Updated: Jan 23
The Biggest Influence on Children is in Close Proximity, and it's Something We Should Be Aware Of
We all know that a parent is the biggest influence on their kids. But the extent of the influence is constantly underestimated, and parents play a much bigger role than many think.
There are 4 different types of parenting styles that parents implement with their children. Many parents aren’t even aware of their style until it’s pointed out to them, and some are also in denial about it. The four styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful.
An authoritative parenting style includes a nurturing and supportive parent. This parent also sets firm rules with their children and explains why some things are wrong, which provides discipline and understanding for their child. This is also called “gentle parenting”. This is seen as the most stable parenting style, as it has the highest chance of raising a child with high self-esteem, good emotional management, and a responsible personality.
An authoritarian parenting style is a very strict and aggressive type of parenting. This style has a “the parent is always right, no questions asked” type of attitude. The parent sets high expectations and places priority on obedience instead of support. Children raised with this parenting style tend to either be aggressive or shy and often have low self-esteem.
A permissive parent is a supportive parent that is very nurturing to their child. However, they don’t set correct limits on their children and have trouble controlling their children’s bad behavior. These children grow to have no impulse control and they are also likely to have behavioral issues and also to resort to anger when they run into an issue.
Finally, a neglectful parent only does the absolute necessities for their child. They aren’t there for their children in a nurturing way, and they also don’t discipline their children. They often only provide housing, food, and water, and often sometimes even lack in those areas. The children raised from this parenting process are likely to have trouble making emotional connections, low self-esteem, and they also are likely to be needy in any relationships they make.
More than parenting styles affect children, however. Certain actions by parents can also affect the person a child grows into.
An example of this is favoritism. This can come in the form of supporting one child more than the other, having an older child support themselves while giving the younger children all their attention and care, and even treating your children differently based on gender. Favoring one child over another can cause the favored child to be selfish and potentially even a narcissist, and the unfavored child to have low self-esteem and trouble finding themselves.
More obvious examples are forms of abuse. Mental and physical abuse can lead children to grow up with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. They are likely to have low self-esteem, have trouble trusting people, and also have issues forming emotional bonds with others.
Parents that leave their child either with child services, another parent or guardian, or even completely alone create children with heavy abandonment issues, self-worth issues, and also depression and anxiety.
It’s a parent's job to make their child feel safe and loved. A parent has the potential to completely change a child's personality and outlook on life, and parents need to understand and be constantly aware of the effects that they can inflict on their kids.