Different Parenting Styles
When it comes to raising kids, there’s no one “best” style. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we’ve been helping parents raise their kids for decades, and if there’s one thing we’ve observed, it’s that healthy, happy kids come about in many different ways. Most of all, they just need love.
Three kinds of parenting styles
In general, parenting styles can be divided into three categories: authoritarian (strict obedience to parents); permissive (few behavioral guidelines because parents don’t want to upset their children); and authoritative (a blend of caring with structure and limit-setting).
When each parent has a different style, this can be a good thing — as long as the styles aren’t too far apart (authoritarian vs. permissive). This allows kids to experience a broader range of adult values and also gives them the opportunity to have a special relationship with each parent. As long as the parents come together as a united front on the big issues, it’s healthy to approach parenting differently.
What to do when your styles clash
It’s ok to have different parenting styles provided both parents regularly discuss their contrasting positions and concerns. It’s when parents aren’t able to compromise and fall into, “My way is right, your way is wrong” that problems arise. If parents aren’t willing to work on a happy medium, there will be tension and conflict, which will affect their kids.
From our perspective as pediatricians, here are two pieces of advice for parenting with different styles.
1) Agree to disagree on small issues. You can’t control every situation, so it’s important to accept the fact that things will go differently when your partner is in charge. One parent may want your toddler’s outfit to match perfectly and the other may allow dots with stripes. The important thing is to agree on big issues like your toddler’s safety, physical development and emotional health.
2) Pick your battles. Decide which issues each of you aren’t willing to compromise on, like discipline and bedtime, and agree to be flexible about the other ones.
For our advice, tips and guidance on raising infants and toddlers, CLICK HERE.
Please contact us to discuss any of these topics. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.