Parenting is one of the toughest jobs to do, having to take care of a whole human for almost all of their lives, or at most 18 years of their lives, most of which is spent in instruction on morals and how to live successfully in the world and achieve their ambitions.
It is therefore not an exaggeration when people say, “The family is the bedrock of the nation,” because the way children are raised determines their future and that of the society to which they belong.
America, like other parts of the world, has experienced and experimented with myriad parenting styles before choosing the one they think best benefits them and their children.
This article seeks to unravel the American household’s secrets, especially regarding child upbringing.
For you to fully comprehend which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America, you have to first become familiar with the different parenting styles available.
There are four parenting styles. These are authoritarian parenting style, authoritative parenting style, permissive parenting style, and neglectful/uninvolved parenting style.
We will describe these styles a bit and then focus on the parenting style most encouraged in modern America.
Which Parenting Style is Most Encouraged in modern America?
1. THE AUTHORITARIAN PARENTING STYLE
This was the type of parenting exercised in the early years of the 1900s. This style of parenting employed the use of the iron fist.
The parents are controlling, expecting unquestionable obedience and conformity to rules from their children.
It makes use of harsh disciplines with heavy penalties for disobedience.
The authoritarian parent has a high value on discipline and respect for authority, often imposing strict rules and expectations on his or her children without regard to how important they are.
They either ignore or dismiss their children’s feelings and needs.
There is little warmth or responsiveness towards the children, and the relationship is usually transactional. This means the children have to do something spectacular to be acknowledged or praised by their parents.
The effect of this parenting style on children is that they will develop low self-esteem, battle anxiety, and depression, be unable to socialize with their peers, lack emotional affinity with their parents, and have no conviction of their own.
2. THE AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING STYLE
This parenting style is characterized by warmth and support, clear expectations, and boundaries. It aims at imparting the children with positive traits and tools that will help them succeed while being concerned about their needs and desires.
The parents guide and encourage their children to be independent and express their thoughts freely.
They employ a balance of affection and discipline, setting out clear expectations and outlining consequences without forcing the child into a mold.
The consequences are child-appropriate and visibly enforced.
This parenting style also encourages children to be competitive and socialize with their peers and peers for personal success in their interest areas. This is accomplished by the parents acknowledging the children’s effort but retaining the final say in situations.
The benefits of this style are that the children learn to function independently, develop their critical thinking, are ambitious, have healthy self-esteem, have great skills, and achieve academic achievements.
3. THE PERMISSIVE PARENTING STYLE
A permissive parenting style is characterized by low expectations and demands, excessive leniency, minimal rules, and high levels of warmth. The parents act more like friends—loving, nurturing, and boundaries—than as authority and they let the children make their own decisions.
This style seems more child-centered but is harmful. This style doesn’t create room for accountability and the children may struggle with making good choices, act impulsively, and have behavioral problems.
A permissive parenting style only creates an environment for children to act however they please and push boundaries because, even though there are rules, those rules would see little or no enforcement.
Because the children are accustomed to getting what they want, they have little or no ambitions, look forward to no achievements, practice selfishness, and might act wickedly.
4. THE NEGLECTFUL/UNINVOLVED PARENTING STYLE
Whilst they look similar, there are little differences between the neglectful and uninvolved parenting styles.
The neglectful parenting style is characterized by a lack of responsiveness and support from parents.
This is not because the parents are not physically present but mainly because they are emotionally distant from their children. Some even forget they have children.
The uninvolved parents are somewhere in the middle. They are not as unresponsive as the neglectful parents and are most times not physically present.
There is minimal communication, less demand, and less responsiveness to their children. This may occur due to the nature of their jobs, personal health, or lack of understanding of child development.
Children raised by either of these parenting styles often have the barest minimum for survival, with most of their physical or emotional needs unmet. They essentially raise themselves.
The effect of this parenting style is that the children have trust issues, feel abandoned, have low self-esteem, have problems with the law, and are dysfunctional.
They also end up being emotionally or physically estranged from their parents.
Which of the Parenting Style is Most Encouraged in the United States
Now we know the four parenting styles obtainable, it’s time to discuss which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America. If you followed the descriptions carefully, you must have guessed already but hold on. It’s not yet time for the big reveal.
