoon, belt, hand, etc.), yelling at us, or by pinching the snot out of us. Because of how they punished us, I would not say that they were indulgent.
My parents’ parenting style would best fit into the style of authoritative parenting.
My parents are very child-centered, this is displayed by how my mom gave up her job to homeschool us. I would say this also because my father helps me pay for my college, even after losing half of his paycheck because of his work cutting hours. My parents are not entirely democratic and flexible but are in some situations. An example of this is my curfew. My parents expect me to be home by twelve, but if I were to be at say a movie that will not finish until 12 or 12:30, they would let me stay out to finish the movie as long as I came home right after and told them beforehand. My parents have established firm behavioral guidelines. I cannot count the number of times that my parents have told me to say, “No ma’am,” “Yes ma’am,” “Please,” and “Thank you” before going to a person’s house. My parents do engage the adolescent in decision making. Throughout my adolescents, I could choose what I picked to wear for clothing, as long as it was not inappropriate for the occasion (ex. short pants and a t-shirt to a Sunday morning service) and do whatever I wanted to do as long as I did not have anything to do for school, work, or church. They are both warm. Both of my parents will end every single phone call with “Love you.” Now, when I talk to other people on the phone and am about to hang up, I want to say, “Love you too” before hanging up. They are very accepting. My mother told me that there is nothing that I can do to make her love me any less. They are both very involved. Every day that I get home from college, they ask me about my day, how it went, what I did, and if I had any tests. They are very trusting. If I tell them that I am somewhere past my curfew, they will trust me that I am telling the truth. They do monitor. My sister is a prime example of their monitoring. Periodically, my mother will look through her iPod to check to see what she has been up to and to see if she has done anything that she is not supposed to do. They both support assertiveness. They will tell us, at least twice a month, how proud they are of me and my siblings. They both support responsiveness. Whenever I am anxious about something, my mom or dad will read me scripture to help me get through it and to not worry about it. They both strongly support self-regulation. They said that if we ever left their house, we had better have a job that pays enough for us to live off of because we are not coming back to live with them. Lastly, they encourage psychological autonomy. They say that we must be able to regulate ourselves because that is what adults do; and once we do that, we are adults.
To me as I was growing up, my parents seemed like the strictest parents in the world. Looking back now, I believe that they had the perfect balance of rules and love. They did not change much from the time of my first memory to today because they told us that they are our parents when we are growing up and our friends when we are grown. In his paper, I have told what my parents were and are still like. I truly miss my childhood after typing this paper because I can now see that I had it pretty good compared to other families.
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