Children across the globe are raised very differently based on factors like their culture, technology, and parenting styles. Some parents are criticized for being too controlling while others are criticized for being too laid back. Parents have the ability to either have a positive or negative impact on their children’s emotions, health, and overall success in life.
I think the best way to parent is to follow the “authoritative” parenting style. They set high, but reachable, goals for their children and also enforce realistic standards that their children need to follow. Their children will grow up having goals for themselves, whether that be for academics, athletics, art, music, or any other interests the child has. They will learn to start setting goals for themselves based off of their own interests and will then be happy living their life because they are doing activities that gives them joy. By having realistic standards for your child, they learn to follow rules and contribute to things around the house like chores, taking care of siblings or pets, or cleaning their bedroom. From there they will learn to being to contribute to things outside of the house at school, sports or band practice, and even when they start working later in life.
A parent should also encourage open communication with their child. Talking to your child and asking them about their day, how school is, or just checking in with them teaches them to communicate with their parents and that they can trust each other. Mutual trust between a parent and child is extremely important because it creates respect for both sides of the relationship and it makes the child feel wanted and noticed by their parents. Children will then be more comfortable opening up to their parents and asking them for advice and guidance later on in life.
Independence is also important for a child to grow up to be happy and healthy. When a child is growing up, parents should not guard their every move, they should let children start to do things on their own. This teaches the child to take initiative in their own life and how to take care of themselves. The parent should not completely back out of the child’s life, but gradually let the child to do things by themselves and praise them for doing it.
I grew up with authoritative parents. They set rules that my brothers and I had to follow. We had to take care of pets, keep our rooms clean, and as we started growing up more we had more responsibilities around the house. This contributed to us being successful outside of the house too, by following the rules during school and being respectful to adults and teachers. My parents also encouraged us to try new sports and instruments when we were growing up to find what we liked to do so that we would be happy with what we were doing in our daily lives. My parents gave us independence as we grew up, letting us do our own things around the house, the sports we wanted to do, and even in our social life. We would pick our own clothes, do our homework without help, make our own breakfast, and hang out with friends on the weekends.
Open communication has been very helpful with me being in college. Staying in contact with my parents has been very important to me. Growing up and seeing them everyday at home and being able to talk to them whenever is a dramatic change to now when I can only call or text them since they are 2 hours away, not in another room of my house. Calling or texting them a couple times a week to talk about how things are going is very helpful for me. Being able to openly talk to them about school, my friends, and lacrosse calms me down and relieves some of my stress.
Overall, parents should not be dictators of their child’s life. However, they should also not be permissive and make very few rules or not be involved in the child’s life at all. Finding the middle of those two extremes is the ideal parenting style for a child to grow up and be happy, healthy, and contribute to society.