History has it that the evolution of parenting styles became visible in the 20th century.
Previously, American society was dominated by the authoritarian parenting style, especially in the mid-1900s.
Children did not have many rights and were ruled by their parents’ wishes.
However, with the rise of the civil rights movement, women’s liberation movement, and other social reforms, talks began to rise about children being recognized as individuals.
The establishment of children’s rights led to the gradual decline of the authoritarian parenting style and the rise of another – you know it, the authoritative parenting style.
Did you guess the authoritative parenting style is the most encouraged in modern America? If you did, you are right!
Today’s American society differs greatly from that of the 1800s and early 1900s. Historical contexts, a comparison with other parts of the world, and current trends influenced the change that happened in parenting.
The trend of parenting styles changed from the authoritarian, aggressive style of the mid-1900s to the indulgent style of the baby boomers era, to the permissive and authoritative parenting style of Generation X and millennials, and finally to the authoritative style of Generation Z (GenZ).
Thus, the authoritarian parenting style of the old age gave way to the authoritative style.
With the authoritative style comes a greater emphasis on individuality, open communication, and mutual respect. If you compare these values closely with the parenting styles previously explained, you will notice they fit perfectly into the authoritative parenting style.
Another factor we can note that helps to emphasize the authoritative parenting style is the rise of digital technology.
This has brought easy access to information, allowing parents to get resources, and join forums and societies that explain the authoritative parenting style and how to execute it.
As the parents become more informed, they choose to go for these strategies that promise better outcomes for their children after witnessing firsthand or secondhand the effects of this style of parenting and they embrace it wholeheartedly.
In modern America, parents understand clearly the importance of providing an environment for their children to thrive and excel while encouraging their independence and confidence at the same time.
We believe that parenting styles will continue to adapt and evolve in the future, as parents work hard to provide the best possible environment to enhance the growth and development of their children.
Knowing which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America, lets us know better understand why it is the preferred choice.
The authoritative parenting style is the most encouraged in modern America because of the following reasons:
1. It provides a balanced approach to child upbringing
The authoritative parenting style helps the parents strike a balance between setting clear boundaries and being responsive and concerned about their children’s needs.
This quality makes their children feel loved, develop healthy self-esteem, and learn important life skills with ease.
2. It inspires a sense of responsibility in the children
Due to their parents’ involvement and understanding of the children, the children learn to take responsibility for their actions, failures, and successes. They learn to work through disappointments and failures and develop resilience.
3. It builds an independent spirit in the children
Authoritative parents empower their children to make their own decisions and gradually move to a life of independence. They help the children build up their self-trust levels and confidence.
4. It enhances communication
One of the features of authoritative parenting is allowing the children to be heard, letting them voice out their emotions, desires, and needs. It is common knowledge that encouraging a person to express his/her self helps them develop strong communication and emotional skills, and children are no exception.
5. It enhances the acquisition of adaptation skills
The world is changing and we all are familiar with the mantra “adapt or die”. The home is the first and best place for a child to learn the skill of adaptability and parents who practice the authoritative style are better equipped to teach their children that skill since they can change their parenting style to suit the unique needs and challenges their children face. The result is that the children learn resilience and acquire problem-solving skills.
6. All positive outcomes
All the research and responses from parents and children alike show that the authoritative parenting style is capable of bringing positive social, physical, emotional, and academic outcomes. The children tend to excel better than their peers raised with the authoritarian, permissive, or neglectful/uninvolved parenting style. They are more likely to forge healthy relationships.
It is important to note that some parents in modern America still practice the authoritarian style, permissive style, or neglectful/uninvolved style. However, when it comes to which parenting style is most encouraged, it is the authoritative style as it strikes a good balance between discipline, raising confident children, building competence, cementing emotional stability, acquisition of social skills, and validation of the child.
In conclusion, we both understand parenting is not easy as each child is a different uncharted water. Therefore, in navigating these unchartered waters be sure to adapt to your child’s unique needs as an individual.
However, in administering the authoritative parenting style, be careful not to over-indulge the children because there is a thin line of demarcation between the authoritative style and the permissive style of parenting.