Did you know that parenting styles largely influence a child’s academic and career successes? Read on to find out how.
By Amrita Gracias
The pattern of behaviour that parents display towards their children is known as parenting style. The predominant parental behaviours are often a reflection of the parents’ personalities and their own upbringing.
Parenting style, or the way parents behave, has a great influence on children. Many research studies have shown that there is undoubtedly a strong relationship between the parents’ behavioural approach and their child’s psychological development, behaviour, and even accomplishments in academics and profession.
American clinical psychologist, Diana Baumrind, identified three main types of parenting styles, namely authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. A fourth approach – the uninvolved parent – was later included after further research by other psychologists.
Let us take a look at how these styles affect a child’s academic and career pursuits.
Parents who practice this style of parenting are demanding, harsh and extremely stern. They are unresponsive to the child and don’t display much affection towards him. Lessons about good behaviour are often enforced through threats, forceful measures and strict rules, with absolutely no room for discussion. And, when the child is disobedient, he is shamed or punished. As a result, the parents and the child share a poor relationship with each other.
When it comes to academics, children of some authoritarian parents fare well, but it is largely because of the constant pressure from parents to perform. However, some may perform poorly in studies, as children of authoritarian parents usually have low level of confidence and self-esteem.
Children exposed to authoritarian parenting style do not develop the ability to handle responsibilities, solve their own problems, make their own choices, take risks, and make decisions because of constant parental interference. They also have poor interpersonal skills, which is an important requisite when working as a part of a team. Always being dictated to affects their confidence and self-esteem, which may hamper their academic performance as well as make them incapable of taking decisions about their career.
Sometimes, authoritarian parenting can also lead to the child imbibing the characteristics of the parents and develop a very controlling attitude.
While exerting their control, authoritative parents allow their children the space and freedom needed to develop into well-rounded individuals. Psychologists have described this approach as a more ideal style of parenting. Authoritative parents are firm but also responsive to their child’s needs. While enforcing the rules, they are open to questions and discussions. Authoritative parents strike the right balance between being firm and granting autonomy. They provide abundant support, encouragement and guidance, all of which contribute to success in academics. Authoritative parents encourage their child to pursue her passions and keep realistic expectations, which boosts her confidence and self-esteem. The child is not pressured to achieve perfection but encouraged to put in her best effort, which makes her confident of taking up challenges and risks.
Parents following the authoritative style, while guiding their child, allow her to choose a career based on her own interests. They accept their child’s choices and don’t impose their preferences. As a result, children of authoritative parents are likely to enjoy a success in both academics and their chosen profession.
Parents following the permissive, or indulgent, style are lax and do not enforce any structure. Although they express affection and warmth towards their child, they don’t attempt to discipline or control him in any way. While they might enforce a few rules, they are always willing to bend them to accommodate their child’s desires.
Because of the lax approach of permissive parents, their child may fail to develop proper social skills and indulge in disrespectful behaviour. Also, permissive parent neither have expectations from their child nor do they put pressure on him to perform and achieve. So, the child lacks the motivation to work hard, do well and succeed in academics. Even when their child fails, permissive parents refrain from reprimanding him. In fact, some of them are even willing to come up with excuses for their child’s failure.
The career path of children of permissive parents is one of trial and error as they drifts from one job to another owing to lack of direction. They tend to be non-performers and make excuses for their lapses. Some of them even expect to be indulged by others and display aggression when they can’t get their way in certain situations.
This parenting style refers to an approach in which parents neither show affection nor respond to their child’s needs. These parents have no demands or expectations from their child, and may even distance themselves emotionally from her. Neither do they not provide any structure or supervision, nor do they enforce any rules. Also, they do not show appreciation for their child achievements or talents.
Such parental attitude causes the child to feel emotionally deprived and unstable. She lacks the drive to apply her skills and perform well. She avoids challenges, is unambitious and unable to assert herself, and has no goals or aspirations to focus on.
As a result, her academic performance is usually below average, which also places limits on her career choices.
It is evident that some styles of parenting only have negative affects on the child’s well-being. If you find that your approach is one that does not allow your child to flourish and contribute to his success, change it at the earliest to best suit his interests.
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